Lords of the Fallen – Sweat, blood and tears

REVIEW – Lords of the Fallen, one of the many titles some us (including me) was waiting for in 2014. Developed by Deck13 Interactive and CI Games this RPG promised to be brutal, and unforgiving in vain of the Dark Souls series (A source of main inspiration), while also providing exciting new boss mechanics and several other gameplay features. Is this game just a cheap knock-off, or is it a new way to slay demons?


The story is rather basic in the beginning; you are Harkyn, a convict who has been let free by a priest to aid Humanity against Roger. Their journey leads them to Keystone monastery which may hold the key to survival. While this seems pretty generic, the game can delve deeper into much darker themes such as What is evil, the nature of man, and what it means to be good / bad. While the topics are in place, the execution can be lacking for some. The main quest is relatively long (around 10-13 hours), but there are several other sidequests that can be picked up.


The problem is with these sidequests is, to put it bluntly, you’ll have to remember it. For some reason the developers did not include a checklist or a tiny submenu for pending sidequests, so you’ll have to remember what the NPCs told you and where / what they want. Now this adds to the immersion but for some, it can be highly frustrating if they lack the patience. At least these quests are rewarding as they provide quite a big experience boost or reinforcements once one is completed. With around all of the sidequests (some offer two or three end choices) the game will last about 30-40 hours on a first run, and then there’s the option of a New Game+.


Lords and Noblemen 

The main selling points of course are The Lords. Bosses with lots of health and the ability to knock you dead in a few hits. The high points of the game, that wish to set apart from the rest of the RPGs. The developers in this regard were able to succeed. The boss fights while long, are pretty creative in terms of execution, so they’ll never feel tacked on / or feel like hit sponges. It’s also very well divided, around 60% of the bosses are knight types (Think of Artorias of Abyss type here), and 40% are more demonic / beastly types.  All of them have multiple phases and attack variations, which mix up the game well enough.

It’s also worth noting the developers were able to mix up how the bosses can be defeated, and using the biggest / highest damaging weapon is not always the key. Magic, long range weaponry, and different items will mix up the fights. The regular enemies are also varied, although they don’t have multiple forms like the bosses.  There are a few unique “standard” enemies like The Tyrants. Giants with their hearts cutout and hidden, so until you find the core of a Tyrant they will keep regenerating when they are near death. There also ghosts which can only be killed with magic attacks.


Three classes, three magicks, one outcome?

Before we trod onto our adventure in Keystone we must select our type of character. There is no deep customization like with other RPGs, instead you’ll the main character without any possibility to change anything on him (physique, hair colour , or height) . Instead we get three preset character types with different gear and stats. The cleric , warrior and rogue can be selected, and after that three distinct magic types which can either be the same as your initial class, or you can mix it up to achieve unusual combinations. I’ve picked a Rogue whose not a high damage dealer, but pulled the warrior magic . Once the second spell unlocked called “Rage” I was able to bombard enemies as long as I wanted (until the spell wore off) without any fear of Endurance wearing off. It’s a neat idea, and ideal for experimenting with the different builds the game can offer.

Weapons can also scale with some attributes so that even some of the mid-tier weapons can be used later in the title. You don’t have to throw away your trusty old sword just because you just picked up the latest weapon since it’s able to keep up with the high-end gear. Also, some of the enemies are more vulnerable to certain attack types/weapons than others. So be on the lookout on how quickly your enemies die, that new shiny hammer might not do too much against them, if they die quicker to slashes than hammer strikes.


Leveling up is done in a unique way, and is also heavily layered with tactics and choices. Every time you gain XP, you can decide to keep earning it, or to spend it on two types of points. If you choose to keep on gaining XP, a multiplier will go higher (Which resets upon death), and you’ll earn even more XP for the kills. Or you can spend the experience to unlock skill points, and there are two types. Attribute points and Spell points. Both are relatively self-explanatory, however, every time a point is opened, the next one will require more XP.  This way it’s able to limit players and not break the game by farming one spot.

However, while everything is neatly layered and well-crafted regarding the RPG leveling system in the game, sadly by the end of the first half, it will not matter that much. As if you leveled up smartly, you’ll be able to wield even the heaviest weapon or wear the heaviest armor. Not only that you’ll become an unstoppable killing machine and not even the bosses in the second half provide much trouble if you have the right gear. New Game plus fixes this issue but not entirely.


Castle-… I mean Keystone.

The game mainly takes place in Keystone Monastery, a place which looks more like a gigantic castle than a place for monks to live. It’s a really high level with interconnected segments, secret paths, deadly traps and mazes. Some might like this, but for some this can also be a negative aspect. Everything is so connected that it’s so easy to get lost. Take wrong turn and you may end up miles from your destination. So beware as there are no maps in this game, unless you decide to draw one of the castles.  There are also two other location, The Pathway (Demonic realm of Rhogar), and a Challenge field which can be accessed by gateways. These places are unlocked and can be entered from different parts of the level. One level may just contain three chests with rewards in them, while another may teleport Harkyn to a gladiator style deathmatch arena (three rounds with a huge XP bonus at the end). Save points are also well placed, while some are hidden in away. Still a map would have been great just to get your bearings every now and then, in case you get lost.

The graphics overall look fantastic, there are some pop-ins, and weapons blending into the walls (this was notable especially with scythes and long swords). However the effects look stunning, smoke, snow, and fire are well done, and the enemy design is also well fleshed out. None of the enemies feel cheap regarding looks, and the feel of the levels are also awe-inspiring (With the dead hand of a god looming in the distance as ominous mountains).


Bugs, and skeletons

While it is well put together, it does have its fair share of issues. The first thing I had to do before enjoying the game is download a 5GB patch which took sometime unfortunately.  There were also some freezes and error messages even after the patch. Plus for some weird reason enemies would not get damaged by my attacks (this became annoying with the boss battles). There’s also the issue of how the difficulty is handled by the game. As mentioned before by the second half of the game you’ll be steamrolling through enemies, and bosses if you’re smart about the leveling up process. It can still be difficult but there’s barely any challenge, and the game just throws you better weapons by luck sometimes. For me this ruined the end game a bit, and felt bored in individual battles. Still this was only near the final 1/3 of the content.


Dead dead and Dead

Finally this game probably also has one of the most awkward release dates since it’s before Call of Duty , and Assassin’s Creed Unity is coming out soon. The game while has its issues is fun to play, but the technical problem and low-quality production value in certain parts hinder the overall quality. It’s a solid 7/10 and I hope we’ll see more of this universe in the future, as it built up an exciting world for us to combat a new type of evil.



+ Combat system is solid / skill choices matter
+ Graphics are great
+ Level design and enemy design is well done and not generic.


– Can become too easy
– Side quests may be difficult to complete
– Bugs and other technical issues


Editor: Deck 13, City Interactive

Developer: City Interactive

Genres: RPG, action

Publication: 2014 October 28


Lords of the Fallen - Sweat, blood and tears

Gameplay - 7.8
Graphics - 8.6
Story - 8.2
Music/audio - 7.1
Ambiance - 7.8



The game while has its issues is fun to play, but the technical problem and low-quality production value in certain parts hinder the overall quality. It's a solid 7/10 and I hope we'll see more of this universe in the future, as it built up an exciting world for us to combat a new type of evil.

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Bence is a Senior Staff Writer for our site. He is an avid gamer, that enjoys all genres, from Indie to AAA games. He mostly plays on the PS4 or on the laptop (since some indies get a preview build there faster). Loves obscure Japanese games that no one else dares to review on this site.

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