The DNA from the 2014 original is apparent, there is however something monstrous in the reboot's heart
I've been reading a lot of recent comments from Lords from the Fallen developer HexWorks, specifically creative director Cezar Vortosu, and I'm increasingly convinced that the devs have basically chucked nearly every FromSoftware game right into a blender that belongs to their macabre design.
Elden Ring Items from the original game, which never made a splash if this launched in 2014, have seemingly been stripped away through the reboot's new developer, and what seems like a truly monstrous creation was grafted to the bones with the aid of modern Soulslikes. I'm not complaining; Lords from the Fallen needed a reboot as opposed to a sequel. Soulslikes are iterative naturally, however, they are iterating on items that I and lots of people like, and HexWorks' take is shaping as much as be one of the more interesting games of 2023.
Speaking with DigitalTrends(opens in new tab), Virtosu compared the game's semi-open setting to the instanced layout of Demon's Souls. Lords from the Fallen turn you loose inside a world with five main dungeons, indicated by red beacons that neatly mirror the arch stones within the first true Souls game. You can technically tackle these dungeons in order, though it comes with an "optimal" path. I'm reminded of the time I first booted up Dark Souls simply to misguidedly run directly into the Catacombs, get my ass handed in my experience by over-leveled skeletons, and deduce that 'man, they are not playing around with this particular game.'
Likewise, there is a bit of Demon's Souls within the way Lords from the Fallen handle death. When you die, you respawn within the Umbral realm which mirrors the living realm. I gather that Umbral enemies are nastier compared to already sickening horrors infesting the living realm, therefore it isn't easy to battle your way out or make the right path to an altar that may restore you to definitely life. On top of that, what you can do to heal becomes restricted to a chunk of temporary health that's only great for one hit, based on PC Gamer. (opens in a new tab) But you will want to try your damndest to really make it out, if you die within the Umbral realm, your dropped resources have left for good.
There are shades of Demon's Souls' Soul Form and maybe Sekiro's Resurrection here so that as Virtosu told Eurogamer(opens in new tab), the Umbral realm also includes some sort of madness meter that strikes me as Bloodborne's Insight by means of Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. A watchful eye within the corner of the screen will gradually open should you act "cowardly" while within the Umbral realm – running from enemies and more – presumably ratcheting up threats or outright killing you within the process.
Virtosu even acknowledges that "when we started, the golden standard was Dark Souls 3. The Dark Souls paradigms were Dark Souls 3 and Bloodborne… we'd Nioh and we'd The Surge, we'd examples." Given its contemporaries, he told Eurogamer, HexWorks "had to complete our own thing."
HexWorks' own thing became more like Elden Ring of computer intended (as well as could have known), but it is elevated by ideas and motifs of their own. The terrors from the Umbral realm color exploration, for example. Players are simultaneously asked to avoid the risks of undeath and also to peer into the darkness looking for hidden paths or loot. The Umbral realm is everywhere, in the end, and you will glimpse it anytime using a handy haunted lantern – and it is quite the feat, honestly, to overlay two game worlds about this scale.
Plus things are so dang gross. I love it! All the enemies and bosses we've seen are twisted, squelching, wicked stuff that makes even some Bloodborne enemies look friendly. Lords from the Fallen are actually out here casually cooking up nastier beasts compared to Gaping Dragon. I'm especially fond of the malformed quadruped that was apparently mo-capped by "a Canadian contortionist on all fours," based on DigitalTrends. If you need double-jointed performers to find the references for the animation bones, you realize it's destined to be disgusting.
Lords from the Fallen, which now confusingly shares the precise name of their predecessor, can also be building around the mistakes from the original game. Classes are more open, combat is faster, and also the difficulty is overall higher but offset with tools players may use to mitigate difficulty (there is a bit of elden ring items design philosophy creeping in). Altogether, it appears like a promising revamp for what's technically one of the oldest Soulslikes. Here's hoping we can actually acquire some hands-on time by using it soon.
It's almost poetic that Lords from the Fallen revives the place-your-own bonfires which were cut from Dark Souls 3 – having a twist.