Hell, is it a busy week for Xbox One releases or what? One such title releasing this week is Fall of Light: Darkest Edition, launching in rapid succession alongside the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, following its initial release on PC last year. This Darkest Edition (a definitive edition in all but name) includes all of the content from the original release, as well as some console exclusive content for that added extra appeal. The first title from indie studio RuneHeads, Fall of Light takes inspiration from Dark Souls and ICO, yet promises to deliver a distinct and unique experience.
The question is, however, is does this game shine brightly enough to stand tall in such a crowded week? Yes, yes it does. There’s issues with the game, and we’ll get to that shortly, but for the most part, Fall of Light is a decent action RPG that will keep you entertained for hours on end. Even if you’ve played the original version there’s still some fun to be had here that you wont witness elsewhere, such as the all-new dungeon, complete with new dangers and enemies that are exclusive to this edition. So without further ado, let’s get stuck right in and see what all the fuss is about.
Fall of Light is set within a world consumed by darkness. Players take on the role of Nyx, an old warrior that is taking his daughter, Aether, on a perilous journey to reach the last place on Earth that is still touched by sunlight. Much like Dark Souls, Fall of Light isn’t heavy on serving you a story on your lap. Instead, you’ll need to summarize as you venture deeper into the experience and engage with the game’s NPCs, lore and environments. The kicker here is that both characters are stronger together, which is really the main crux of both the overarching plot and the core loop.
As alluded to already, the plot is something you can soak up and build upon at your own pace. It’s never going to sit alongside its inspirations as far as quality is concerned, but I will commend Fall of Light for being bold enough to tackle such an inclusive and distinct design. Though again, this is really an aspect of the game that will vary from player to player, simply due to the way that it’s laid out. In regards to the gameplay, it does take some getting used to during the initial stages of play. Not so much that it detracts from the adventure at hand, but there is a steep(ish) learning curve.
The actual gameplay is much what you would expect to see from a game of this type. You’ll traverse the dark and dank world within, uncover heaps of secrets, and slay whatever stands between you and your goal. The controls respond wonderfully and remain precise across all fronts, leaving most failures down to player error. I rather enjoyed the world within, as well as the game’s visual design. There’s a lot of variation throughout the entirety of play as far as the environments are concerned, ensuring that the vast and daunting trek rarely becomes repetitive or boring.
Fall of Light sports an almost isometrical-like perspective. This works well with the game’s visuals, which, whilst far from groundbreaking, are well detailed and refined from start to finish. The same can be said about the audio, which upholds the gameplay’s theme nicely with sharp, accurate cues. I was slightly somewhat disappointed with the soundtrack and felt as though something with a bit more kick would have been better suited, or at least something darker and more inline with the adventure, but for the most part, it gets the job done throughout, nevertheless.
In regards to the combat, this also gets thumbs up from me. There’s no shortage of weapon classes to take to, ranging from close-range weapons, crossbows, and shields. This sits decently with the game’s healthy serving of enemy variants. In fact, it’s here in which a level of strategy plays a key role. Each weapon class behaves differently to the next across a range of different factors. Some are slower than others but pack more of a punch, some are quicker but sacrifice a pounding for fluidity, and then there’s some that sit somewhere in the middle. Safe to say, there’s a flavor for every situation.
The enemy AI is on point at all times and will exploit your weaknesses if you let your guard down or find yourselves in a sticky situation. There’s monsters and bosses of all forms and sizes, many of which take some time to suss out before you begin making easy work of them. This, again, feeds back into the weapon class system, along with some common sense. See a foe that moves swiftly? You’re likely going to want a weapon that moves just as quickly. On the flip side, if you’re face to face with a titan-sized beast, you’ll want to pull out something that will hit heavy, and so on and so forth.
Different weaponry also comes with unique damage outputs and modifiers, which can often be the difference between succession and game over if you don’t try your hand at new tools. My only gripe with the game is that the camera can, at times, prove to be a bit tedious. It has a tendency of obscuring your view at all the wrong times and although this didn’t occur on a frequent basis, it was frustrating beyond belief when it did. Still, the bottom line in all of this is that Fall of Light gets far more right than it gets wrong. This is certainly one of the better games releasing this week.
Fall of Light doesn’t quite live up to its inspirational material, but even so, this is well worth your time and attention if you’re a fan of the core “Dark Souls” formula. There’s heaps of weapon, enemy and environmental variation across the board, all of which is tethered to an interesting world that’s full of lore and mystery. Camera annoyances to the side, Fall of Light is one that fans of the genre will thoroughly enjoy.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.