Role-playing games is a genre that has been changing and evolving a lot in recent years. While franchises like Persona are trying to stick with the old formula of turn-based combat, others like Final Fantasy are slowly innovating and turning into action orientated games. YummyYummyTummy’s Fallen Legion also tries to bring something new to the table, not only by delivering the game’s story from two different perspectives depending on which platform you play the game (PS4 or PS Vita), but also featuring a combat system that’s a mix of turn-based and action gameplay.
Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire (the PS4 version) tells the story of Cecille, the Princess of the Fenumian Empire. Right as the game starts, Cecille learns that her father has passed away and she is now the emperor. However, General Laendur (the protagonist of the PS Vita version) seeks to overthrow the empire of Fenumia. To help her in her journey, Cecille is given a mysterious talking book called the Grimoire who was also her father’s advisor. Grimoire’s power allows Cecille to manifest warriors, known as Exemplars, using her imagination to fight at her side.
You can take three Exemplars into combat, with each Exemplar having its own combat skills, weapons and stats. Each Exemplar is assigned a button (Square, X or Circle), while Cecille’s actions are performed via the triangle button. Exemplars have each three action points (AP), and each point allows the exemplar to attack once. These points are recovered over time and once you have action points you can attack again. Think of it like a similar system to Final Fantasy’s ATB combat system, with the only difference being that an Exemplar can attack up to three times in a row. As for Cecille, her ability requires mana, which is recovered each time an Exemplar attacks an enemy. Her abilities are crucial in battle, as she can perform both offensive and healing spells.
Despite what I said thus far about the combat system, Fallen Legion is far from being a turn-based game. As long as there’s AP available, both your Exemplars and your enemies can all attack at the same time. This would make the gameplay a bit boring if it was just attack once you have AP, that’s why YummyYummyTummy added a mechanics that make combat a bit more strategic and fun.
One of these mechanics is blocking. By pressing L1, you can make an Exemplars block enemies enemy attacks to greatly reduce damage. You can’t rely on defending all the time, however, as while defending your Exemplars won’t recover any AP. This mechanic also rewards fast reaction skill, as blocking right before an enemy strike triggers a perfect block, which not only staggers a foe/reflects a projectile, but also recovers 1 AP to all Exemplars. My only complaint about this mechanic is that while it works when you are facing one or two opponents, the same can’t be said when facing three or more enemies at the same time, as combat becomes chaotic and it’s impossible to block everything or predict attacks with the enemies attacking practically all the time.
Another interesting mechanic is the Combo Bar and Deathblows. Each time an Exemplar attacks, one node is filled on the combo bar. Depending on the choices you make and gemstones you have equipped, certain nodes are imbued by a buff that the Exemplar who activates it receives. In addition, the Exemplar whose attack falls on the node with a blue aura, which is usually the final node available, will trigger that Exemplar’s Deathblow. Deathblows are powerful attacks that not only deal a lot of damage, but can also inflict status effects on the enemy. This adds a bit of strategy, as it makes you think on who should attack and when depending on the buffs you want to receive and Deathblows you want to unleash. But once again, similar to how it happens with defending and blocking, when things get too chaotic it becomes nearly impossible to time your attacks in order to perform the attacks you want.
What’s probably the most interesting mechanic is the way that the game presents you with moral choices that will affect you in battle and the morale across the empire. Between battles in a stage, you will be presented with different scenarios, such as someone who betrayed the empire or a town needing help to rebuild some of its buildings. Each scenario has three orders you can give, and each order comes with a buff that you will receive if you pick that order, which will last until the end of a level. You might choose an order which gives you the best buff, but on the other hand, it might be an order that might show you don’t care about the empire and its citizens. Your supporter’s morale can increase or decrease depending on the choices you make, and morale affects how much health your Exemplars recover after you make a choice. The higher the Morale, the more health your Exemplars will receive. It’s a mechanic that has you constantly thinking whether you should pick an order to will increase the morale and help in the long run, or an order that might decrease your supporter’s morale but helps you in the current battle so you can live to see another day. In addition, some of these decisions might reward you with items and in some cases unlock optional missions that expand the story.
Unfortunately, Fallen Legion is a game that shows all its cards way too early. You get introduced to all the game’s mechanics in first few missions of the game and the gameplay doesn’t evolve much from there, which makes combat repetitive after a while. Boss battles do bring some variety to the table, but even these battles are few and far between. The story doesn’t help much on this aspect either. For starters, the story is presented in a poorly way, as you never get properly introduced to the world itself, the kingdom, the war, and several other important aspects that happen throughout the game. This doesn’t help the story being one that manages to captivate the player, something that is made even worse due to how predictable it is.
The game’s presentation is probably its strongest aspect. Fallen Legion features a gorgeous art style with beautiful and detailed hand-drawn characters, monsters, and animations. The soundtrack does a fantastic job as well, especially with some guitar-infused tracks that really stand out during battles. My only complaint about the presentation is the voice acting. While the voice acting isn’t necessarily bad, it’s only present in very few cutscenes, and for the most part, aren’t even really important ones from a story perspective, which makes you wonder what was the point in adding voice acting in the first place.
Fallen Legion brings a lot of promising ideas to the table, however, not all of them are implemented perfectly. The combat system is fun and features some interesting mechanics, but it becomes repetitive after a while, something which is not helped by the chaotic battles and a story that fails to captivate the player. If you manage to overlook some of its flaws, Fallen Legion is certainly an unique RPG experience that worth giving a try.Fallen Legion was reviewed using a PS4 Digital Code provided by YummyYummyTummy. You can find additional information about Gaming Union's ethics policy here.
|Fun combat system.|
|Moral choices have an impact in battle and in the world.|
|Gorgeous hand-drawn visuals.|
|Combat becomes too chaotic when facing three or more enemies.|
|Uninteresting and poorly presented story.|