Facing the Challenge in Lords of the Fallen on PS4

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Facing the Challenge in Lords of the Fallen on PS4

“Do you like challenging games?”

So begins my first step into the demonic realm of the Fallen God – chief antagonist in Thomasz Gop and CI Games’ forthcoming fantasy RPG, Lords of the Fallen on PS4.

In answer to that – still bearing the scars of endless Dark Souls re-starts – yes, I do like a challenge. Thomasz’s jovial reply isn’t exactly encouraging. “That’s good! But you’re still gonna die… a lot.”

Lords of the Fallen

He’s certainly not wrong. As executive producer in the small creative team at Poland’s CI Games, Thomasz’s friendly demeanor hides the dark heart of the man responsible for the most brutal, punishing, yet immensely satisfying fantasy RPG to make its way to PlayStation 4 so far.

I sat down with Thomasz at Gamescom 2014 to get hands-on with Lords of the Fallen’s “second dimension,” an alternate realm that the game’s protagonist – and prolific sinner – Harkin will journey back and forth from throughout his blood-soaked quest.

“It’s an important point in the game,” Thomasz says as I face the first of the sword-wielding brutes blocking my path. “Learning more about both realms guides the player towards making a massive decision that affects how the story plays out – so getting the perspective from both worlds helps guide the game and the character in a certain way.”

Thomasz explains that players will be free to shift between worlds as they see fit; where I am now however, is Harkin’s second visit. “The first time you enter a world, you’ll need to do a lot of exploration, learning your surroundings and what kind of enemies you’ll face. But I’ve thrown you in a bit later on, so you can experience a boss fight.”

Lords of the FallenLords of the Fallen

Players are guided on a predefined journey, but there are a wealth of hidden areas and secret paths to discover. “Defeated enemies might drop a key or you might open up a secret area,” Thomasz explains, “and that could give you an opportunity to level up or discover something that will help you when you reach the boss. It’s entirely up to the player.”

Having blocked, parried and hacked through some of the lesser – but still fearsomely testing – enemies that got in the way, reaching the arena of this level’s boss, the Guardian Lord, underlines just how tricky Lords of the Fallen can be as the huge dual-sword wielding knight defeats me in seconds.

“There’s a steep learning curve for new players,” Thomasz explains, “but we don’t want anyone to feel that they’re being punished constantly. If you learn how the enemies attack and adapt to that, you should be OK eventually. And we’ve added save points before each boss fight, so if you die really quickly you’re not sent all the way back to the start of the level.”

It’s not long before patterns start emerging; as well as the usual block, dodge, parry, attack strategies, finding ways to use the environment proves to be a good tactic. After several re-starts, Thomasz offers a hint: “Try messing with the lanterns around the side. He won’t like that and he’ll try to re-light them if you put them out.”

Lords of the FallenLords of the Fallen

Clever use of the player’s surroundings is an important element in setting Lords of the Fallen apart from other dark RPGs. “It’s something we’ve tried to implement wherever we can,” says Thomasz. “We want something more than a straightforward fight, we want people to put some thought into each battle and not just grind away with their primary weapon.”

A few carefully chosen spells helps, too: “You’re not going to be able to mindlessly cast spells every few seconds; they deal heavy damage, but have a long recharge time, so you need to think about when you use them,” says Thomasz.

Eventual victory comes with the satisfaction of having genuinely earned it, but not at the cost of being mercilessly punished to the point of frustration. The overall feeling is of a world that it would be easy to lose yourself in for countless hours.

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  • I’m really looking forward to this game. When is it coming out?

  • I’m looking for something in like the Souls games, but with a coop that actually let’s me play with friends. Will I be able to do that?
    Anyway, it looks good

  • comparing this to dark souls just makes me even less interested. I’m not interested in some ‘Hardcore gamer’ measurement contest and only want to play fun games. So something with a generic setting and characters can’t be saved with a pointlessly hard difficulty.

  • Demon Souls and Dark Souls are brilliant! The difficulty and the amount of times I die are not what makes them the best games of last gen for me though. Selling a game as just hard won’t work. It needs to be well balanced and like the Souls games have excellent level design. Part of what makes Souls great is the detective work it takes to get the story as well. You have to dig.

    If I hear more about how the combat and skills are balanced and how the levels are layed out…I’m more likely to buy. Just because a game is difficult does not make it good.

    The article is well written and gets me intrigued. But a lot of the taglines focus on “Just how hard is Lords of the Fallen”. Still looking forward to it and more info on level design. The game looks stunning!

  • @2, Bunn, you can co op with friends in DS2; I’ve done it many times. The only restricting factor is that you all have to be either in new game or new game plus (and above). A level 200 can’t co op with a level 1 beginner, for example, but otherwise it is quite possible.

  • I saw a developer interview about this game a while back and have been interested ever since. Yet another action RPG to add to my collection!

  • Well this will be my second game that I will buy for PS4 that is a RPG my first game that I bought was diablo which is a terrific game that I am enjoying playing with friends. Even though this is a single player affair I am still very much interested in this game.

  • Lord of the Rings game = automatic buy for me. Despite not releasing a decent title since the PS2 era (IMO), I am still hopeful. The lore is just too good.

  • @Trendy_Kid I hope you know this isn’t a lord of the rings game…


  • Holy crap I was waiting for a game like this. A dangerous fantasy world and an extremely hard campaign, similar to the souls game but with a damn checkpoint system added in so that I don’t have to redo an entire stage from the beginning when I get killed. That last one is what is turning me off the souls series. You definitely have my money.

  • It looks interesting. Release a demo on launch please!

  • WHY do people think this is a good way to advertise a game? “Our new game is BRUTAL and is going to MERCILESSLY PUNISH you for not being perfect. You are going to be frustrated and raging out of your mind, rather than have fun and be rewarded in positive ways! Yeah!”. Um.. no. It’s such a niche thing and does not appeal to the majority of gamers. Yes, I know there are people who loved the D. Souls games and they think everyone who doesn’t like them is a wuss who needs to play Nintendo, but those people are the ones in the minority. So often these days a game is announced – like Lords of the Fallen – and so many people are inredibly excited for it, then the devs go on to tell us “It’s SO hard that you are going to die CONSTANTLY” and it completely deflates us. Challenge is good. Ruthlessness, frustration and punishment is not. This is so disappointing to me because I have really been looking forward to hearing more about this game and have had it on my wishlist for months.

  • @13 I’m a huge Dark Souls fan but I do share your opinion. I think adding the option to adjust the difficulty level would be great. That way the game is more accessible to all gamers and the devs make more money because of this

  • There are only a few things I would change from the souls series that I hope I won’t see here
    -Death penalties are an aggravation, they don’t add to the challenge just make it frustrating instead of fun. I think if it was just for that I would still be playing dark souls 2.
    -item durability, same reasons
    -Quests that require you to keep an NPC alive on the first try on a boss fight in a game that advertises you should not win on the first try.
    -Forced online invasions…yet no real coop or party
    -No offline option (except removing the cord from the playstation)
    -Platforming….never has platforming been done well in a non-platformer. My most frustrating deaths were to a jump that didn’t trigger properly on a small ledge. If you can’t do it properly…don’t do it.

    Hopefully this game and bloodborne will have the same gameplay mechanics (weapons, combat etc.) and environments but not those other non-gameplay so called gameplay features that add nothing to the actual gameplay. Really looking to dying in this game if no death penalty.

  • @13. Not every game is made for everyone. If this game isn’t for you, walk on buy and enjoy the rest of your day. Some people love very challenging games, and there is a market for them more now than ever.

  • @ Ryumoaner

    If it’s not challenging, then, what’s the point? Why play?

    “Hard” doesn’t mean impossible. It just means you actually have to invest time and effort in refining your skills and testing various strategies until you find your path. It demands acknowledgement of its worthiness. Like any other good game worth playing.

    Any endeavor that proves to be a cakewalk from the start to the finish line is something not worth even a glance.

    You can use video games as a tool to better yourself, or you can hide behind them to distract yourself from a miserable reality. Choose wisely.

  • Challenging ARPGs are my swag, dont play any other game lower than hard

  • The Dark Souls games are among the best I have ever played. I welcome any new games that aspire to just as great.

    Keep the BRUTALITY coming!!

  • #13 I totally agree. I like the setting and the look of this game, but I was hoping it world be an open world third person RPG.
    The way they are boasting about how all encounters need to be studied and that I will have to die repeatedly to finally learn how to progress is just not appealing.
    I envision repeated checkpoint reloads at the top of a spiral staircase with enemies blocking the way and instant deaths from bosses that a have to run around for 45 minutes and go through a cycle of numerous attack patterns to finally kill.

    I already wasted my money on Bound By Flame and I’m not going to fall into that again.

  • Yay for LOTF coverage!

    Remember there’s an info thread for Lords of the Fallen on the PS Boards here: http://community.us.playstation.com/t5/PlayStation-General/Info-Lords-of-the-Fallen/m-p/43769266

    We’ve had the pleasure of meeting the devs and they have answered many community questions over at the Lords of the Fallen forums. For anyone who is curious I highly recommend reading the replies there too!

  • Lotf look amazing. I’m looking at them impatiently. New boss, it does not look pleasant .;) I forgot they do not have to be nice .;) Already getting ready for a great entertainment. :)

  • I’m currently playing Demon’s Souls and I like it a lot. I wasn’t into Action-RPG before but I really like challenging games. Can’t wait to play it on the PS4 !!

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