I’m a sucker for a decent RPG, especially the ones with deep and meaningful stories. The Witcher series of games have always been a favourite, with the fantasy setting holding my attention much more than the sci-fi settings of games such as Mass Effect (that’s not to say that Mass Effect is a bad game, just that I prefer my RPG’s fantasy instead of sci-fi). When my E3 appointments were being planned, and I saw that I would be going to see City Interactive’s new RPG I wasn’t really excited. There was no information that could get me enticed, I didn’t know if it was a sci-fi RPG, modern-day RPG or one of my beloved fantasy RPGs, however, when the company then came out and officially announced Lords of the Fallen a couple of weeks prior to E3, my excitement levels jumped up to fever-pitch status. A next-gen fantasy RPG with deep combat mechanics and an interesting story? Count me in!
The story starts 8,000 years after the people of Lords of the Fallen’s world have overthrown and buried their god. The concept artwork that people will have seen accompanying the announcement of the game – the mountain range that looks eerily similar to a hand sticking up out of the ground – is actually the hand of the fallen God. Over time people forgot about the ways before the God was taken down, and eventually forgot about the God himself. That is until strange creatures started to return to the game’s world, follows by the titular Lords; the lieutenants of the fallen god. Is this an omen for the God himself to return, or just an inconvenience. This is the question that Lords of the Fallen hopes to answer with its story, but judging by what was on display at E3, the game feels pretty epic (and I’m using that word in its correct sense), so expect the God to come back in a big, bad way.
The gameplay in Lords of the Fallen appears to rely heavily on combat. So much so that while the player will fight through the game as a specific class, this class will depends on what type of weapon you’re carrying at any one time. Carry a pair of daggers and you’ll be the Rogue; a warhammer and you’re a Cleric; and the traditional sword and shield means you’ll find yourself wielding the Warrior’s powers. Each class comes with its own unique ability, which can be called upon when a certain length of time has passed. The demo that we saw at E3 made use of two of these classes, so we were able to see two out of the three specials. The Cleric uses an ability called “Dogma”, which enables them to create a clone of themselves in the room and use it to distract the enemies, allowing them to get behind them and do more damage. The Rogue uses abilities that people who have played any fantasy RPG would expect them to use – their special ability being labelled ‘Shadow’, and allowing them to disappear into the black, emerging suddenly with an increase in damage and critical hit chance.
Lords of the Fallen has a heavy emphasis on secret areas and items, and throughout the demo we saw objects in the distance which were ready and sparkled as if asking to be picked up. These are the “Shard of the Heroes” collectible items and, when picked up, can be used at specific statues in the game – relating to which class you are at that moment – in order to receive class specific weapons and armour. These collectible items aren’t all going to be collectible on your first playthrough though, and you’re going to have to do a fair bit of backtracking once you’ve increased your abilities through the game, in order to reach shards which may have been out of reach when you first got to an area. The entire game will be pushing the player forward in a linear manner, but there will always be a method of getting back to places you’ve been before in order to collect the shards. It wasn’t made clear as to whether there would be some kind of fast-travel system in place, or whether you’d be expected to walk all the way back to collect the secrets you may have missed. Hopefully it’s the former though, the world looks huge enough as it is, so having to walk backwards through it all could have the negative effect of making a beautifully crafted world rather tedious.
The enemies and bosses in Lords of the Fallen appear to have a set pattern of attacks which they’ll move through until they hit another phase, at which point the pattern will change – so it’s fairly traditional in that sense. Once the player learns these patterns they should be able to hit the enemy without much of a problem, but that’s when there’s only one, however, and there’s very often more than one. The bosses of the game (or at least the ones at CI Games were willing to talk about) comprise of the Lords of the Fallen, the lieutenants of the fallen God. These can be seen coming from their realms into our own through a particle effect-heavy entrance which the player will see long before the Lord actually spawns in their world. This is the origin of the tag-line for Lords of the Fallen “I see you through the fire” and is something that appears to be a running theme throughout both the story of the game and promotion of it.
Lords of the Fallen looks amazing, with the newly created (and proprietary) Fledge Engine pumping out particle effects and true next-gen visuals at every turn. The combat-heavy gameplay mechanics will appeal to players of more modern fantasy-RPGs while the storyline that runs through it appears to be something that more classical players will be able to grab onto. As this next console generation gets into full swing, there will be a lot of big players making a grab for your attention with lots of explosions and fire, but Lords of the Fallen is coming, and it looks very impressive indeed.
I see you through the fire.