LORDS OF THE FALLEN
Cutting to the chase – with axes, swords and knives
The most surprising thing about Deck13 and CI Games’ Lords Of The Fallen is how something so technically accomplished – even in its pre-alpha state – could sneak up on us so completely. When the game debuted at E3 in June, focus was pulled from its highfantasy sword swinging and demon hunting by eighth-gen launch titles and its perceived competitor, Dark Souls II. Such was the bustle that people had little time for a pseudomedieval thirdperson action adventure that occupies a space somewhere between the Souls series, Peter Jackson’s Lord Of The Rings and Warhammer. And that’s a shame, because our first look at Lords Of The Fallen reveals a game filled with smart combat, striking style and, most of all, promise.
Lords’ story focuses on an antihero named Harkyn, a tattooed quasi-Viking who has been cast out from society for crimes unspecified. The runes that cover his face each represent a ‘capital sin’ he’s committed, singling him out as what CI Games executive producer Tomasz Gop calls “a very bad guy”.
Without friends, family or purpose, Harkyn lives as a pariah until an ancient god (the titular Fallen) overthrown by humans thousands of years ago dispatches his Lords back to the human realm to reconquer it. Naturally, Harkyn is the only one with the skills to prevent this, and so begins a so-far fairly standard fantasy quest for redemption by way of lots of brutal swordfighting.
Gop has no pretence when it comes to Lords’ narrative ambitions: this is not a game with an encyclopedic backstory like Skyrim. “I don’t want to cheat anybody,” he tells us. “This isn’t a game that revolves around story; it’s a gameplay-focused experience.” For all its grand fantasy, Lords Of The Fallen is primarily
Magic is available, but it’s not compulsory. Gop describes it like an in-game difficulty slider, with casting spells buying breathing room in challenging encounters.
The Rhogar are typical high-fantasy villains, all tarnished armour plate and twisted flesh. The Lords are more twisted still: towering beasts that will serve as boss encounters.
While most battles are one-on-one, occasionally the game will pair two demons together. In this case, Harkyn needs to pick off the nimbler aggressor while avoiding the heavy brute giving chase