Lords of the Fallen finally has a gameplay trailer, and I'll be damned, it actually looks like a way bloodier Dark Souls
There's no shortage of vaguely Soulslike action games, but it feels like it's been a while since we've had a loud-and-proud Dark Souls challenger like Lords of the Fallen. The rebooted action RPG wants to be Dark Souls 4 in all but name, with more than a shot of Bloodborne's grotesqueries in its blood, and I'll be damned, it just about looks the part. Hexworks finally dropped a gameplay trailer for this thing, and while the hands-on feel will ultimately make or break the experience, Lords of the Fallen is at least looking like the gruesome RPG I want it to be.
Lords of the Fallen's Gothic, blood-caked art style is well-established at this point, though I am still continually delighted by the many horrible creatures it's conjured up. I'm a big fan of the giant, shrieking skull monster that comes up in the new trailer a few times. I, too, sometimes want to tear myself apart and scream, often while playing Souls games. There's also a giant lady trying to kill us, ensuring feature parity with Elden Ring and modern horror games like Resident Evil Village.
The thing that really strikes me about this trailer is how extremely video game-y it looks, particularly in the boss designs. This is always a hard feeling to nail down; in this case, it seems to me like a lot of enemies started with a thought like, "hey, you know what'd be cool as hell?" There's a straight line from that kind of thinking to a one-legged monster king covered in swords who hobbles after you brandishing a big rock. A three-headed skull dog! A big pile of teeth that makes the Gaping Dragon look approachable! A cursed paladin with a thorny greatsword! It's classic grimdark imagery spliced with religious dogma and embellished with spikes and viscera and whatever gross nonsense Hexworks had at hand. It's horrible; I'm into it.
There's also something to the speed of combat that reminds me of Soulslikes such as Code Vein, which are a bit slower and clunkier than today's FromSoftware games, but immensely enjoyable in their own right. And to be fair, this does look much better than Code Vein ever did, and more importantly, it looks head-and-shoulders above the original Lords of the fallen. It really does seem like a trip back to the Dark Souls era, which still has a distinct pacing to its combat compared to Elden Ring and Bloodborne.
Again, this is just me extrapolating on the way enemies and the player appear to move in this trailer, but I've played some Soulslikes in my day, and I'm getting a familiar, almost arcade-y vibe from this one. There's a difference in heft and momentum that, again, is difficult to quantify without actually trying it myself. Attack animations just seem to have this explosive, all-in quality to them. In my experience, that can make hitting enemies extremely satisfying, but it can also make getting hit frustrating if the timing or hit boxes are off. That's something a trailer can't really communicate, but for what it is, this gameplay showcase has gotten me more interested in Lords of the Fallen. I'd say it looks as good in motion as it did in carefully staged cinematic reels, which is about as promising as trailers get.
Lords of the Fallen promises a "lengthy onboarding experience" to help with the "frustration" of Soulslikes.