Called “Polish souls”, Lords of the Fallen resonated loudly among many Dark Souls and Demon Souls fans. Will the noisy friend be allowed into the respectable group and stand in one row with the greats of the genre?
Since October 13, Lords of the Fallen has been provoking disputes between players, for whom the height of pleasure is rolling around the boss without armor and counting subsequent deaths. In addition to the two groups arguing about the rating of this game, there is a third one that simply cannot leave the menu. Due to optimization problems, there are still people for whom the game remains unavailable. The developers are doing what they can and have already released several patches since the premiere. However, this did not solve all the problems.
Lords of the Fallen, or “Polish souls”
I have friends who have been waiting for this title for months and finally enjoyed it. I heard about it shortly before the premiere and had to find out everything right away. So it was explained to me that it is a reboot of the 2014 game of the same title, brought to the world by the Polish CI Games, although produced by its subsidiary studio Hexworks. Both productions are only loosely related, so you don’t have to know the first one to enjoy the second one.
In short, we enter a dark world where you die twice. After death (or at our own request) we enter an even darker reality called the Umbral. It’s something like the other side of “Stranger Things” or another dimension to which Frodo travels after putting on the ring in Tolkien’s most popular work. As in the examples given, this is an extremely dangerous land – the longer we stay there, the more powerful monsters pursue us. Of course, after returning from the afterlife, things are not much easier.
Lords of the Fallen is a full-blown souls-like game. It’s actually almost a Dark Souls clone, which could easily be another part of the series. It’s striking that you can “borrow” so many game elements and not be accused of plagiarism. It’s a kind of phenomenon that players, seeing another title with souls, bosses, a “bonfire” system, a characteristic combat and location construction system, include it in the “genre” without blinking an eye, instead of condemning the complete lack of originality.
On the other hand, what can people in love with Bloodborne, Sekiro or Elden Ring expect? Of course, more “souls”. It seems that this may be the answer to the question about the mixed reception of Lords of the Fallen. Recently, “souls” have been a bit spoiled, to mention Remnant II or Lies of P. It is with the latter title that “Lords” is most often compared, emphasizing the superiority of the twisted story about Pinocchio. Perhaps if Lords of the Fallen had been released two months later, the reception of this game would have been completely different.
Bambik in the merciless world of “souls”
This long introduction was created for a reason. I am trying to outline the context in which I got involved in CI Games’ production. Firstly, I was lucky to avoid any optimization problems. The game runs exceptionally well for me, so much so that I can even stream it and do not experience any FPS drops. Secondly, I missed the Lies of P craze because I was playing something else. Thirdly… I’m not simply a souls maniac.
I have to admit it, but I had a hard time breaking away from the genre. Of the entire range of available titles, I only played Dark Souls: Remastered. By the time I dealt with the gargoyles, I had 200 deaths on my counter. When I reached the demon with the two dogs, I had to let go. I decided that this game was not suitable for my nerves and skills. If I had played it even a minute longer, I would have ended up with a fist through my monitor. I even skipped Elden Ring, despite my friends’ assurances that it was an easier production than the others from FromSoftware.
I am reviewing Lords of the Fallen somewhat out of coincidence, but also out of curiosity. I wanted to see if after waiting over a year I would still react to souls so drastically. And I must admit that this time I was hooked for good. After 16 hours of play, I’m approaching 200 deaths, but this time I feel like I’m making some progress. I’ve already defeated four serious bosses, only one of which I failed about 80 times. This time, however, the “torment” is pleasant.
At the same time, I feel like I’m still playing Dark Souls 1, only with better graphics. Everything is so similar here that it is an extension of that game. Even after removing the armor, my character still gains speed when dodging. It’s still dark and you have to watch out for every single enemy. I still get angry when I fall into the abyss and lose precious souls. But I think dying is a bit more fair here. I don’t blame the clunky controls or the exaggerated enemies, just my lack of concentration. I also completely ignored the magic system and some other ideas. Maybe I would have it easier with them.
Do you like difficult games? You will like Lords of the Fallen
Let us emphasize: this game is very difficult. We die just as often as on the bosses on the way between them. The locations are swarming with enemies, and some of them are a terrible nuisance. You have to constantly be vigilant and you can’t run wild everywhere, as was the case in Dark Souls. This is where patience and methodical killing of enemies pays off. Perhaps this is the biggest difference between Lords of the Fallen and other games in the genre. Some people call it an objection, I see it as an interesting variation. This is not your typical run from boss to boss. Every few meters is a challenge here.
In a world where everything wants to kill you, sometimes you forget to admire the view. It happened that I forced my hero to stop mid-sprint to look at a more interestingly designed element. The game is not exceptionally beautiful, it is rather far from Elden Ring, but it definitely meets the requirements for modern productions. It is very pretty, and stands out when we visit the world of the dead. The locations there are reminiscent of Beksiński’s paintings and may constitute a good basis for your nightmares. Let’s just say about the music that it is atmospheric and does not bother us. That’s always a little plus.
I don’t know if I’m having so much fun with Lords of the Fallen because I’ve simply matured into this genre and have become a “soul player”, or maybe on the contrary – I haven’t played games with souls and bonfires enough. I don’t trust myself in this matter, so I will use the opinions of people with whom I had the opportunity to talk about this subject. Some of them respond by saying: “Lies of P is better.” They have the right, even if some of them only know the CI Games title by sight.
However, there are many people who are surprised by the negative ratings on Steam and disagree with the harsh reviews online. Of course, there are also those for whom Lords of the Fallen was only available on streams. However, among the defenders of “Polish Souls” there are people I know who have played similar games and are having a great time playing “Lords”. If they see potential in this production, I can recommend it without any hesitation. As long as it runs on your hardware, of course. Check it before downloading, or buy it on a platform that will allow you to return the game painlessly in case of problems.
I’m not even halfway through the fun yet, but I have the desire and ambition to seriously fight for souls this time. I’ve heard from more experienced colleagues that “Pyromancer” and “Guy on a Horse” can be challenging. Rollerheads and ignited knife throwers are still a problem for me. I die over and over again trying to sneak past hordes of crossbowmen, and I’m seriously considering watching a guide to several mechanics I’ve been ignoring so far. I’m more of a lazy player who doesn’t have that much drive. The fact that I’m hooked and want to learn is undoubtedly to the advantage of Lords of the Fallen. I hope you will like it too if you give this game a chance. Good luck in the swamp!