You know how fun it is when watching new Dark Souls players repeatedly die over and over again? I imagine those watching my hands-on preview of Bandai Namco’s Lords of the Fallen experienced similar enjoyment.
To be fair, let me first start out by saying I’ve never played a Souls game in length (I got past the first boss in Dark Souls). So I knew that getting dropped into a demo for Lords of the Fallen without any previous setup or explanation wouldn’t bode well for me.
Surprisingly, my first encounter with two enemies went rather well. Of course, this was to be expected — after all, I did clear the first few mobs in Dark Souls 2 on PC (with mouse and keyboard) with relative ease. Again, I’ve never played a Souls game, but after watching fellow GameZone writer Andrew Clouther’s numerous Dark Souls playthroughs, I’m fairly confident in saying combat in Lords of the Fallen is a bit quicker feeling.
So after easily taking out these first two enemies, I was greeted by some sort of shielded beast-of-a-thing that insisted on chasing me back to where I pretty much started. As it turned out, his thirst for my blood would ultimately lead to his demise as he fell to his death thanks to a hidden pit. Two encounters, two easy victories.
And then I died. A lot.
Apparently, I struggle with encounters in narrow hallways — especially when the enemies are capable of blocking my attacks. My entire preview was basically a trial by death. I’d like to point out that each time I died, I’d have to return to my floating spirit to collect my “lost experience.” I don’t know what this did, but it seems pretty important. Eventually I learned that my magic ability — some sort of fireball — was actually pretty effective against this enemy that would seemingly block all of my attacks. So I basically spammed this ability until I reached the boss — a giant monstrous looking thing with giant claw-like weapons.
Now having watched Clouther’s Dark Souls videos, I knew to approach this battle with caution. I think I was too cautious as my first encounter resulted in me doing less than a quarter of damage to the beast and being impaled by its claws.
Attempt two: Pretty much the same outcome.
It wasn’t until about my third or fourth attempt that I began to notice patterns in the beast’s attacks. My fireball ability was, again, effective, but because I had used all of my mana pots on previous monsters I had none left to replenish during the boss fight. I was basically screwed, having to wait for my mana to refill since I’m pretty bad at engaging with my melee weapon.
Long story short, I managed to die nine or ten times in my 30 minute demo of Lords of the Fallen. I didn’t beat the boss, but I did knock him down to a quarter of health on one of my attempts. I blame the gear I was equipped with. Seriously, there was a video demo of the same level being played on the big screen and that guy had way better gear. I recorded it just so you can get an idea for how the game plays when someone good is actually playing.
Despite my deaths and inability to take down the boss, there’s one very important takeaway to take away from my demo. That is, Lords of the Fallen is addicting. It’s challenging, especially for newcomers, and that challenge makes me want to go back and play it again. I want to beat that boss. I’m freaking Gold in League of Legends. I should be able to beat this boss. Again, I didn’t play Dark Souls, but I think this challenging frustration is a good thing, right?