RPG fanatics can be very particular about what they play, and the general complaint these days seems to be directed at a slow decline in strategic role-playing games. Enter Lords of the Fallen, a PC/next-gen RPG from Deck 13 and City Interactive, that promises to fill that void in your sad, sad hearts.
Lords of the Fallen is still far from release. Like so many potential next-gen hits, this hardcore RPG won't see the light of day until 2014, but until then, I dare to be excited. See, the game's greatest selling point lies in its tactical gameplay, where every enemy will require a strategic approach and button-mashing will just get you knocked on your ass.
The lore of Lords revolves around a fallen god who was defeated over 8,000 years ago in a war with humanity. Since then, the only apparent remnant of him is a peculiar series of rock formations said to be his fingers, petrified as he was reaching upward from the earth. Fast-forward several millenia, and we meet Harkyn, the hero and player character. In present time (still a medieval fantasy setting, not our present), Harkyn is sent to investigate some mysterious goings-on at a remote monastery. From there, he must fight his way to uncover a yet-unknown truth.
Be Smart, or Be Dead
We really don't know a whole lot about the story right now, but the devs did go into great detail explaining the actual gameplay. A lengthy demo led by executive producer Tomasz Gop from CI and creative director Jan Klose from Deck 13 gave us a pretty good idea of how Lords will eventually work.
First, you need to keep in mind that there are no class restrictions in Lords. As the game starts out, you do get to choose whether Harkyn is a Cleric, Rogue, or Warrior, but that really only determines which weapon set and armor type you start out with. Furthermore, you can switch classes later in the game whenever you find a corresponding armor set or weapons. In terms of a leveling system, points can be put into any of the three unique trees; you're never locked into a specific class.
And as you might expect with any game that lets you do this much free experimentation, the combat is meant to be pretty tough. During the demonstration, we never saw large mobs; rather, enemies were encountered in small numbers. Still, you won't have room to blindly hack and slash. The enemies are fairly intelligent, knowing when to block and when to strike pretty consistently. The devs actually likened this style to dueling.
In a boss encounter we saw demoed, Harkyn faced down against a Rhogan Lord armed with a massive sword and shield. Any direct attacks were blocked, sending him flying backwards. What then? You hang back and study the enemy, that's what. From there, we learn the Lord's patterns, and the delays around each attack. Ultimately, Harkyn was able to chip away until the Lord's armor and shield were broken.
Lords of the Fallen does have other RPG staples too, like collectibles that may unlock secrets in the game for additional bonuses. Either way, we won't get to touch this PC/next-gen game for a while.
What I have seen, however, looks incredibly promising, and while RPGs seem to be such a minority these days in the industry, I'm seriously looking forward to this one.
Follow Lydia on Twitter @RabidChinaGirl or check out her news, reviews and features every day here on Neoseeker.