CI Games Hexworks Lords of the Fallen Lords of the Fallen review Review

Lords Of The Fallen Review (PS5) – A Grand Gothic Adventure Held Back By Technical Issues

Lords Of The Fallen PS5 ReviewLords of the Fallen was a sleeper hit when released in 2014 as one of the few titles that tried to go head-to-head with the Souls franchise. Almost ten years later, a new Lords of the Fallen arrives. Though it bears the same name, it’s a vastly different take, and one that should be celebrated if not for its vast amounts of technical issues.

Lords Of The Fallen PS5 Review

A Dark Gothic World Awaits

Demon Gods have risen, and you are killed in the battle in the human world. Your character has a unique lantern that revives them every time they die. This lantern also allows you to look into the Umbra world—a parallel demon world to your own.

As you return to life, you learn of six Spiers that must be cleansed to return the world to normal. Your quest as one who is immortal is to cleanse these Spiers and free the world from demons. Unlike other titles, Lords of the Fallen manages to tell a story without relying on item descriptions and world-building to tell its tale.

That’s not to say it doesn’t provide this type of storytelling. Items and characters expand on the world-building and depict a dark tale full of misery and depravity.

After selecting your class from various options, you can build your hero with many character-creation tools. I was surprised to see so many options available for this type of game because, most of the time, you will never even see your character’s face with all the armor you’ll be wearing.

Jumping Between Two Realms Leads To Some Amazing Exploration

The world itself is striking, and there are plenty of locations for you to visit. From desolated swamps, sieged castles, and forests, each location provides a unique aesthetic, but all possess a dark and gothic vibe. These locations feature your standard hidden paths and items to find, but what makes Lords of the Fallen’s exploration one of the best in the genre is the Umbra world.

In the human world, you can use the lamp to see the Umbra realm in real-time. It’s striking when you see it for the first time—seeing an overlayered map on top of another. The Umbra realm is more terrifying, with walls paved with human corpses and giant monsters that used to roam the Umbra realm.

The Umbra realm allows you to access areas that seem impossible as well. Using the lamp, you can see bridges you can walk across with your lamp. If you find a closed gate with an item on the other side, use your lamp, and that gate may disappear with your lantern.

A Terrifying Parallel World

Though the lamp gives you a glimpse into the realm, you can enter it whenever possible. You can enter the Umbra realm with a button, where things get interesting. Outside of hidden paths and items to find enemies, they become relentless. However, you will still encounter enemies in the human realm; it is the Umbra realm enemies that you need to watch out for.

Enemies in the Umbra realm start simple, just spirits resembling humans that run up to you and try to strike you with their fists. The catch of the Umbra world is that the longer you stay in it, the more difficult it becomes to survive.

As you spend time in it, more and more spirits notice you and those two or their enemies you encountered will turn ten to twelve. Enemies that shoot what looks like ectoplasm at you begin to appear, and flying troll-looking monsters begin to summon more and more spirits.

Running Isn’t Always An Option

It gets to the point where a death-like enemy will appear in a red cloak and begin to hunt you down wherever you go. I tried to kill this enemy but to no avail, as my attacks didn’t seem to do much damage, but they defeated me in just a few strikes.

It’s almost like its own take on the police system from Grand Theft Auto, but instead of destroying to get the police after you, you refuse to leave a location, angering the residents more and more.

You also can’t leave whenever you want, like you can enter it. You must find statues linking you to the human realm to leave the Umbra world. You can leave the Umbra realm when using these statues, but the statue will be destroyed. These statutes can be resent when you rest at the checkpoint statues, which act as this game’s bonfires.

Combat is where the game hits and misses. It plays how you would expect a game of this type to play. Attacks feel heavy and powerful, and the difficulty of combat is through the roof. Timing and precision are crucial to survival, and though Lords of the Fallon pulls it off better than its predecessor, it still has a ways to go to feel like all your effort is worth it.

Broken Lock-On Mechanic Leads To A Lot Of Death

I enjoyed the combat in Lords of the Fallen. Dodging your enemy attacks at the precise moment and parrying them, leaving them open to counterattacks, is as visceral as it can get in these games.

However, things started to break down in regards to the hitboxes and the game’s lock-on system. I died countless times because the game wouldn’t lock on to the enemy. If the camera faces my opponent, it won’t lock on until my character faces that opponent.

Consequently, instead of locking on to the enemy on my right side, it locks on to the enemy twenty feet away. What’s worse, if you try and lock on and it doesn’t, it just resets the camera behind you, making you lose track of your opponent and take unnecessary damage.

Hitboxes are another issue where I was struck by enemies that missed me by at least two feet. But my attacks would, at times, go right through them missing. It happened a lot and left me dead more than it should have.

Options are the name of the game, with Lords of the Fallon boasting over one hundred weapons to play with. Of course, you won’t be able to wield all of them with your class unless you build them that way. There is something for everyone: swords, bows, axes, giant crosses, pears, and many others.

Great Monster Designs Stand Out From The Blad Art Pallet

Visually, Lords of the Fallon isn’t the great looker we believed it to be. Its dark, arty style brings its world to life, but it doesn’t look that great. It utilizes a lot of browns, dark greens, and dark everything. There are times when it looks as good as the original Dark Souls.

Character and enemy designs, on the other hand, are phenomenal. The creatures are gruesome and unique, and other allies you encounter have a unique design. In some cases, they reminded me of characters from the Berserk manga.

The soundtrack and voice acting are equally impressive, with epic boss battle music, narration, and conversations with other NPCs. And, while you won’t hear much ambient music, the eerie sound design brings the world to life. Hearing footsteps and the unearthly wails of various monstrosities in the distance keeps you walking through the world rather than running; you never know what’s around the corner.

Various Issues Include Terrible Frame Rate Drops And Stuck Enemies

There are various other technical issues. The frame rate takes a hit during many portions of the game, especially the cutscenes. I tried playing on Quality Mode and Performance Mode, but it didn’t help in either mode. It was so bad that I avoided going to some areas just because the frame drops felt like they sometimes fell into single digits.

I also encounter a lot of enemies getting stuck on terrain along with myself, and in at least two cases, when I had a companion join me in a boss battle. When they died, the boss still attacked them as if they were alive, swinging and striking at the air, leading to easy boss kills.

Lords of the Fallen, in many ways, surpasses its predecessor but, in other ways, falls behind it. It’s a fun game with a great setting and fantastic exploration. Though its combat is competent, it’s hurt by a terrible lock-on mechanic and hitboxes that allow enemies to hurt you when they clearly shouldn’t be able to, while your attacks can go through them and miss.

With all that said, if you loved the original, you’ll love this new iteration. If you long for the dark gothic medieval setting of the Dark Souls franchise, this is an excellent alternative to that setting. However, it currently needs a few patches to address some of its more glaring issues and reach the potential that most have for it.

Lords of the Fallen is due out on PS5, PC, and Xbox Series X/S on October 13, 2023.

Review code kindly provided by PR



The Final Word

Lords of the Fallen does a lot of things right. Its exploration is its strongest point, and jumping from the human and Umbra realms provides unique enemy encounters and secrets. However, while its combat could have been great, it's ultimately marred by poor hitbox detection and a lock-on camera that will get you killed more than it will save you. There is just something about the world that kept me coming back for more. Whether it was the exploration, the great monster and character designs, or the world itself. Lords of the Fallen is a great return to the dark gothic style of these highly difficult titles.