We just can't get enough punishing fantasy horror action RPGs. After Elden Ring last year and Lies of P in September, and despite some early performance complaints and proximity to RPG juggernauts Baldur's Gate 3 and Starfied, Lords of the Fallen has already sold more than a million copies, according to its publisher.
Lies of P also sold a million, though it took it a little longer. We once called that game "literally Bloodborne" (except starring Pinocchio), and Lords of the Fallen studio Hexworks is likewise all in on the FromSoft inspiration, and isn't shy about it. Studio head Saul Gascon said earlier this year that the developer wants to be "the second reference [after FromSoftware]" in the soulslike genre.
Whether Lords of the Fallen is really the best of the non-From soulslikes is up for debate, but it is quite good: Harvey praised its boss fights in his review, and later said that his second playthrough was even more fun than his first.
Granted, things only got more fun the second time through because of Harvey's biggest complaint with Lords of the Fallen: Its affinity for surprise ambushes and tedious mob tactics. His second playthrough was better because he knew where to expect the cheesy stuff. "If only Hexworks had pumped the brakes even a little on the axe maniacs crashing out from behind boxes," Lords of the Fallen would've been more fun on playthrough one, Harvey reckons.
So gird yourself for surprise attacks and difficulty spikes, but once properly girded, expect some excellent boss fights and a delightfully macabre world full of proper nouns to do with evil gods and the folk who oppose them.
Two worlds, actually: The novel headline feature of Lords of the Fallen is a lantern which lets you peer or step into the land of the dead, a blue-filtered reality that manages to be even more grotesque than the dark fantasy world it underlies. It may not have resulted in the most sophisticated puzzle design ever, but it's neat.
Lords of the Fallen's still got a "mixed" user review rating on Steam, though there are now more positive than negative reviews rolling in. Thanks to a quick flurry of post-launch patches, I'm seeing less performance-related complaints in the recent negative reviews. They're now more likely to cite the ambushes Harvey commented on in his review, or express disappointment with the co-op support.
On the topic of co-op, publisher CI Games says that an "expansive patch" for Lords of the Fallen is scheduled to deploy this Thursday, and that it will reactivate PC/console crossplay, which Hexworks disabled shortly after launch while it worked on improvements.
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Tyler grew up in Silicon Valley during the '80s and '90s, playing games like Zork and Arkanoid on early PCs. He was later captivated by Myst, SimCity, Civilization, Command & Conquer, all the shooters they call "boomer shooters" now, and PS1 classic Bushido Blade (that's right: he had Bleem!). Tyler joined PC Gamer in 2011, and today he's focused on the site's news coverage. His hobbies include amateur boxing and adding to his 1,200-plus hours in Rocket League.