In 2023, a new action RPG, Lords of the Fallen, joined the expanding ranks of games inspired by the Dark Souls series. But wait a minute, that name sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

If you feel like you’ve already heard about Lords of the Fallen before and you’re a bit confused as to why it was becoming more popular all of a sudden in 2023, it’s because we already had a game called the exact same back in 2014.

So, don’t worry, you’re not going insane, Lords of the Fallen simply received a similar treatment a lot of older games get these days, including Doom and Tomb Raider; it was released in 2023 as a brand-new game, sharing the title with the 2014 original while providing a vastly different experience.

How does the new game compare to its predecessor from a decade ago? Let’s take a look at some of the similarities and differences.

CategoryLords of the Fallen (2014)The Lords of the Fallen (2023)
Developer Deck13 Interactive / CI Games Hexworks / CI Games
Visuals and Graphics Unique art direction, still looks good; less advanced technologically. Uses Unreal Engine 5; more advanced visuals, but may experience performance issues like stuttering and FPS drops.
Gameplay Mechanics Arcade feeling, less emphasis on strategy; fast-paced action with combo-based combat. Dual-realm system adds complexity; more tactical and strategic gameplay with multiplayer features.
Storyline and Narrative Straightforward storyline; lacks deep lore exploration. Set a millennium later with more narrative depth and impactful player choices that affect the ending.
Character Development Three distinct classes, each with a defined playstyle. Nine initial classes with additional ones unlockable; greater flexibility in character progression.
Sound and Musical Score Good music that enhances atmosphere but sound effects need improvement. More polished and professional soundtracks; sound design still needs improvement.
Game World and Exploration Solid level design with traditional exploration. Enhanced by a dual-realm system that significantly affects exploration and interaction within the game world.
Community Reception Considered a solid entry to the Soulslike genre, more accessible for newcomers. Praised for innovative gameplay and multiplayer; some criticism for being too easy and having performance issues.

Historical Backdrop: “Lords of the Fallen” (2014)

Lords of the Fallen 2014 is an action role-playing game from the Soulslike family focused on exploring a dark and unwelcoming world while slashing through numerous beasts and twisted creatures, including powerful bosses that are meant to serve as the ultimate challenge for your skills.

Official Launch Trailer, Video credit: Bandai Namco Entertainment America

Lords of the Fallen was released a few years after the first Dark Souls game and it was heavily inspired by it, just like some other games that tried to follow the Dark Souls path. However, LotF is different enough and has all the rights to be considered something more than just a bland DS clone.

As such, it met with a fairly positive response from both critics and players alike; it was far from being a masterpiece but was surely a solid action RPG and a worthy Soulslike title made with more casual players in mind.

Setting the Stage: “The Lords of the Fallen” (2023)

Lords of the Fallen 2023 came as a surprise to a lot of people. Initially, it was planned to be a sequel to the original game, but in the end, we’ve got something that’s a bit of a sequel, a remake, and a reboot, all in one.

Official Launch Trailer, Video credit: Xbox

It takes place in the same universe, a thousand years after the events from the original, but the name suggests that it’s meant to be treated as a separate IP and a replacement for LotF from 2014. It comes with its own story, world, character progression, and gameplay mechanics, which make it a unique experience when compared to the original.

Unique to the point that liking or disliking one of the two doesn’t automatically mean you’ll feel the same about the other one, so we’d encourage you to try them both.

Visuals and Graphics

Both games look fairly good, but LotF 2023 gets the advantage of being a more recent game with access to more advanced technologies and tools, most notably Unreal Engine 5, of which it makes good use.

With that being said, you may experience some stuttering and FPS drops even on the more powerful systems, which would indicate optimization issues that can sometimes lead to frustrating situations, such as failing to dodge an attack. This is especially problematic whenever you decide to engage with multiplayer features.

The 2014 version still holds surprisingly well, though, and seems to have a more unique art direction, while the 2023 one gets dangerously close to Dark Souls aesthetics, sacrificing its own identity as a result.

Gameplay Mechanics

LotF games are more approachable for casual players when compared to the Dark Souls series. LotF from 2014 has a more arcade feeling and puts less emphasis on strategy, favoring fast-paced action with combo-based combat instead.

Enemies killed in a specific way will drop different items, encouraging players to try different strategies. The game is also more forgiving, generally speaking.

The 2023 version of LotF features numerous changes when it comes to gameplay, but the most important one is the world itself, now consisting of two overlapping realms you can jump between, Axiom and Umbral, representing the realms of the living and the dead, respectively.

Other important changes include the addition of multiplayer features and more varied and dynamic combat that occasionally requires more patience and a tactical approach.

Storyline and Narrative Depth

Lords of the Fallen tried to copy the approach known from Dark Souls, where a lot of lore is hidden behind item descriptions, forcing players to dig deep and connect the dots if they want to learn more about the world they’re in.

The hole you’d need to dig wasn’t nearly as deep as it was in Dark Souls games, though, and the story itself wasn’t the strongest point of the 2014 version either.

The 2023 version is set roughly a millennium after the events from the first game and seems to be a better choice if you’re after the story and want to meet memorable characters.

However, it’s still mainly a game about killing monsters and the storyline is just there to give you a basic understanding of what’s going on. With that being said, there are impactful player choices that can alter the ending, which is a nice addition.

Character Development and Progression

Both games represent the action RPG genre, and, as such, you will find character progression systems in both of them. However, the progression in LotF 2023 was changed and is more similar to Dark Souls.

In the original game, there were three classes to choose from and you were more or less forced into the chosen playstyle. In the 2023 version, you get 9 starting classes and a few extra ones that can be unlocked later in the game.

With that being said, it’s mostly the early game that’s affected by the choice; as your character gains more levels and equipment pieces, the differences between classes will start to blur.

It would be difficult to pick the better game here, as it’s mostly a matter of preference. LotF 2014 gives a more unique, but limited experience gated behind each playable class, while LotF 2023 gives more freedom but leads to a situation where the class choice doesn’t feel as important.

Sound and Musical Score

Sound engineering in both games leaves a bit to be desired and could use a serious overhaul to make hitting enemies with spells or weapons feel more impactful.

Musical score, on the other hand, adds a lot of value to both games and helps to build the right atmosphere, whether you’re exploring or fighting a powerful enemy. Grandiose, epic orchestral pieces elevate the combat experience and build tension to keep you engaged.

You can clearly hear the love and passion that was poured into the composing part and that goes for both games, although the 2023 version does, indeed, sound more polished and professional; pieces from the 2014 version sound a bit more generic and don’t stand out that much when compared to the sequel.

Game World and Exploration

Exploration in both games plays an important role, aside from regular combat and fighting bosses. Although both games have a solid level design, you have to give credit where credit is due; LotF 2023 offers a much better experience in that regard.

Not only the locations are well-thought and eye-catching, but there are actually two overlapping worlds instead of one. Here you will be constantly switching between realms of the living and the dead, Axiom and Umbra.

Whenever you find yourself stuck in Axiom, there may be an opened passage in Umbra, allowing you to progress further and reach seemingly unreachable places in the other realm.

A cool addition that involves the second realm is that whenever you die, you respawn in Umbra, where you get a chance to get your loot back.

Community Reception and Reviews

Even though LotF 2014 had some issues, despite its shortcomings it was still considered a solid option for those who loved the Dark Souls series but wanted something with a more arcade feel.

Critics pointed out it may be a great entry to a Soulslike genre, as it’s considerably easier and doesn’t punish you as much as other games from this family.

The 2023 version was praised for a satisfying multiplayer experience and the creative use of the idea of two overlapping worlds as the core game mechanic. The music was also considered a strong point of the game, and combat met with positive feedback as well, although some people consider the difficulty to be way too low for a Soulslike game.

The main issue with this version of LotF is that the sound design was rather disappointing, and the performance could be underwhelming at certain times.

According to reputable sources and player choices, both games score similarly, usually sitting at 7 or 7.5 out of 10.


Both games offer a similar level of entertainment but for different reasons. Depending on what you’re looking for in a Soulslike game, you may find one or the other more enjoyable. It’s highly possible that if you end up not liking one of the games, you may still like the other one, so it would be advisable to give them both a try.