There are two constants in most Soulslike games. You will either parry, or you will dodge. Lords of the Fallen, however, changes this meta by reducing the effectiveness of the parry. This, actually, is a welcome change. For all of those like me out there, who thought perhaps they could parry their way out of every boss fight and engagement, let me tell you — this is not the case. Parrying is no longer the meta in Lords of the Fallen.
The two staples of any Soulslike game: parrying and dodging
If you’re a seasoned Soulslike player, you’ll know that, for the most part, dodging and parrying dominate the combat meta. An enemy or a horde of enemies coming your way? Just dodge and roll all around the place like a fish out of water. They’ll never get past those iframes! In a gruesome battle with a boss? Just keep parrying it and deliver a mental amount of damage.
If you master the parry and have a high enough stamina pool to sustain rolling everywhere, you’ve pretty much won most engagements. Not only has this been memed lots in the communities, but people have often criticized the combat in these games for these reasons. Especially in multiplayer. Nothing is worse than having an unarmored random roll everywhere, only to parry one attack and bring you down like a sack of bricks. Skill, or poor game design?
So, you may come into Lords of the Fallen expecting the same meta to be present here. It is not the same here. I expected to simply parry my way through all the bosses, but their parrying, posture, and withered health mechanics really change the way you should interact with the game. It’s actually great, so allow me to tell you how Lords of the Fallen has taken down the parrying meta for the better.
Related: Lords of the Fallen Beginner’s guide
How parrying works in Lords of the Fallen
In Lords of the Fallen, the action of parrying is the same. You must simply block right before the enemy’s hit lands. However, with withered health, there is an interesting cost to parrying, and with posture and posture damage, parrying is no longer a one-way ticket to staggering an enemy.
With each parry, any remaining damage from the hit withers your health. Withered health is a fantastic and nuanced mechanic, where you must deal damage to regenerate it back, but upon being hit, you’ll lose all withered health plus suffer the damage of the hit. This provides a cost to parrying as if you do it too much, you’ll wither all of your health. Then, one stumble, and you’ll get knocked down.
Also, parrying no longer simply immediately staggers an enemy. For an enemy to stagger, you must eliminate all of their posture, and then parry an attack. This means that parrying has become a tool and part of the process, as opposed to being the process.
The cost of parrying — through withered health — and the long process of depleting an enemy’s posture means that parrying isn’t as overpowered as players may expect. This is why, for all of those players who shared my mindset, dodging is actually much superior to standing your ground and parrying attacks.
By dodging all over the place, reducing their posture, and then parrying to deliver the grievous strike, combat has become more complex.
Why Lords of the Fallen’s changes to parrying is actually awesome
This may sound like the team simply made parrying weaker and less useful than other Soulslike titles, but this is a much-needed change. When fighting one of the difficult earlier bosses, I had the audacity to think I could simply parry my way through. But that boss had other ideas.
I had to really get used to the boss’ attack patterns, as I had to dodge them, perform attacks that would really damage her posture, and then parry when I could. This multi-step strategy for pulling off the grievous strike makes each fight much more engaging, much more complex, and much more difficult.
Sure, dodging still remains a meta in the game, but at least that doesn’t fast-track any boss battles.
I hope you’ve enjoyed our public service announcement, and also hope that this helps your understanding of combat in Lords of the Fallen. If you want help navigating Axiom, or even Umbral, then cast your lamp over to PC Invasion.