Lords of the Fallen is an action role-playing game, played from a third-person perspective. The game has been compared to Dark Souls with a slow tactical approach to close-quarters combat gameplay, with difficult enemies and locations to overcome, while learning from their encounters. The player takes the role of Harkyn who from the beginning can be tailored towards the player’s preferred combat styles from a range of different classes, each with their own specializations in certain weapons, armours, spells and abilities. A class is determined based on two major choices of three kinds of magic; brawling, deception and solace, followed by the second choice of three different armour sets; warrior, rogue and cleric. Different combinations of both choices allow the player to choose how to play Harkyn from the start. With sets, the warrior uses heavy yet strong armor and weapons, the rogue is much lighter and quicker and the cleric utilizes staffs and armour that supports spell use. Magic though makes each class more unique. For example a warrior set combined with brawling magic creates a pure warrior with high strength and vitality, while a warrior set can also be combined with solace magic to create a paladin class that is not as strong but can specialize in spell usage early in the game. As the player progresses through the game and defeats enemies, experience can be gained and spent to upgrade Harkyn’s skills and unlock new spells to use in combat.
The game is divided into acts with linear progression through a main central story, with new areas continuously opened as the player progresses while also being allowed to return to previously completed areas. However, each new area can have multiple paths, hidden locations and potential shortcuts to uncover. Along the way, the player will also encounter non-player characters who offer further information, lore and in many cases grant additional tasks to the player for more rewards. In dialogue, the player can also make choices with certain characters and their quests. The game utilizes a checkpoints system that the player must locate and can choose to use to save, replenish consumable items such as healing potions and upgrade their character