Fallen Legion: Flames of Rebellion Review (PS Vita)

Rule an empire and command your army in this 2D action RPG from YummyYummyTummy. Find out what we think of Fallen Legion Flames of Rebellion in this PS Vita game review!

Fallen Legion: Flames of Rebellion Review (PS Vita)

INTRODUCTION

I'm going to be totally honest. The first time I saw Fallen Legion, I genuinely thought it was a new Vanillaware title. It's actually a game by YummyYummyTummy, a game studio that, up until now, had been making educational games for kids. They were definitely going for George Kamitani's art style and is pretty much the game's primary appeal. Nevertheless, I was rather curious about the fascinating stuff under its hood so I gave it a go. Let's just say, curiosity killed this cat.

Fallen Legion: Flames of Rebellion for the PlayStation Vita is available on the PlayStation Store.

STORY

There are two sides to every story. The game is available on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, and both platforms feature a different narrative based on the perspectives of Princess Cecille and master tactician Legatus Leandur, respectively. Both parties represent one end of an ongoing coup. The game is riddled with politics and the choices you make determines the fate of your kingdom. On paper, the concept seems sound, but the storytelling ended up being way too dull for me to even care.

Fallen Legion: Flames of Rebellion Review (PS Vita). Most story scenes take place in the battlefield as well.
In this version of the game, we take the side of Legatus Leandur, a master tactician leading the coup against Princess Cecille. That's as far as I care to know about the game's tangled plot. The voice acting doesn't help the narrative much either. The main protagonist sounds like he's competing for the title of fastest and most annoying script reader of all time, ignoring any and all punctuations in a cringe-worthy accent.

As I've mentioned, your actions can influence future events, prompting you to side with one of the three factions. The problem is that these changes are barely noticeable and hardly gives you a solid motivation to pick a side. The story fails to enthrall, and I've felt not even the slightest interest in following the story at all.

GAMEPLAY

Fallen Legion is a 2D action-RPG. Each level has your squad automatically moving towards the right end of each level. In combat, each character is represented by one of the four face buttons. Pressing square, cross, or circle will cause the corresponding party member(an Exemplar) to attack, consuming an action point. Action points regenerate over time and proper use of your Exemplars' AP will assure longer attack chains Exemplars can also block incoming attacks. Timing your block just right with the left trigger will trigger a perfect block, nullifying melee attack damage, reflecting ranged attacks and granting bonus AP. Only a perfect block can prevent a combo chain from breaking, making it an essential skill at your disposal.

Fallen Legion: Flames of Rebellion Review (PS Vita). Blocking at the right time will result in a perfect block.
The triangle button is reserved for Legatus, the main protagonist, who plays a little differently from the rest of your squad. Legatus doesn't have AP and instead has mana to cast spells. Pressing triangle alone unleashes a basic damage spell, but stringing together triangle with the down button will cast a party heal while stringing it with the up button casts a revive spell for incapacitated squad members. He can also use relics acquired during the course of an entire level and is lost after completion. Relics and buffs can be obtained from picking one out of three options that pop out every time a choice stage comes up.

Each time an Exemplar attacks, one node from your combo bar gets filled. The tributes you obtain from the choices you make and the gemstones you equip outside of combat can sometimes add special properties to the combo bar. A node can contain a buff that activates when an Exemplar's attack is assigned to that node. The Gemstones make up the entirety of your equipment management. Over time, your Exemplars will gain new abilities and will ultimately turn into an Order Exemplar, changing appearance and gaining new abilities that vastly increases their capability compared to regular Exemplars. These two, plus the tributes you acquire for each level, make up the bulk of the role-playing elements.

Fallen Legion: Flames of Rebellion Review (PS Vita). Keep your army's morale in mind when making choices.
The game's fast-paced combat system and innovative mechanics suggest layers of strategy that fails to be realized. Perfectly timing a block is a significant mechanic that urges players to up their reflexes, but enemies barely give out tells that indicate an attack, hardly giving you enough room to react in time. Enemies emit a faint red pulse before attacking that's almost impossible to notice under all the ostentatious visual effects going on all at once. Keeping track of your Exemplars' AP meters and party formation can be difficult, making it hard to utilize your combo bar and party formations in a strategic manner. You're likely to result to mindlessly mashing buttons while focusing on watching out for incoming attacks, occasionally healing your squad when necessary.

The long short is that the layers of strategy the game promises are betrayed by poorly executed mechanics.

GRAPHICS AND SOUND

About half way into the game, battles shift to a repetitive and chaotic mess. Units dash back and forth uncontrollably causing the camera, while trying to keep up, to just add up to the chaos. Worse still is the frame drops. How are you supposed to notice the already subtle tell of an incoming attack when the game drops below 5 FPS? This is no exaggeration, the game slows down almost to a stop in some of the bigger, more populated battles. The combat system is disordered enough as it is, but the frame dips pretty much threw any enthusiasm I had left out the window.

Fallen Legion: Flames of Rebellion Review (PS Vita). What's the point of brandishing a large shield when you're not even going to point it towards the enemy?
The sprites are crisp and the resolutions sharp. The UI is elegantly well organized and the character designs are interestingly detailed. Maps are looping areas highlighting a varied set of environments that don't stand out too much to interfere with the action.

The art style in Fallen Legion is almost the spitting image of Vanillaware's own. I think it's cool to draw inspiration from George Kamitani's art, but some of the figures and enemy designs look like they've been lifted straight from Dragon's Crown and Muramasa.  Fallen Legion's most appealing aspect also happens to be its least original.

CONCLUSION

Fallen Legion aims high but comes up short. YummyYummyTummy threw in some genuinely good ideas yet fails to implement effectively. The combat system insinuates a level of strategy that simply isn't there. If the visual style is what you're after, you may still find a sufficient gameplay experience. But don't hope for a compelling tale, as it's by far its worst quality.

PROSCONS
+ Stunning art style– Some really bad frame dips
+ Innovative combat system– Poorly implemented mechanics
+ Intuitive Controls– Dull story and poor voice acting

4.7
Poor

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