In Case You Missed It: Lords of the Fallen

By Marc Hollinshead, 7 months ago
Many of you may remember our 'Easter Eggs' feature here on TA. Every couple of weeks we selected an underrated game that was considered to be a hidden gem and shined our spotlight on it. Now that the current generation is in full swing and a brand new library of under-appreciated titles has been stocked, we thought 'Easter Eggs' should make a return, but this time with a new name. 'In Case You Missed It' plans to replace the bulb in that spotlight and once again examine games that may have been overlooked by the community, both on new gen systems and still sometimes looking back on the 360, to make some gamers aware of what could very well be their next favourite game.

Our first game didn't fly completely off the radar, but it has certainly been ignored by plenty of gamers since its 2014 release. As it is the next title in the Game With Gold line-up, we thought Deck13's RPG Lords of the Fallen should be front and centre. So, why is this arguably one of the best games to feature in Microsoft's free game programme? Read on to find out.


The Basics

Lords of the Fallen places you in the role of Harkyn, a character who is the lowest of the low in the hierarchy of society. In a world where sins, both big and small, are punished, Harkyn has been cast out from the world due to the atrocities he has committed. With runes symbolizing these sins forever emblazoned on his face, he is not your typical "goody two-shoes" hero who has a heart of gold. After being released from prison by a particular monk, he is confronted by unusual beings called Rhogar. Soon enough, he is bound to a path that involves evil Rhogar Lords, unlikely companions, and tyrannical gods.

There's one small thing that is always at the forefront of conversation about Lords of the Fallen. It shares a striking resemblance to that of the Souls games, to the point in which the controls are exactly the same. Harkyn will need to use his stamina wisely as he dashes and dodges enemy attacks, defeat giant bosses and, of course, succumb to death, all while travelling through an interconnected world. Sound familiar? Yes, this game has been heavily influenced by Dark Souls but it's much more than a simple clone.

The Hook

It's hard to talk about Lords of the Fallen without bringing in the comparison to Dark Souls. There are some major differences, though. One of which is the story. Dark Souls has always shared its stories with the player in an ambiguous fashion. The series is rich in lore and depressing tales, but only when you go searching for answers will you find the truth. Lords takes on a more accessible approach. The story is right there for you to witness and has much more of an obvious influence in-game. Harkyn himself is a fleshed out character with particular motives and he occasionally will empathize with those he meets. Although it's a depressing world and life for Harkyn, he doesn't experience it alone. While this may be the case, NPC's only make an appearance at crucial plot moments and so Harkyn will still be travelling with only his armour and weapons as company.


Lords gives you access to a world that feels large as you first journey through it, but as you discover various shortcuts and new pathways, you will realise how everything is connected. For example, you may spend hours battling through a courtyard, to eventually reach a monastery, which then leads right back to that initial courtyard. There's plenty of "Oh, I'm back here!" moments and this helps the world to feel more real, rather than the game just taking you from one area to the next. Without spoiling anything, some areas aren't connected in a physical sense, but that will become clearer as you play. Secrets are also abundant and you'll regularly deviate from the path and find a special weapon or piece of armour waiting to be claimed. It's not just linear rooms and corridors. The game wants you to take your time and explore, uncovering areas that are otherwise locked off from the world.

When you aren't exploring the expansive world, Lords will give you time to take a breather whenever you reach one of the game's checkpoints. Think of these checkpoints as the bonfires from Dark Souls. Saving at one of them will respawn all enemies in the vicinity, heal you back to full health, restore your healing potions and give you the chance to level up. Not all your potions will be refilled every time, though, as each checkpoint only renews the amount correlating to the amount of shards spinning around it. Does a certain checkpoint only have three spinning shards? Expect only three of your five potions to be restored. It's a risky business but saving at a checkpoint is worth it more often than not.

On his travels through the land, Harkyn will be using both physical combat and magic to vanquish his foes. You will have the choice when starting a new game to play either as a rogue, warrior or cleric, and these classes are fairly self explanatory. With this, though, you'll also be able to chose from three different pools of magic that are linked to each class. Any class and magic type can be combined, so clerics can use rogue magic if they wish to deal extra damage and warriors can combine their sheer power with healing magic so they stay in top condition. This helps to add diversity to the way you play, and each spell can be levelled up with spell points you acquire upon leveling up. I personally played as a warrior (I feel safer with a shield) and possessed rogue magic, so this gave me the title of a "Raider". Don't think that if you go down the melee route, you'll have no use for magic because believe me, those spells will be used and abused when up against a tricky boss.

E3 screen 2

Speaking of bosses, Lords has plenty of those, too. As you whittle down the health of a boss whenever you reach one, it will enter into different phases at specific points. These are far more blatant than that of Dark Souls, as a boss can immediately begin a new attack without warning, forcing you to apply new tactics halfway through the battle. With this comes death as well. Some bosses aren't as brutal as you might anticipate, but there are occasions where Harkyn will be bashed and smashed about until a boss finally gets exterminated. Lords is a little more forgiving in the sense that Harkyn can withstand more punishment and so this is why it has been said to be "an easy Dark Souls". You'll still need to have your whits about you, though, as tough enemies roam where you least expect it and certain areas can prove difficult. I won't deny that I made it past the second boss without even dying once beforehand (and I don't mean to boast), but after that, I embraced death almost too much on the third boss. Don't think that you can charge through because Harkyn is a beast, because he isn't.

When you aren't exploring the depths of the world and battling the threat that dwells within, you can enter a number of portals in the game with special surprises that await you on the other side. These come in the form of treasure to loot, waves of enemies to defeat, or darkened areas to navigate. Rewards await those who make it through them all and they are an exciting extra to the running and fighting you'd usually expect. The "Proving Ground" and "Infinite Void" portals can certainly present a challenge that can occasionally be harder to overcome than that of the main story.

To be able to experience all that Lords has to offer, you'll need to level up and have some fierce abilities at the ready. Leveling up is a bit different here, though. You will gain XP as normal from killing enemies and bosses, but after that is it up to you when deciding how to use it. You can "bank" it for attribute points, so Harkyn's own stats can be raised, or get spell points instead, which help you to increase the effectiveness of your magic spells. A balance needs to be retained so that abilities are in tune with the current difficulty of an area you're in, so make sure to always have XP on hand for all your abilities. If XP is not banked, however, it can be lost upon death. Harkyn will need to race back to his ghost to reclaim that XP, and by race, I mean race. The percentage of reclaimable XP will continue to decrease while Harkyn's ghost remains, so if you want all that lost XP, make sure you're quick about it. This adds another layer of excitement to the game and, obviously, charging through a game like this isn't child's play.

E3 screen 1

The Achievements

The base game of Lords of the Fallen has 46 achievements in total, and to be able to grab them all, you'll have to be ready to see and do everything the game has to offer. There are collectibles, unfortunately, but plenty of them will be gained naturally through exploration as you discover more areas on your travels. The bosses themselves have achievements attached to them so simply playing through the game will get you a hefty amount. Those of you who dislike multiple playthroughs may be disappointed, but at the very least you'll get to experience each class as you move closer to the 1,000G. The game also has one piece of DLC, "Ancient Labrynth", that brings 10 new achievements to the table. I haven't personally played it but going off the achievement requirements, it seems to be more of the same. It's not the most challenging list in the world, but it still requires a fair bit of dedication.

The Stats

Currently, over 17,600 people have delved into Lords of the Fallen and just 253 of those people have completed it (including DLC). The game is sitting at a lofty 3,225 TA score at the moment as well, but expect these numbers to skyrocket once the game gets its free pricetag in a couple of days time.

The TA community of scored the game 3.7 stars on average whereas Metacritic sits at 71.

The Price

Grabbing a physical copy of the game is actually fairly cheap. Those of you in the UK only need to shell out £17 to get a copy brand new from Amazon and American residents can go one step further and snap up the complete edition for a measley $19.99 brand new from Gamestop. However, everyone will no doubt enjoy spending absolutely nothing on this once it becomes free on March 15th thanks to the Games with Gold programme. Let's just hope there's a conveniently timed DLC sale as well!

The Verdict

While reading this, you may have been thinking "Why don't I just play Dark Souls instead?". Well, Lords of the Fallen does sound a lot like a clone of the acclaimed series but that's not all it is. It's a lot more accessible in terms of difficulty and its story isn't as cryptic. Whether that's a better aspect of the game is up to you, though. The controls are very tight and there are plenty of unique systems in place to make this game feel like it's trying something new. I came to this game feeling excited and I came away knowing that my first Xbox One game purchase was a good one. Games with Gold has seen so many titles that aren't memorable or any good (looking at you, ZHEROS) but Lords is definitely one of the better quality games to feature. For the potential price of nothing you are getting a lot of entertainment here. Don't waste your chance to grab it while you have the chance, RPG fan or not.

May 28th Art
Marc Hollinshead
Written by Marc Hollinshead
To summarize Marc in two words, it would be "Christian Gamer." You will usually find him getting stuck into story heavy action-adventure games, RPG's and the odd quirky title when he isn't raving about Dark Souls and Mass Effect. Outside the world of gaming, Marc attends and helps out in his church on a regular basis and has a not-so thrilling job in a supermarket.