Lords of the Fallen gets an early Steam reviews thrashing over performance, but don't write it off yet

Lords of the Fallen photo mode
(Image credit: CI Games)

No one who's suffering from technical problems in a game is fond of the guy who chimes in to say, "Well, it's running fine for me," but I have no choice but to be that guy here, because Lords of the Fallen is running fine for me. Sorry, I'm sorry!

It is not running fine for everyone: The just-released action RPG isn't faring so well in the early Steam reviews, where it currently has a Mixed rating, largely due to players complaining about low frame rates, stuttering, and crashes, with some saying they can't even get to the main menu.

Our Lords of the Fallen reviewer Harvey did encounter a small number of crashes himself, but that was over the course of 30 hours. Another of us crashed more frequently, while I and one other writer at PC Gamer haven't seen any crashes, although we've only just started the game.

After first launching Lords of the Fallen, I did experience single-digit frame rates in menus and right after loading into the starting mire, but I recognized this as the first-launch stuttering that often occurs when when a game has turned all your PC's might to the task of precompiling its shaders. Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which goes through a long shader recompilation process every time you update your drivers, wisely sticks a message at the top of the screen while it does this so that players know why it's running at 5 fps, and that the situation is temporary.

It's of course possible that something else is causing long-term frame rate problems for players, but if my shader compilation diagnosis is at all correct, Lords of the Fallen could possibly take a cue from CoD and somehow indicate to players that they're only in stutter hell temporarily. 

After that early stuttering cleared up, which didn't take long, I got Lords of the Fallen running at a respectable 60-80 fps on medium settings at 1440p on my RTX 2070 Super. That's with DLSS on Balanced, and it looks pretty good, as far as my expectations for a four-year-old GPU go. 

I took this in Lords of the Fallen's photo mode on the medium graphics preset. (Image credit: CI Games)

Others of us at PC Gamer have also been happy with the performance (including with similar settings on a 3080 Ti at 4K), so you may consider trying Lords of the Fallen yourself to see how you fare, given that Steam's refund policy allows you to send it back if you can't get it running well.

In responses to some negative Steam reviews, publisher CI Games has recommended updating to the latest graphics drivers—always a good idea, of course—and if that doesn't help, deleting your PSOs, which are related to shader compilation:

  • Go to: "X:\Users\MYUSER\AppData\Local\LOTF2\Saved\"
  • Delete the *.UPIPELINECACHE file
  • Right click on the game. Select "Properties" > "Installed Files" > Click on "Verify Integrity of Cache"

I tried this and nothing noticeable happened, but I wasn't having issues in the first place, so who knows? It's worth a shot if you're having troubles, and we'll keep our eyes open for more info from the publisher on what to expect from Lords of the Fallen's first patches, and if it's identified any specific bugs related to performance.

Tyler Wilde
Executive Editor

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.