I got my hands on Lords of the Fallen earlier this month—and what I experienced was pretty promising. Weird multiverse shenanigans with a lantern that let you explore the environment, shaking up a classic souls formula by letting you peek into another world whenever you wanted.
It also gave me a taste of Hexworks' aesthetic for the reboot, shaking off the cocoon of the first game's drab high fantasy and just completely cutting loose. I walked over giant spine bridges, fought arm-spiked brutes with big metal helmets, and got suplexed by a mothman. I had a great time. At times, it felt like I'd stepped into a heavy metal album cover come to life.
That vibe of unleashed high-fantasy nonsense carries on with the story trailer Hexworks dropped during Gamescom 2023, which features plenty of weird creatures I didn't get to see in the preview. It's a story trailer, sure, but I'm far more excited by the aesthetic sensibilities on display here, which you can see below.
Addressing the FromSoftware elephant in the room here—yes, it has all the markings of a soulsy world. It's easy to see a ruined castle or a knight with a sword and cry copycat. But if we all keep collectively cringing the moment a game looks 'like' something, we'll never get interesting remixes of those old flames—I'm glad Hexworks knows what it's about.
It's just all so delightfully unhinged. Within the first minute or so we're greeted by a green-goblin looking freak with a joker-wide smile. There's an angelic knight drenched in blood, a giant satanic-looking temple, a skinless corpse curled in a bed of thorns, a three-headed fire breathing wyvern, and whatever the hell this thing is.
It's taken those grim, severe aesthetics we're all familiar with—hardened knights stalking through hallowed halls—and given them a fat injection of heavy metal album cover juice. I'm seeing a continued effort here to shake the IP out of its joyless discount-souls predecessor and into something entirely new. I'm all about it, and I've got my fingers crossed that the full game will be just as promising as the one I've seen—and played—so far.