I came out of Dark Souls 2 excited to see what western RPG developers would glean from its idiosyncrasies. And who better placed to shave off some of its spirit than onetime Witcher producer Tomasz Gop, now at the head of his own studio and project?
As it happens, Lords of the Fallen circles very tightly around the template left by From Software, despite Gop’s protests – but throws in a few punches of its own. Its latest mid-game footage shows off some juicy character specialisation and plenty of particle effects.
The “medieval BFG”, it turns out, is a ranged staff dubbed the ‘magic gauntlet’ in-game. It comes with three attack modes – cone, thrown explosive, and projectile – and each can be further specialised according to taste. Crafted with magic, the thrown explosive becomes a kind of arcane turret. Crafted with poison, the projectile causes damage over time.
The Dark Souls influence is clear to see from the start, as the player dodges the heavy blows of mini-bosses who launch wordlessly into combat. But there’s also some of From’s strange ludic logic at play.
One over-armoured creature keeps his heart in a vase, which he connects with to regenerate. Once the player’s retrieved the organ, however, they’ve deprived the boss of health boosts permanently – even if they’re subsequently killed.
That’s probably the best lesson to learn from Dark Souls: life is just another resource – and death not necessarily a factory reset button.
I’m a fan, too, of Lords’ curiously-warped creatures – who imply backstory without shoving it into codexes. But evidently, there’s no branching narrative or open world to explore here. What do you make of it?
Lords of the Fallen will come to PC on October 31.