Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Play Log 2014 - Lords of the Fallen Standards

Lords of the Fallen Image Welcome to my third-in-a-row Gamestop rental review. No, this wasn't a keeper, but there's hope I might pick it up sometime next year when it drops in price.

Oddly, my initial reaction to this game was something that bordered on feelings of betrayal! It's hard to not think that game companies are skipping anything but the merest threads of a storyline in favor of being able to jump directly into the action. I figure that they a) don't want to spend money and time on story, b) don't think anyone who plays games now (teens to 20-somethings) will care, and c) believe that an extended introduction will make their games look like slow-starters which might affect their review scores.

While some of those might be true, I should have given some more consideration about where this game had come from, namely a developer I hadn't heard of before, and a publisher, Bandai-Namco, who isn't particularly known for deep, story driven games. Still, I knew more about the character and setting (not much, by the way) from previews on my podcasts than from what was shown in the game. Starting this game feels a bit like turning on the TV and watching a movie after it's been on for 20 minutes.

There were parts of this game that felt either rushed (like tutorials that only covered some features) or the victim of cost cutting measures late in development (I found what looked like a crawl space behind some bookcases, but had no way to crouch to go through). There were controller features that were listed in the manual but not on the settings screen in the game, for example.

Visually the game was, to be expected, stunning - a lot of special lighting and "dust" floating in the air. Combat was similar to something like Demon's Souls/Dark Souls, but a bit more forgiving. However, that didn't keep me from getting killed (a lot!) by the first boss. I did finally take him down, as seen here:

Probably the worst thing about this game, and the main reason I decided not to keep it, was that all of the non-boss enemies you fight respawn whenever you exit an area and come back. I even had a portal open up to a "bonus" zone after killing the first boss that had the same affect! It really saps your feeling that you've accomplished something when all the monsters you've battled pop back into existence when you reenter. In a way, I see it as another developer short-cut - it's much easier to just reinitialize an area than to try to keep track of what monsters died where.

All in all, not a bad game, but not one that's worth the full price of admission. When it hits the $20 mark (new or used), I'll give it a try again. In the meantime, I leave you with a little example of some of the surprises that this game provides:

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