Lords of the Fallen – impressions
Well, finally finished it, but only like 1-2 years after starting it, with a big pause due to its difficulty spike(s). Here’s my brief thoughts:
+, +, -They take a lot of the tried and proven mechanics of the Souls games, this gives it some boosts up but also some of its worst sides
+, +, + quite interesting visual art style. Overly ornate and often a bit generic in that, still sometimes beautifully decorative and showing sometimes beautiful vistas, lighting and colour
+, – the ornate decorations of the armours and weapons make them visually memorable and striking but also rather implausible and impractical looking
– , -, – , -, – horrible difficulty spikes, like really horrible. I hated the game many times, and though i was curious to continue it the unreasonableness of some bosses was just too much. I ended up after a lot of trials and frustration in actually selling the game and abandoning it (a very hard thing for me, especially due to curiosity and appreciating some art content) and only recently continued it as it was given ‘free’ on PS+. I think this kind of difficulty is a huge betrayal of the customer, not giving him the choice of having his experience and in fact cheating him out of his money because he never gets to experience the full content. For example by the end of the game i saw by achievements that like 4-7% of people had gotten to the last enemies, meaning all the others never got their money’s worth, and as an artist I’m sad that they missed out on content that was actually pretty good in terms of visual and even some story. As such I judge the developers strongly and find this behaviour inexcusable. Of course people who want to experience a high level of challenge should be given this opportunity, but not at the cost of the others (hmm, how libertarian an idea!).
+, + overall decent music. Maybe not incredibly fantastic top of the line, however always original and in big quantity! Respect
-, – ,- ,- The level design i found to be by far worse than the souls games. Among the problems were also rethreading of old grounds, pretty much absent directions to next objectives, and that kind of self-mutilating “feature” of an open world where respawning enemies combined with lacking directions lead to the openness of the world just leading to a ton of wasted time and cursing in confusion at the waste. This is made particularly bad by their level designs lacking what the Souls games one do: a unique and memorableness to them: they thus feel often like mazes and are hard to remember in clear terms. I think good design should have places that you can easily describe verbally like “and then i went over the bridge and up the castle”, instead of “and then you take a left and then another and the rune that’s similar to the other rune is …. “. Such clear and well thought out level design I think becomes necessary in a game that insists to being so difficult and involve backtracking. The lack of this turns complexity that should occasion joy of discovery into complexity that just makes things unnecessarily difficult.
Overall I’d give it a -1 on a -5 to 5 scale. They took a very risky path of actually believing the short-line descriptions of why people like dark souls/bloodborne “because they’re hard” and missed the subtlety that people are only willing to put up with the difficulty if the quality of your product is truly amazingly unique and fantastic, thereby they lifted their standards to be judged on to impossible measures. Though I liked the artwork the pain I had to go through to enjoy it was too much for me to recommend this game to anybody else to actually buy it.