Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Be gentle

Lords of the Fallen is not a game that I would normally play. It falls within the Dark Souls spectrum of difficulty and punishment and I played Demons' Souls for about an hour before throwing in the towel. Lord of the Fallen is different in the one way and it has managed to snag my attention: it's easier.

Easier is not a dirty word. The prevalence of uber-difficult, unforgiving games that supposedly appeal to the 'hard core' have almost made me feel guilty for enjoying simple games like the Lego titles or for playing racing titles on the lowest realism setting. Difficulty has become a bullet point on the back of the box right along side resolution had frame rate. It doesn't have to be and Lords of the Fallen proves it. Punishing does not need to equal maddening.

For example, dying in Lords of the Fallen does two things: resets your experience multiplier and robs you of earned experience points. Experience points can be recovered as long as the player gets back to the spot of their demise in a timely matter. Sound familiar? The difference is that getting back to where you died usually isn't a problem. On top of that the save points are not rare, allow the player to bank experience, fill their health and top off their potion supply. They make the game playable without making the combat any easier. The extra challenge is there for the taking if the player wants it: the more you kill without saving the higher the experience multiplier and the more you have to lose. As for me, I save every damn chance I get.

This has the same effect as lowering the execution barrier in a fighting game. It allows people who would normally be turned off to at least play long enough to see if they are interested in getting better. Street Fighter 4 has all sorts of input leniency over Street Fighter 2 and 3. This will get a player started but to get really good the obnoxious difficulty of one frame links is still there. Lords of the Fallen holds my interest by letting me play the game, something Demons' Souls did not. I am sure that Dark Souls is an excellent game but I was honestly scared to try it. Lords of the Fallen still kills me, it still wastes my time, but recovering from said death is quite possible.

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