Lords of the Fallen preview - an Elden Ring for the rest of us (2024)

Lords of the Fallen preview - an Elden Ring for the rest of us (1)

As the archangel swings her fearsome blade, I find myself getting into a rhythm. Each blow can be dodged; it's just a question of timing. I weave around her attacks, whittling down her health bar before disengaging. I’m too late; my character slumps to the ground. My fight against the first set-piece boss of Lords of the Fallen Is over.

Or so you might think.

I awaken, surrounded by skeletal constructs and bathed in an eerie purple light. The archangel is still here. The fight, it seems, is still on.

Unfortunately for my opponent, I’ve learned my lesson. This time, I don’t get greedy. This time, she falls, no number of celestial swords of angelic powers a match for well-timed dodges.

On the surface, Lords of the Fallen looks indistinguishable from Elden Ring

It’s only after the satisfaction fades that I realize something vital. Throughout the slog through hills and ruins to arrive at the encounter, the game has been preparing me, teaching me how to parry, dodge, and block. In only an hour or so, Lords of the Fallen had made me better at video games.

On the surface, Lords of the Fallen looks indistinguishable from Elden Ring. You adventure through bleak, yet hauntingly beautiful environments in search of ending the tyranny of an ancient horror. It’s a third-person action RPG where you battle from save point to save point, doing your best not to perish and lose your precious resources.

However, Lords of the Fallen changes the script, by taking the time to teach its players and offering a fast, responsive combat system where you can put these lessons into practice. In contrast to the more ponderous combat in Elden Ring, Lords of the Fallen gives us something faster and more fluid, reminiscent of the splendid lightsaber contests in Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.

Walking between worlds

Lords of the Fallen preview - an Elden Ring for the rest of us (2)

On top of these welcome tweaks to the soulsborne formula, Lords of the Fallen uses a novel environmental mechanic whereby the two worlds of Axiom, the world of the living, and Umbral, the land of the dead, are superimposed on one another, traversable via a magic lantern.

Can’t cross a chasm? You can use your lantern to peer into Umbral to see if a transposition might allow you to cross the gap. However, this doesn’t come without risk. Enter Umbral, and you’ll quickly find yourself hunted by increasingly dangerous hordes of shambling horrors. On top of that, the trip from Axiom to Umbral is one way without the help of special items or rest points, so the decision to cross the threshold is anything but trivial.

Perhaps the most wide-reaching effect of this mechanic comes in the form of the second chance it gives the player during battle. Perish in Axiom, and you’ll revive in Umbral, pushing back your enemies with a burst of energy before continuing the fight exactly where you left off.

This allows you a final chance to apply the game’s lessons in combat, offering you one last opportunity to learn from your mistakes. Rather than a coddling safety net, this feels like a love letter to soulsborne fundamentals. Learn and improve, and you’ll survive, but repeat your errors, and you’ll perish.

Fighting with purpose

Lords of the Fallen preview - an Elden Ring for the rest of us (3)

Everything about Lords of the Fallen seems more accessible than most of its soulsborne counterparts, though rarely at the expense of the “tough but fair” grind at the heart of the genre. This is true not only of the combat but also of the world itself.

While Lords of the Fallen is steeped in the usual dark fantasy intrigue you’d expect from a typical soulsborne title; there is just enough direct exposition to give the intrigue context. The plot is simple and comprehensible: you must stop the demon god Adyr by traveling the world and confronting the fallen guardians who tried (and failed) to keep him imprisoned.

Lords of the Fallen’s polished combat and distinctive flavor set it apart from many of its soulsborne contemporaries

It’s hardly original, but, thanks to the clear exposition, I found myself able to piece together more about Lords of the Fallen’s setting in three hours than I managed in my first 10 hours with Dark Souls 3 back in the day. Knowing about the world and your place in it helps to give your struggles some much-welcome context, putting the “role” back in action in role-playing game.

Lords of the Fallen’s polished combat and distinctive flavor set it apart from many of its soulsborne contemporaries. While many of its ideas are not original, per se, they are all refined and repackaged, presented in a more accessible format that still preserves the satisfying difficulty at the heart of the soulsborne experience.

While it’s too early to say if Lords of the Fallen meaningfully builds on this in later stages, the promise of a user-friendly soulsborne title will certainly pique interest.

Lords of the Fallen is set to release on October 13 for PS5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC.

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Lords of the Fallen preview - an Elden Ring for the rest of us (4)

Cat Bussell

Staff Writer

Cat Bussell is a Staff Writer at TechRadar Gaming. Hailing from the crooked spires of London, Cat is an experienced writer and journalist. As seen on Wargamer.com, TheGamer.com, and Superjumpmagazine.com, Cat is here to bring you coverage from all corners of the video game world. An inveterate RPG maven and strategy game enjoyer, Cat is known for her love of rich narratives; both story-driven and emergent.

Before migrating to the green pastures of games journalism, Cat worked as a political advisor and academic. She has three degrees and has studied and worked at Cambridge University, University College London, and Queen Mary University of London. She's also been an art gallery curator, an ice cream maker, and a co*cktail mixologist. This crash course in NPC lifestyles uniquely qualifies her to pick apart only the juiciest video games for your reading pleasure.

Cat cut her teeth on MMOs in the heyday of World of Warcraft before giving in to her love of JRPGs and becoming embedded in Final Fantasy XIV. When she's not doing that, you might find her running a tabletop RPG or two, perhaps even voluntarily.

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Lords of the Fallen preview - an Elden Ring for the rest of us (2024)


Lords of the Fallen preview - an Elden Ring for the rest of us? ›

In only an hour or so, Lords of the Fallen had made me better at video games. On the surface, Lords of the Fallen looks indistinguishable from Elden Ring. You adventure through bleak, yet hauntingly beautiful environments in search of ending the tyranny of an ancient horror.

Will Lords of the Fallen be like Elden Ring? ›

As much as Lords of the Fallen tries to be this year's Elden Ring, the game is not fully open-world like the latter. It is a semi-open world as players will not be able to explore the world in full, although there will be plenty of hidden paths to explore.

Is Lords of the Fallen open world? ›

Gameplay and plot

Lords of the Fallen sequel/reboot looks much darker than the original, with a tone similar to Dark Souls 3. The original game also played a lot like a Dark Souls game. However, Lords of the Fallen will also offer a tighter more curated experience and will not feature an open world like Elden Ring did.

Is Lords of the Fallen a FromSoftware game? ›

Games Radar

Lords of the Fallen turns the most infamously iconic, eternally frustrating thing about a FromSoftware game into more than a second chance: It's a second world, one that functions entirely differently from the place we start out in.

What is Elden Ring out on? ›

Elden Ring
Platform(s)PlayStation 4 PlayStation 5 Windows Xbox One Xbox Series X/S
ReleaseFebruary 25, 2022
Genre(s)Action role-playing
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer
10 more rows

How hard is Lords of the Fallen? ›

The game is incredibly challenging — it's much more challenging than the first game. The other aspect that piques my interest is the game's almost Sekiro-like second life system. When players die, they don't simply lose everything they're holding, forcing them to do a standard corpse run.

How many hours is Lords of the Fallen? ›

Lords of the Fallen developers have confirmed how long it will take to beat the game in single-player. Players should expect to spend roughly 25 to 30+ hours in one playthrough, though Lords of the Fallen also features a New Game+ option and more, encouraging multiple playthroughs.

Will The Lords of the Fallen be good? ›

Not only does the sequel boast a good assortment of classes, allowing for various playstyles of different speeds across melee and ranged combat, but it features two distinct realms to play through; which is to say Lords of the Fallen has fixed both my biggest problem with its predecessor while also adding its own spin ...

Will Lords of the Fallen have invasions? ›

As in Dark Souls, players can invade each other's worlds for glory and plunder, with certain parts of the world specifically designed for PvP. The twist is that only the host player is in charge of world-switching.

Is the Lords of the Fallen a Souls game? ›

Coming from small-time Polish publisher CI Games and German developer Deck13, Lords of the Fallen was, most reviewers agreed, a solid, workmanlike attempt at the Souls formula that made it a little easier, a little crunchier, and a little more colorful, without bringing much new to the table.

Is fallen order more like Dark Souls or Sekiro? ›

Both games have very similar fighting mechanics. I believe Jedi Fallen Order took inspiration from Sekiro when it comes to lightsaber combat. In both games, you use the same weapon throughout the game although in Jedi Fallen Order you can unlock a dual blade lightsaber.

Is Elden Ring connected to other Fromsoft games? ›

Those commonalities are, however, more down to FromSoftware's development choices. There is no official connection between Dark Souls and Elden Ring. Dark Souls I – III occupy their own universe, and so do Elden Ring, Bloodborne, and Demon's Souls.

Will there be an Elden Ring 2? ›

FromSoftware's game director Hidetaka Miyazaki may have just confirmed Elden Ring 2 in an interview ahead of an official revelation by the studio.

How tall is Melina Elden Ring? ›

According to the size chart, Malenia is 256 cm tall, roughly 8 feet and four inches, whereas, Sephiroth is 200 cm or 6 feet and six inches tall. Cloud Strife is the shortest of the three, with a height of 173 cm or 5 feet and eight inches.

Will Elden Ring DLC cost money? ›

This page contains a full list of all the Elden Ring DLC. Elden Ring features free DLC in the form of an update released in December 2022, that introduced the Colosseum battles, where players can engage in new pvp modes and six player multiplayer.

What kind of game will Lords of the Fallen be? ›

What is Lords of the Fallen? An epic, dark fantasy action-RPG set in a vast world of shadow and chaos. Overthrow a resurrected demon god in this all-new adventure set in an interconnected world five times larger than the original game.

Is The Lords of the Fallen a Soulslike game? ›

This is a Soulslike that wears its inspirations on its sleeve, and they all point to FromSoftware. There's nothing wrong with this, Lords of the Fallen is an accomplished game. It plays well, and looks good while doing it.

Is Lords of the Fallen similar to Dark Souls? ›

Here are our first impressions of upcoming soulslike Lords of the Fallen after a hands-off preview and chat with the game's creative director at GDC 2023.

Did Radagon become Elden Lord? ›

After Godfrey, the First Elden Lord was stripped of grace and hounded from the Lands Between, Radagon returned to the capital where he went on to marry Queen Marika and become her King Consort and second Elden Lord.

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