We at USgamer try to get our reviews out as soon as humanly possible, but sometimes, certain practical problems arise to press their boots to the neck of this humble goal.
And that's exactly what happened with Bandai-Namco's Lords of the Fallen: You should have been reading my take on this game weeks ago, but the fates conspired to make this impossible. So, in the interest of full disclosure, let me break down the series of nightmares I encountered after setting out on my incredible journey to play a video game and shove some words together.
- In what's becoming an alarming trend, I didn't receive a copy of Lords of the Fallen until a day before its October 28th launch. It's certainly better than a post-release embargo, but not by much. And since each member of the USgamer team has many responsibilities, we don't really have the luxury of letting a single project consume us for more than a day. So, knowing I'd already resigned myself to irrelevance, I scheduled the review for the middle of that following week.
- Playing the game over that weekend, my PlayStation 4 shut down without warning. Now, I'd taken every precaution to avoid all of the issues with Sony's recent firmware update: I avoided putting it in Rest Mode, talked to it in a quiet, soothing voice, and massaged its various cables after long play sessions. But after this sudden crash, my PS4 refused to live again. I couldn't even boot it into safe mode, and touching the power button would light the console's blue LED for a half-second before extinguishing this spark of hope entirely with a muffled beep from deep within its innards. If this was a medical drama, my apartment would be swarming with blood-soaked doctors screaming, "CODE BLUE! CODE BLUE!" And, as much as I wanted to, I knew pounding on my PS4 while screaming "DON'T YOU DIE ON ME, DAMN IT!" would probably void the warranty.
- Then came what promised to be the most painful part of the process: Customer service. Thankfully, I managed to use my insidious ties to the industry to save me all of five minutes: Instead of me calling them, they called me. (I'm a pretty big wheel down at the USgamer factory.) After a brief chat, my console casket had been readied for my PS4's fantastic voyage through the postal system, which, unfortunately, would put an additional delay in my Lords of the Fallen review. Days later, I plopped my system in the box, made sure it was free of vermin infestations—which would disqualify me from receiving service, and perhaps revoke my membership to the human race as a whole—and sent my system off to Texas. Who knows what adventures it would have in the Lone Star state? Would it come back with distinct memories of The Alamo? Only time would tell.
- To their credit, Sony had my console fixed and shipped back in less than a week. But since they used FedEx, I ran into more problems: I live in a pretty old building, you see, and the intercom hasn't been set up to call my cell phone. So, when they can't make a delivery, the drivers tend to stick their memos on the door, and these rugged slips of paper don't have the tenacity to hang onto a constantly swinging surface for more than half a day. So I wasn't aware delivery attempts were even being made, and to make things even more complicated, when I actually saw one of those "we missed you" slips, I had assumed it was for another FedEx package with completely different contents. After getting an e-mail from Sony about the shipment, I realized FedEx was about to make their final delivery attempt, and had to act fast. I was like Jack Bauer if 24 focused on posting outdated video game reviews instead of keeping America safe from poorly written terrorist plots.
- So, I made a call to arrange a pickup of my in-transit PS4, and ran into yet another wrinkle: Since the package required my signature, FedEx couldn't hold it at one of their offices—maybe they think their employees have sticky fingers or something. I had to talk my way through three operators before discovering my console wouldn't be trapped in postal limbo for the rest of its life: I only had to travel to my local FedEx warehouse before it closed a few hours later. This, unfortunately, forced me to walk fifteen minutes through a dark, strange neighborhood while holding a box with a $400 console inside, but my manic rush to bring this system home must have let surrounding bandits know I had better things to do than get mugged.
- Finally, the moment of truth. I plug my PS4 back into my TV, and it boots up with no problems. Success! But something's off: It's acting as if I just unboxed it. Of course, I was more than aware of what happened in that very instant, but it took me the next hour to gradually overcome the power of denial. My PS4's hard drive had nothing on it, so while I downloaded updates and a digital copy of Lords of the Fallen, I hoped the console had some means of preserving my save that I wasn't aware of—was my save resting comfortably on The Cloud, waiting for me to beam it back down to earth? The answer, of course, was, "No, you idiot." Fixing my PS4 entailed wiping its memory completely, which blasted my 20+ hour save out of existence. And that brings us to this very moment.
I wanted to at least write some impressions about Lords of the Fallen, but not touching it for two weeks in this blitzkreig of game releases has rendered most of my memories fuzzy and indistinct. So, apologies if you had your hopes set on learning whether or not this game's Souls envy made it a worthy imitation of FromSoftware's work. Losing that much time in a game is absolutely devastating, so it's likely I won't be touching Lords of the Fallen again for a very long time. But if there's one thing to learn from my succession of horrible events, it's this: No one actually knows what they're doing, and it's a miracle society even functions as it does. So as war unfolds, diplomacy breaks down, and Adam Sandler continues to make movies, one missed review isn't all that tragic in the grand scheme of things.