Two players fighting a magical boss in Lords of The Fallen 2023
Image Source: HEXWORKS via Steam

5 Ways Lords of The Fallen is Different in 2023

9 years and an engine upgrade can do a lot for a game.

It’s been quite some time since publisher CI Games put out anything related to their 2014 release of The Lords of The Fallen. So imagine everyone’s shock when they learned that Lords of The Fallen was coming back. Set 1,000 years into the future from the previous title, this new revival looks to sport quite a few changes from the first installment, so come along as we explore five ways Lords of The Fallen is different in 2023.

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A Brand-New Beautiful Engine

A fight between the player and monsters in the Axium world in Lords of The Fallen
Image Source: HEXWORKS via Steam

Previously, CI Games had their own proprietary engine powering The Lords of The Fallen. Seeing as how that engine hasn’t aged well, CI Games and developer HEXWORKS chose to develop their latest game using Unreal Engine 5.

Because Lords of The Fallen is using Unreal, that also means Nvidia’s next-generation tech have been baked into this ambitious Soulslike. Specifically, the Nvidia technologies Nanite and Lumen global illumination have been used to add depth to Lords of The Fallen’s worlds.

In a recent Technical Showcase from CI Games, both of those technologies were shown in all of their glory. You can even see what I mean in the screenshots above and below. Incredibly dense geometry fills the screen with rich, believable gothic architecture, while the endlessly detailed textures give each scene its grounded structure.

Then, the Lumen lighting realistically allows light to bounce from the light source to said architecture, and back to your gear. When all of this is combined, these visual technologies can offer truly surreal levels of immersion, and Lords of The Fallen looks like it will be able to accomplish that handily.

Two Worlds Are Better Than One

The Umbral World in Lords of The Fallen
Image Source: HEXWORKS via Steam

Thanks to the previously mentioned Unreal Engine 5 upgrade, HEXWORKS has layered a whole second dimension on top of the first this time around.

Said first layer, Axium, is the gothic fantasy world players will spend the majority of their time exploring. However, the second layer known as Umbral can be seen using a special Umbral Lamp. This allows players to interact with that second Umbral layer on a tangible level. For example, solid brick walls in Axium might be destroyed or missing in Umbral, letting players pass right through.

Additionally, monsters and objects that the Umbral lantern illuminates can be slain or interacted with. And at five times the size of the original game, that’s a lot of places to explore with two versions of the same map.

Death is Not an Instant Game Over

A disturbing boss with many teeth in Lords of The Fallen 2023
Image Source: HEXWORKS via Steam

Setting itself apart from the Souls-like competition, dying in Lords of The Fallen doesn’t kill you outright, but rather forces your character into the Umbral completely.

From there, players have to fight their way out of the Umbral all while being assailed by an unending horde of deadly specters. These enemies have long blades for arms, and sneak into and out of the ground to ambush players—yikes!

The Umbral is also an even more deadly dimension compared to Axium for a variety of reasons. The specters aside, a miasma called Wither permeates every area of the Umbral, lowering your overall health. This is made worse by the fact that healing while in Umbral is also reduced.

It’s arguably more difficult than just respawning and reclaiming your lost experience, but also mixes up a mechanic that has admittedly grown a bit stale. I know my first build will likely include a shield and heavy armor so that this feature doesn’t utterly wreck me.

A Unique Way to Gain More Spells

Player with a large sword fighting a huge boss monster in Lords of The Fallen 2023
Image Source: HEXWORKS via Steam

The pervading theme behind Lords of The Fallen’s sequel is definitely innovation, and that can be felt in its magic systems.

HEXWORKS has made it possible to use not only your own spells, but the spells that enemies cast. How it works is you have a chance for an enemy to drop its spell or spells when you slay it. This also applies to Bosses, who can have their souls turned into a new spell or even shiny new weapon.

In total, there are three schools of magic: Rhogar, which embodies fire; Radiant, where holy and lightning magic thrive; and Umbral, the spells of the demented being who rules Axium’s parallel world Umbral. Secondary styles of magic exist too, like poison and ice, but are mainly used as minor spells to buff weapons.

Slaying is Always Better with Friends

Two players fighting a boss in Lords of The Fallen 2023
Image Source: HEXWORKS via Steam

Where The Lords of The Fallen from 2014 was completely single player, the 2023 remake is the complete opposite!

In a move of sheer brilliance, HEXWORKS will let two players play the entire game together in coop. No longer will your friend be forced to leave the game just because you beat the area boss. I’m glad to see them do away with such a strange design tradition that only complicates online multiplayer. Invasions into such coop games are also a thing, but there are limits. Specifically, you can only coop with one friend and, thankfully, only one person can invade your game at a time.

However, there is one aspect of coop I hope the devs reconsider. Only the host gains quest progress, meaning whichever friend you bring along won’t be technically progress through the story on their end. Thankfully, your coop buddy can still earn items and exp for their trouble.

Finally, Lords of The Fallen’s factions will also play into multiplayer, coop, and invasions, and each faction will reinforce different playstyles. One faction may focus around being a good coop buddy, while another faction may reward players for successfully invading other players’ games. As you climb each faction’s ranks, you may get access to new weapons, spells, and items that fit the theme of the faction.

Lords of The Fallen in 2023 looks to be one of the few Soulslike games that is fully embracing the online gameplay innovations that FromSoftware pioneered years ago, and could carve out a new niche for itself as a result.


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Author
Ali Taha
Whether its new releases, or a new Destiny 2 season, Ali will flex his gaming and freelancer skills to cover them extensively. He started off writing features for Game Rant but found a better home here on Twinfinite. While Ali waits for the next Monster Hunter title, he enjoys publishing his progression fantasy novels as an indie author.