IMPRESSIONS NAMCO BANDAI Games SF (US) New Year Showcase – 1/28
During the NAMCO BANDAI New Years Kick-Off event in San Francisco, I got to watch Lords Of The Fallen, an upcoming hack and slash title that draws some similarities from another company title, Dark Souls II. Deck13 Interactive and CI Games have utilized the many different aspects of an open, deliberate combat system with the fun arcade style class systems to create what I think could be a great title for 2014. Tomasz Gop, executive producer of Lords Of The Fallen, led us through an interesting run-through on the unique features of the game.
In the Lords Of The Fallen universe, mankind has risen up against the gods and imprisoned them. While it may have seemed like a good idea at the time, demons began to pour onto earth at a ridiculous rate, attacking humanity while it had its guard down. Harkyn, an outcast that bears tattoos as a sign for his crimes, gets thrown into the mix as he tries to discover where the demons came from and why.
The game allows the player to choose between three different classes: the cleric, the warrior, and the rogue. Each class stays within the boundaries of its archetype at the time of character creation. Clerics are slow-moving, heavily armored warriors with spells at their disposal, warriors are slightly-less armored, damage-dealing fanatics and rogues are lightly-armored, fast-striking characters who pulls off combos. While these ideas are pushed at the beginning, the game, in no way, limits your choices as to what you could do. Watching the Cleric in action at first, and while he ran through the level, he fell upon a pair of daggers. Usng them, made a slow cleric became a faster, more agile version of itself, dancing around with its blades. The game allows for choices and the developers promise that these choices will affect the way your story progresses. In addition, every class has access to different spells that allows the player more strategy when it comes to taking down enemies.
The game uses a stamina bar to control how much attacks you’re able to do. Spells and physical attacks deplete different amounts of stamina every time it’s used. Spamming attacks or spells isn’t “frowned upon”, but you’re going to have a hard time killing anything if you don’t consider your moves. Combat in the game is fluid. Utilizing all the tools you have at your disposal is one of the better ways of getting good results in combat. Weaving melee attacks with spells creates lots of opportunities for you to get in stronger, harder hits or to dodge an attack. Dodging in the game is also a very important aspect. Generally, most of the mobs you encounter in Lords Of The Fallen won’t be your average grunt. They’ll have mob-specific skills and they will hurt you if you let your guard down. Dodging attacks is really important in the scheme of things. It negates damage and it allows for you to position yourself to do the most damage.
One of the big things I’ve noticed is that the game doesn’t come with checkpoints at every point. When you die during a boss-fight, you begin at the very beginning of the level again. This allows you to re-try different combinations for gear and combat styles. If your first try in full melee combat didn’t yield good results, mixing in some spells might work better. It’s things like these that the developers want the players to consider during their trial-and-error gameplay.
During the one level presented, we watched as the character entered the game and met a demon that was fully armored and was slightly taller than the character. Rushing into him and proceeded to cut him down, all the while dodging his attacks. Didn’t even get scratched, as he went down. Then taking a door to the right that led to the next room. Big mistake. Immediately after entering this stage the character was face-to-face with a real boss. The demon was covered in thick armor, hefting a huge broadsword and shield that looked deadlier than equipped hammer could ever look. As he ran at him at an attempt to bash his head in, but as he hit him, he blocked the attack with his shield. He then proceeded to cut the character down with two sword strikes. The character was put back to the beginning, where he faced the small demon again (even though he wasn’t small in reality). You will need to rethink your strategies, and considered actually dodging. The fight went a lot better this time around, as he was able to bring him to about 50%. Every 25% of the boss’s health, he would activate a new phase, shrugging off his armor at an attempt to become more comfortable while he tried to cleave our face in half. He gained a new attack animation, a downward cleave that split would have split us in half if he didn’t dodge out of its way. Through trial-and-error, slowly whittled the boss down until he was beaten. Winning looked extremely rewarding, and that wasn’t even the end of the level.
Lords Of The Fallen has huge potential. Their debut trailer released earlier in 2013 set the bar pretty high, and the developers did not fail to deliver with this latest version of the game. The game was in its pre-Alpha stage and still it looked and felt like it was ready to take the world by storm. The game will be ready by the fall of 2014, and will be released on the PS4, the Xbox One, and the PC. Make sure you keep an eye out for this title cause it’s going to be a good one.