After a hard night of partying, Darksiders and Dark Souls found themselves in a seedy hotel room drunk off lust and appletinis. Nine months later, Lords of the Fallen is the resulting bastard lovechild of the unholy union. If this was your first impression of the upcoming fantasy action game you wouldn’t be far off from the truth of it.

Recently, I got my mitts around GI Games and Deck 13 Interactive’s latest fantasy adventure and can’t shake the feeling that they looked at both of the aforementioned games and said what if we just, like, mixed them, ya know? Initially this isn’t a bad thing, I guess. I really like the Souls series and Darksiders was alright enough. I can say that my short time with Lords of the Fallen has left me wanting to see a bit more.

The basic premise is one of redemption as you take the role of Harkyn, a convicted criminal seeking to absolve his sins, as he ventures to thwart an ancient evil from destroying the world. Standard drill here, folks. I can’t comment too much on the story as gameplay was the focus at the Namco event.

So how does it play? Well, it’s pretty chunky. Does this make sense? Harkyn is a beefy dude who hacks and slashes with heavy swings. Likewise, enemies will bash against your blocks and sword attacks seem to to deal less damage as you drain your stamina. Despite his size, he feels fairly mobile as he can employ a quick dodge roll and can beat feet with a surprisingly fast sprint. Of course this all costs energy, so you’ll need to balance all out attacks with conservative tactics.

Lords of the Fallen

You have a few combat options, though. You can rely on the old sword and board or go in dirty as you double fist your blade. He also has – for lack of a better term – a Mega Man arm cannon for his off-hand and spew out volleys of fire. Although, I didn’t see any other equipment, I’m pretty sure you’ll earn or discover more weapons and magic to dispatch you foes.

The Dark Souls influence really kicks in with the corpse-run mechanic. Yep, Harkyn will die and his experience is lost with his body. But hope isn’t lost as you can regain your body if you can make it to where you died. Fail to do so, and all you experience is forfeit. I couldn’t tell if there were any other negative impact when you die, but it seems that you only lose EXP. Furthermore, enemies are dangerous and overestimating your abilities will lead to your downfall.

Graphically, Lords of the Fallen looks pretty nice. The PS4 version I played showed off a moody, forgotten dungeon heavy with a mysterious atmosphere. Bloody and rusty chains, crumbling walls, and dimly lit hallways invite you death but bring life to the world. Enemies were equally detailed, showing off some grotesque character designs. Although, there were only a few enemy types, I’m hopeful of what horrors will lurk around corners in the full game. Overall, it’s a nice looking game.

However, Harkyn takes up a good deal of the screen which makes the game feel claustrophobic. Enemies are similarly large, coupled with the narrow field of view can get a bit cumbersome when navigating the camera. Perhaps this will be less of a problem in more open areas, but the tight dungeon setting wasn’t helping. Furthermore, the game feels over designed in some ways. Harkyn and friends look as if a gigantic rare earth magnet was tossed through a smithy and whatever stuck was formed into a characters. Still, models are sharp with lots of details and the animations are smooth as the characters glide into attacks.

Unfortunately, I only had a brief time with Lords of the Fallen but what I saw and played is looking promising. So far, it looks like a solid character action game with a few neat ideas. Mostly, it looks and plays great and if that pans out in the final version then expect a fun if well-tread fantasy story come October.

Lords of the Fallen