In an interesting turn of events, Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire piqued my interests and kept it. This indie title is unique and overall surprisingly entertaining. A solid entry into the side-scrolling Vanillaware style adventure but without all the polish, here’s my review for Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire.
Fallen Legion gets a lot right, and that’s important to discuss. It’s a solid title that makes a good attempt with what it has. There are still a few problems though, so the question remains are the problems game breaking?
Both the PlayStation and PlayStation Vita versions have different versions of the same story. In the PlayStation 4 version, you play as Cecille a woman thrust into power as her father dies and she must retake her Empire. The Vita version follows her rival Legatus Laendur, who is attempting to steal her kingdom away from her.
The story is interesting, but it’s sadly missing so much. As you start the game you’re thrown into Cecille’s life, her father’s death, and her council… A book. This is where the story is most interesting. Some of the most interesting story portions are between Cecille and her Grimoire, a sentient being who needs to feed on souls to help her rule the kingdom. Morality comes into question, and it’s partly more interesting than the overarching story. The problem here is we don’t get enough of the story to truly care. We are instantly thrown into a situation and we’re asked to summon these fighters and save a kingdom against a set of Prince’s. We don’t learn enough about the Prince’s to care. We’re tasked with moral questions and our answers will change the story, yet there are so many characters thrown at us it’s easy to forget who is helping you and who’s betraying you. Making the moral questions against an opposing kingdom sometimes hard to answer. While the basis is there and history is shown on loading screens of what seems to be a completely furnished world, we don’t get the necessary information to actually connect. This does change some gameplay elements, but it’s a shame to noticing the underlying potential.
The gameplay for Fallen Legion is also a bit of a hit and miss. There are some GREAT mechanics that keep the game fun, but there’s also some game breaking mechanics that can annoy the heck out of you. First, the good. Fallen Legion allows you to control Cecille your healing magic user, and three other characters that are summoned to help you. Each character is mapped to a button, and they use actions based on AP that they earn through battle. Battles are all about timing and combos though. There’s an action bar on the bottom, which allows you to create combos, get extra attacks and more based on the gemstones you set between battle. You run through a side-scrolling RPG adventure until you bump into enemies or an NPC. Enemies start a fight, NPC’s discuss what’s going on within the parameters of the story. The game breaking mechanic comes in when fighting NPC’s. Pressing L1 allows you to block incoming attacks, and most boss fights can’t be won without doing this. Pressing it at the right time (right before an attack) will reflect the attack and allow for you and your summons to get some actual damage done. Just blocking won’t do much and won’t help much, so the timing is imperative. The problem is, blocking uses an animation that can offset the time between your press and the defense actually working. On top of that, when you’re attacking you can’t block, so if you hit an enemy and you see another about to hit you, you can’t block the next incoming attack. This mechanic has killed my party on more than one occasion. The other cool mechanic has you making
The game breaking mechanic comes in when fighting NPC’s. Pressing L1 allows you to block incoming attacks, and most boss fights can’t be won without doing this. Pressing it at the right time (right before an attack) will reflect the attack and allow for you and your summons to get some actual damage done. Just blocking won’t do much and won’t help much, so the timing is imperative. The problem is, blocking uses an animation that can offset the time between your press and the defense actually working. On top of that, when you’re attacking you can’t block, so if you hit an enemy and you see another about to hit you, you can’t block the next incoming attack. This mechanic has killed my party on more than one occasion.
The other cool mechanic has you making split-second decisions that change the story. Will you support the bill to increase funding for the poor? Defend another region against an attack in hopes for an alliance? Standby or Intervene as warring regions go against one another? As mentioned, it’s a cool mechanic that gives you a few seconds to make a decision. These decisions will change the way the game unfolds. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s hard to remember what Kingdom and Prince’s are warring with what region. On top of that, these decisions grant bonuses for combat. It can definitely sway your decisions, making moral choices seem less potent. Your choices also affect the morale of the region. Good, helpful choices boost your morale throughout the Kingdom. None of it goes too deep though.
Fallen Legion truly shines with its graphics. One of the reasons I was so into the title in the first place was because it’s the same beautiful style we’ve gotten from bigger companies. It’s a beautiful game. Vibrant, colorful, yet not too unique, Fallen Legion probably shines the most with its graphics. There’s some voice acting, which is a nice touch, especially when character close-ups come in. Overall this is where the game really wins.
Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire is a solid addition to the action RPG side scrolling genre. It’s definitely got potential, but it’s a title that had big ambitions, yet fell short of a few of them. It’s fun, it’s solid, but it misses the mark in a number of areas. Game breaking mechanics and missing story elements make it easy to lose connections you may be forming with the game. Still, I look forward to more from this studio in the future.
Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire (PlayStation 4, PS Vita)
Developer: YummyYummyTummy Inc, MintSphere
Publisher: acttil LLC.
Release Date: July 18th, 2017
MSRP Price: $19.99