Review: Lords of the Fallen14 Feb 2017 1
Review: Lords of the Fallen
Released 06 Feb 2017
Sadly Lords of the Fallen isn’t a game about the shady business deals and copious drug taking of disgraced peers. It is a game about ending the reign of Queen Akasha, who has sadly gone a bit mad and demonic. Perhaps she has been forced to agree to meet a new overseas leader and the prospect has sent her over the edge? Whatever the reason, before you face the queen herself you must first battle your way through her ranks of monstrous henchmen.
One thing that should be made clear from the start is that this is not a straight conversion of the console and PC action role-playing game that was released back in 2014. This mobile version is a much more straightforward combat game, very much in the style of the Infinity Blade series in which you use swipe controls to dodge, parry and attack your adversaries.
Rather sportingly, these fiends do not pile in for a mass brawl and tear you limb from limb but wait patiently at their assigned post until you should wander by. At this point they may give you a bit of a taunting before laying into you with their oversized weapons. Psychiatrists would certainly have a field day but somehow I don’t think they would have much luck getting these guys to lie down on a coach and talk about their mothers. You see they are an evil bunch, all spiky armour and raggedy cloaks; they look like they have just fallen off the cover of a death metal album. The Queen’s troops range in type from infected zombies, armoured knights, rotund crossbow men and other mutated horrors. Get through these and you will then have to face the much tougher proposition of battling the Lords themselves.
Most of the background story and plot of the original game has been jettisoned in favour of a more pick-up-and-play friendly approach. You begin the game playing as Harkyn, a guy with a big sword and a few spells enabling him to unleash a magical attack, improve his attack strength or restore his shield points. Harkyn makes his way across the map, facing a range of enemies at each site before defeating a Lord and then moving on to the next location. Although you can revisit old locations there are no forks or other decision points along your predestined path.
Between battles you may have acquired enough experience to increase your level and in addition, you can use the various items and money that you have collected to enhance your equipment. You may wish to visit the forge to grab an even larger and evermore impractical-looking sword to improve your attack strength, or acquire some new fancy-looking armour to enhance your health. You may want to pay a visit to the laboratory and use the eyeballs and other unpleasant ingredients that you have collected to craft elixirs. These can be used in battle to briefly improve your attack power, shield strength or restore health.
As you progress you will soon unlock a further two fighters. Firstly there is Yetka, a dual dagger-wielding thief, who can use her spells to poison and paralyse enemies. Then there is Kaslo, the obligatory hammer waving cleric-type guy who has a useful healing spell.
The battles themselves are fast paced and responsive. A tap on either side of the screen will see your warrior dodging to avoid a crashing blow. You can counter a strike by unleashing a parrying swipe in the same direction, or, assuming you haven’t used up all of your shield strength, you can tap the shield icon to block an attack. Counter three consecutive attacks and your opponent becomes stunned and vulnerable, the ideal time to unleash a series of combination moves. Unfortunately, although these combinations never approach the complexity of Street Fighter, they are still difficult to pull off with swipe controls, which mean that you never feel confident of success. Reduce an opponent’s health to zero and before they crumple to the ground you get the chance to show off by unleashing a range of fancy moves for extra experience. There is a bug that occasionally crops up causing the protagonists to arrive at an unspoken truce. They stand facing each other swaying back and forth but refusing to exchange further blows. In this situation there is no other option other than to abandon the fight and start it again.
You progress through the land, visiting such locations as the Square of Heroes and the graveyard, until your final showdown with the Queen at the monastery. The location graphics are beautifully designed and evocative of a realm in decline and the revolving three-dimensional panorama views at the start and end of each battle show them off to full effect. The characters themselves are nicely animated but graphically they seen a bit muddy and not as well defined as they could be.
The game comes at a premium cost and if you want to throw even more money at it then you can use your cash to purchase extra supplies of game money, enabling you to equip your character at a faster rate. Thankfully, this doesn’t really seem either necessary or desirable as Lords of the Fallen isn’t an especially difficult game and you acquire enough money as you travel through the land battering opponents and hitting achievements to progress comfortably enough without spending more cash.
It is inevitable that Lords of the Fallen is going to be compared with Infinity Blade 3, a game that was released way back in 2013. Indeed the Infinity Blade series can still give this usurper a run for its money, whose graphics still look sharper and whose branching game play helped add a little more variety. Sadly, it is this lack of variety that prevents Lords of the Fallen being anything more than an average game.
The same enemies appear time and time again and they all seem rather generic with nothing really unique about their attacks. Similarly, the three heroes are much of a muchness, yes that have a range of different spells, combo moves and equipment but at the end of the day all this amounts to the same sequence of dodge, dodge, dodge and then swipe like mad whilst your opponent is stunned. For those who only have access to android powered devices Lords of the Fallen becomes a much more attractive proposition, since to this day Infinity Blade and its sequels remain exclusive to iOS. But games have moved on since 2013. Take Severed, which shows that with a little extra effort, variety and new challenges can be introduced to the simple tap and swipe combat system.