There’s no denying the influence that From Software has had on the RPG genre. Countless games are now adopting their formula of hardcore difficulty and skill-based combat. Fall of Light: Darkest Edition on the PS4 takes inspiration from this formula and places it into an isometric dungeon crawler.
With clear inspiration from ICO as well, does this RPG do enough to stand out on its own, or will this game be obscured by the shadow of those it seeks to emulate? Let’s find out.
A Familiar Journey With Several Missteps
Fall of Light: Darkest Edition has an intriguing premise. You play as the father of a young girl who seeks to take her to the last place in the world where light still exists. The rest of the land is shrouded in darkness and filled with terrors that seek to end your quest.
Besides a strong opening, Fall of Light fails to really capitalize on this premise. Story is provided via optional items you can find, but if you’re not on the lookout for them, the game’s world and esoteric meaning will be lost on you.
Cryptic stories are par for the course with this subgenre, but Fall of Light keeps things a little too vague for my taste. It doesn’t need to spoon-feed the story to me, but I would have appreciated more insight into the world and the characters as they seem like they’re ripe for an interesting story.
From a gameplay standpoint, the similarities between Fall of Light: Darkest Edition and the Souls series are impossible to ignore. From the glowing messages scrawled on the ground, to the shrines that refill your health potions and serve as checkpoints, it’s a very similar experience.
This would be fine if the gameplay matched the quality of its inspiration, but it comes up lacking in a few ways. Perhaps the most egregious issue I had was the input lag on the controls. The game has since been patched a few times, but the controls never felt responsive enough.
There’s also a lack of weapon variety, which ultimately makes the combat frustrating and repetitive. Despite my issues with the combat, I actually didn’t mind the escort aspect of the game. There was an opportunity here to create an emotional attachment with the daughter, but beyond holding her hand to guide her and increase your strength, there’s not much done to make her important to you.
If she does fall in battle, you’ll need to revive her at one of the shrines, but otherwise the only true punishment is when you die and you’re sent back to the last shrine. Just like the Souls games, enemies respawn anytime you use a shrine, which makes backtracking a chore unless you’re okay with fighting the same enemies repeatedly.
When I consider the small development team here, Fall of Light: Darkest Edition is a impressive feat that feels pretty polished. Unfortunately, the concept feels half-baked and the controls artificially enhance the difficulty to the point where it’s just not enjoyable, even for those who enjoy a challenge.
A Simple and Mysterious World
The style in Fall of Light: Darkest Edition is a simple and clean look that still provides a sense of wonder and mystery. The contrast of light and dark is also well done, but without any strong narrative to bring life to the world, the environments fail to really do anything beyond being set dressing.
Fall of Light: Darkest Edition is proof that the souls formula could work in an isometric dungeon crawler, but this first attempt doesn’t do enough to differentiate itself. It also falters on some basic things like the controls, which makes it difficult to recommend for anyone but the most faithful of hardcore RPG players.
Final Score: 6.0/10
A copy of Fall of Light: Darkest Edition was provided to PS4 Experts for review purposes
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 11/13/18