Dark Fantasy-Themed Action RPG, Lords of the Fallen, Storms PC This Fall

E3, Videos

If Dark Souls is considered one of the most brutally difficult action RPGs around, Lords of the Fallen might be the most visually impressive.

Polish studio CI Games and Germany-based Deck13 Interactive have crafted a game that's nothing short of stunning to behold with its detailed environments set within in grim, dark world.

Even though the game won't avoid comparisons to Dark Souls, we can easily say that Lords of the Fallen is a far different adventure that stands on its own merits.

Its visuals take every next-generation advantage it can get, using NVIDIA’s PhysX and APEX technologies in conjunction with the developer’s in-house Fledge Engine.

As a result, mist continually wafts up from the dungeon floors in new patterns, with candlelight refracting off the haze in real time. Light and shadows constantly shift as you draw monsters into corridors and open space, with sparks from magic scattering like water droplets. Even simple blood and grime curves around objects as they splatter on the walls, just adding to the foreboding atmosphere.

Even the destructible bits of our demonstration of the game wowed us. When a looming demonic knight crashed through a wooden floor in two separate playthroughs, the broken planks splintered in unique shapes each time.

It's a gorgeous-looking game and the development team behind Lords of the Fallen noted that they could raise the bar once they focused solely on building the game for PC and next-generation systems.

The developer also informed us that one main focus was to make LOTF a game that didn't punish newbies, with a faster, more open-ended combat engine.

Playing around with the various items and equipment, all the standards are there: swords, staves, daggers, hammers and even hand-mounted claws.

The difference is that many weapons can be one-handed, two-handed or equipped along with a shield. You won't have to hit the inventory screen in the middle of combat either, since a tap of the button can shift your sword from one hand to two hands. But it's a risk, as each weapon adjustment will affect your attack speed and agility.

For many enemies, the right weapon or the right armor weight will give you a huge advantage.

Some demons and ghouls are slow, others blind, while several are just impossibly tough, requiring you to get creative with your tactics and what you're equipped with.

Even in the demo's tense boss battle with a brute called the Champion, we saw immediate success once we switched to two-handed sword combat, rather than a slow, heavy hammer. On that small change alone, our hero went from ineffectually getting slaughtered to landing three-hit combos with ease. That showed that Lords of the Fallen makes for an impressively tactical game, despite the friendlier learning curve.

Lords of the Fallen will be unleashed on PC in Fall 2014.