It isn’t often that I decide to delve into a dungeon crawler, partly because there aren’t too many on consoles and I’ve only really just got my own PC, partly because I didn’t think I’d enjoy them as they can often be described as repetitive and boring. But, having received mainly positive reviews, I thought I’d take a little look at RuneHead’s Fall of Light: Darkest Edition.
Unlike some dungeon crawlers where you just explore for the sake of it and see how long you can survive, or if you can reach the other end of the chaotic maze you’ve been thrust into, Fall of Light is story-driven. You play the role of Nyx, a retired warrior who, as you probably guessed, has to navigate dungeons, temples and other places on your journey. A journey where you must take your daughter Aether to the last place on the face of the Earth that still sees light, as the world has been consumed by darkness.
Aether is no ordinary daughter though, her body illuminates the light. And it is this fact that makes it so important that you work together to defeat the enemies born from the darkness. This is because the closer you keep Aether to you, the stronger you are, dealing more damage and having additional perks. The further away however and you’ll become weaker, almost too weak that you die far too often and far too easily. And that’s before you even get to solve puzzles along the way or attempting to avoid the deadly traps that stand between you and your goal.
Part of the reason why the game is made so difficult when Aether is not close by is probably down to the fact that Fall of Light is inspired by games like the Dark Souls series. So it’s trying to capture that difficulty that somehow gets people raged up and addicted at the same time, but trying to put it in a dungeon crawler. And it certainly gets you riled up when you keep dying, but it doesn’t have me hooked. And what’s more annoying, I’ve died more times by falling off paths and walkways than I have killed by enemies.
I must state though, I don’t believe I keep dying by falling off cliffs because I’m terrible at the game. It’s more poor mechanics. And I’m not just making excuses. But the way the game works is you move using the W, A, S and D keys as in most games, but the movement seems so static and rigid, and you’re required to hold them down to move. You can’t just go tap, tap, tap to shuffle forwards. This means holding W too long when you’re trying to cross a narrow footpath that moves in a diagonal direction sees you just going that one step too far off the side of the map. So it certainly captures the rage that Dark Souls games do, but for the wrong reasons.
You will be required to run around lots though, and so death is very likely. But exploration is worth it because you’ll find yourself getting better rewards like weapons and other items. Which will be important as when you’re not falling off cliffs you’ll likely find yourself facing enemies, for which combat mechanics are slightly better once you master the controls. The best bit about fighting though is the customisation, you can have a variety of weapons and combos from wielding a single close-range weapon and shield, dual-wielding weapons or using long-range crossbows.
Combat for me was actually one of the more fun parts of the game, due to being able to mix things up so much, and not just your weapons but your battle stance too. It’s so easy to pick up, but remember to learn to lock on to enemies and toggle between them or you may find yourself swinging your weapon and falling off a cliff again. If you wander too far from Aether though, make sure you return to her, because the game is horrendously difficult without her by your side to help you keep your strength up. She’ll also prove to be the key to unlocking forbidden passages that could also help you out.
Graphically the game isn’t that impressive, with most objects in the environment seeming like just basic polygons with a little texturing to make them look like stone or something else. I mean it almost looks like it’s RuneScape at times. And don’t get me started on the cut scenes, you see a character speaking, but there is just no lip syncing it seems, their mouth just stays open like a gormless addict high on spice. That said, I’ve seen worse games and although it may not be the most aesthetically pleasing game, effects such as shadowing when in darkness and the light created by the presence of Aether are very well done.
Overall, I wouldn’t say Fall of Light is my favourite game ever, but it isn’t the worst dungeon crawler I have played in my time. Don’t get me wrong it can be improved on quite a bit as graphically it leaves the eyes feeling a little sore, but combat mechanics aren’t bad, just a shame about general movement. The story is a nice touch to see though, compared to other titles in this genre, and it will take up a little of your time playing through the entire game due to the difficulties you’ll face during your playthrough thanks to the developers drawing inspiration from Dark Souls. It just didn’t quite cut the mustard for me though, but I had a little fun testing it out.
- Drawing inspiration from the likes of Dark Souls, the game tries to bring an addictive rage to the dungeon crawler genre, but falls flat;
- General movement mechanics could use improvement, but battle mechanics aren’t too bad;
- Graphically the game seems very basic, reminding me somewhat of RuneScape;
- The story is a heartwarming tale of a father trying to save his daughter.
Minimum System Requirements
- OS: Windows 7 / 8 / 8.1 / 10
- Processor: Intel Core i3 or equivalent
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: GeForce GTX560 Ti 1GB VRAM or better
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 1 GB available space
- Sound Card: DirectX® 9.0c compatible
- Additional Notes: Please note that the minimal required hardware will allow you to play the game in 900p/30fps on LOW settings