Are we tired of the oversaturation of indy ARPGs in the market now? Maybe it's just me, but it feels like the only genre with more representation is the puzzle platformer. Maybe they're easy to make, maybe everyone is just seeking out the one thing that will separate them from the homogenous mass that the market has become. Well, the game I'm reviewing now is a distinct lump in the blob, Fallen Legion+ by YummyYummyTummy.
This is a port of the two combined Fallen Legion games: Flames of Rebellion on Playstation Vita and Sins of an Empire for PS4. Both of the games tell one side of an empire in the midst of a rebellion between man of the people Legatus Leandur and the conflicted and newly-minted Empress Cecille Octavia. The games have separate but intertwining stories as the war goes on. Personally, I did like Fallen Legion+ but that comes with it being within my field of interest. While I think the combat is fun and fast-paced, I could see many regarding it as hectic. Though I am a fan of this sort of story and I do think having both sides of the conflict is fascinating, it does fall flat in the actual storytelling. I don't think it's a bad game necessarily, but keep in mind that the recommendation I'm about to give is extremely tentative. You could definitely do far worse than Fallen Legion + but for your money are are definitely better experiences.
Fallen Legion + is available on Steam for $29.99.
There are two stories in this game, mainly because there are two games. The story concerns Princess Cecille of Fenumia. After the passing of her father, the emperor, she is given a talking grimoire as a final gift. The book insists that it is the source of her father's power and that it had saved his life many time. I don't think it's much of a spoiler to say that the book may not necessarily be evil but it eats human souls and gives her the power to summon basically ghost soldiers so let's at least put it in the "moral grey area" category. When Leandur finds out that it's a bit sketchy, he struggles a bit with the morality of the decision but comes to the conclusion that Cecille must be evil, and that she must be overthrown so he himself could become the emperor. To say much more would spoil some plot points, but when the stories are put together like this it may not exactly be innovative but their stories, if left on their own from what we learn in the cutscenes, do hold up well enough. It's a solid framework, but thanks to the small stuff it failed to really draw me in.
Sometimes, in between combats, you are given a drive-by choice that will permanently affect the world and your playthrough. That isn't necessarily a bad idea and sometimes it does breathe life into it all. After all, you're either the leader of a rebellion or an empress of a crumbling nation, you would have other pressing matters. While sometimes the decisions worked, like having foiled an assassination attempt or the sewers flooding, I really took issue with the times these decisions involved named characters were never previously mentioned nor do I know. It isn't too bad in Flames of Rebellion because it usually does paint in broad strokes with cavalry units demanding better pay or rations running low, but occasionally a new character enters the fray. Apparently I screwed over this guy (whose name and why he's important escapes me) and he vowed some sort of comeuppance. I had no idea why that was a bad thing or why I should care. I found out later that he's some sort of berserker who fights for me, which would have been nice to know before I dismissed his legion.
In Sins of an Empire, that occasional annoyance becomes a central mechanic. I appreciate the political intrigue with needing to basically keep a parliament of people for whom you have no frame of reference becomes a nightmare. I have no idea who any of these princes or princesses are, if I can trust them, or what their agendas are, but suddenly I'm expected to pass or reject their vague bills or protect them from protestors. Maybe their deserved the riots in their province, I wouldn't know. Thanks to the little loading screen tidbits I know what the Council of Princes is but not who sits on them. I really could use more context.
The core of the game is the combat system, which takes place in real time. Before combat you can summon three soldiers, each one is assigned a button on your keyboard. Each one has three action points, each one amounts to one attack and they do regenerate with time. The whole thing is a mess of forming short combos by having one exemplar attack after another, making longer combos for death attacks, trying to block attacks perfectly to stagger enemies, and using either Leandur or Cecille to cast supporting spells. It's a ton to keep track of but thanks to the controls being rather easy to grasp I never felt overwhelmed once I was sufficiently in the zone. That said, I could see someone finding it super hectic and tough to keep track of, I certainly did at first. I think the game fancies itself a fast-paced strategy game and there is some of that but definitely not as much as the game seems to think there is. There's about a second of latency between when you tell your units to block and when they do, and sometimes you get so little warning that you can't respond in time and your combos get wrecked.
There are also gems that you can relieve after each level that give your exemplars buffs and debuffs. I will say that to the game's credit, these are well-implemented and they actually seem to have an actual impact on how you play the game. Some of them switch your exemplar's stance though and I really wish that would have been explained to me you know…at all. That is perhaps the biggest folly of Fallen Legion, the fact that you need to figure some seemingly essential things on your own, like what the stances mean and the small combos that happens when a specific exemplar attacks with or after another.
And that is to say nothing about the bugs. Most of them were just cutting off dialogue mid-sentence, but at one point in time it just showed me and my exemplars running through a forest endlessly after a level, so the only solution I had was to force close the game and replay the level. That happened only once, but it did make me need to quit the game and cool off for a few minutes.
Graphics and Audio
I will say that this game looks very nice. I mean nothing I'm going to set as the background to my PC, but the art style was aesthetically pleasing enough and I really did like the designs of the characters, each one looked cool and distinct. On sight you can distinguish your archer, your gunner, your swordsman, your lancer, or any other units you may have by more than they're carrying a different weapon. If nothing else, I will say that this game does look good.
The audio fits in the same category: very nice. Is there such a thing as standard epic music? If so, that's the best way to describe the audio here. Nothing wrong with it, but it's the exact things you'd hear in a thousand other RPGs. There are voice actors for our protagonists every now and again. Both are good enough, but nothing spectacular. I will say I liked that Leandur had a bit of an accent, it really helped emphasize the pride he has in his homeland and in his people. He is foreign, his people have been subjugated, but he hasn't completely assimilated. That said, I wish he would slow his pace a bit. I have no such complaints about the voice actress for Cecille. No real praise, but no complaints. She's fine. I wish i wasn't so noncommittal on these aspects but the game gave me no reason to to despise or praise the sound engineering.
I've played better, but also far worse than Fallen Legion+. I didn't force myself to keep playing, but at the same time now that I'm done I can't say I'm going to miss it. The combat was fast-paced, but also messy. The story has a solid framework, but it doesn't do much to draw in the player. The graphics and audio are nice, but not nice enough to make up for the other glaring issues. I'd describe it best as a "sale game." Something you get during the Steam Summer Sale when it's 50 or 75 percent off, you just got your paycheck, and you need to buy something inoffensive to satisfy the feeling that you need to jettison some cash right now. I was never offended that they would dare put this on the digital shelves, but it isn't for everyone. Not a perfect experience, but I liked it fine.
|+ Fast-paced combat||– Combat could be much for some|
|+ Solid visual design||– Story isn't engaging|
|+ Well-implemented controls||– Bugs|