Duelling Worlds Set Lords of the Fallen Apart from Other Souls-Likes

FromSoftware is almost certainly waiting until next year now to release Elden Ring DLC Shadow of the Erdtree, so in the meantime, how about a more traditional take on the Dark Souls formula? Developer Hexworks is resurrecting the Lords of the Fallen IP following its forgotten 2014 instalment with a bigger and hopefully better game that’s boasting of ideas you won’t see anywhere else in the genre. We recently had the chance to play the PS5 title’s opening three hours, and it is the duelling worlds of Axiom and Umbral that will separate it from any other Souls games not made by the famous Japanese studio.

Without the presence of two linked — but quite different — worlds, Lords of the Fallen would be just like any other Souls-like. Having created your character and selected one of the nine different classes, you’re thrust into a dark, damp, and depressing world full of enemies looking to deplete your health bar. Bonfires are called Vestiges, the currency used to level up is Vigor, and a hub area awaits with NPCs telling you vague tales of the universe. There’s even a class that looks like it’s been ripped straight out of Bloodborne — aesthetically, at least. Lords of the Fallen is unapologetically a Souls-like; it’s not afraid to wear that badge on its sleeve.

There have been a lot of copycats over the past 10 years, though — the original PS4, PS3 game was actually one of the very first — so Hexworks has brought some of its own ideas to the table. The most impactful is its structural decision to have two concurrent worlds running alongside one another at the same time. Axiom is the world of the living while Umbral is the world of the dead. Your character is equipped with an Umbral lamp, and with Axiom acting as the default play space, you can use it to peer into Umbral and get an idea of what’s happening on the other side.

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