A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Lords of the Fallen is a challenging fantasy role-playing game. It doesn't have any sex or profanity, but its violence -- which pits a powerful human warrior against demons in gruesome sword-based combat -- is frequent and intense and the whole focus of the game. The hero isn't a knight in shining armor but instead a confessed criminal with a gruff demeanor who may (or may not) be able to redeem himself by fighting mankind's enemies.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
LORDS OF THE FALLEN stars Harkyn, a convicted criminal languishing in prison. When an army of demons commanded by an ancient god attacks mankind, Harkyn's mentor breaks him out of his cell. What follows is a methodical but intense tread through human keeps and demonic realms as Harkyn uses magic and melee weapons, shields, and dodges to fight the invading creatures. Found weapons and armor augment his abilities, and each kill earns experience points that can be applied to upgrade his attributes and magical skills. Should Harkyn die, he will lose all the experience collected since the last save, as well as an experience multiplier that grows with each kill. The multiplier also disappears each time you save. It's a game of risk: Choose to keep playing without saving, and your rewards increase exponentially, but if you die, you could lose virtually all your progress -- unless you can make your way back to the spot of your death and collect your experience cache before it disappears.
Is it any good?
Software's Dark Souls and Dark Souls II clearly served as inspiration for Lords of the Fallen. As punishing as its muse, the game forces players to carefully consider each battle -- or risk losing huge chunks of progress. Even with care and planning, there's a pretty good chance you'll lose some fights. Combat requires reflexes, skill, and tactics; you need to know when and how to strike and when to block or dodge, all while keeping an eye on your life gauge and your energy bar (when your energy is depleted, your hero can't do much for a while). It's exciting and intense. You may even find yourself sweating when you realize you haven't saved for 30 or 40 minutes and you're about to face down a towering demon of unknown strength.
But it's not for everyone. Losing progress can be frustrating, especially for time-strapped players. The dark and moody fantasy world looks terrific, but the story is predictable, the writing sometimes stilted, and occasional bugs -- such as one we encountered that disables all voice audio -- detract from the experience. Still, older fantasy fans looking for a serious challenge will probably have a good time.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media in games like Lords of the Fallen. What rules do you set for your family about violent games? Is the amount of blood and gore the most important factor, or do subject, setting, and character motivation factor in?
Discuss role-playing games. What does it mean to play a role? Is it about inhabiting a character's thoughts and feelings, or is it about controlling how he or she develops and speaks?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Not available online
- Developer: Namco Bandai
- Release date: October 28, 2014
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.