Fighting For Fenumia, For Or Against the Rebellion
Earlier this year I reviewed YummyYummyTummy’s Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire for the PS4. It’s co-release title, Fallen Legion: Flames of Rebellion was sadly not included in the review process as it was released separately, both on the PS4 and PS Vita. This may have left interested gamers with something of a debacle on their hands; being forced to shell out cash twice to get the full story if they so desired, or worse, forcing consumers to pick one over the other. One could suppose that such a marketing choice was almost poetic given the nature of the Fallen Legion games, but in the end, that’s a poor comfort to buyers’ wallets.
Thankfully, YYT has seen fit to now join the two titles together in Fallen Legion+ on Steam this month and on the Nintendo Switch at a later, unspecified date as Fallen Legion: Rise to Glory. Now players will finally get to revel in both Octavia Cecille’s story and Legatus Leandur’s as each fight for their perceived right to lead their country to glory.
Conjuring up similar imagery and gameplay style to legendary titles such as Odin Sphere, fans of side-scroller beat ‘em up/hack and slash genres are going to have a blast with the Fallen Legion series, whether it be for extended gameplay or in short bursts. The added benefit of having of both games, getting the full story, will be an extra bonus when it comes to fully understanding the world of Fenumia, and determining who the real enemies are.
I have to admit, Flames of Rebellion added a lot of context that greatly enriched my original opinions of Sins of an Empire. While it is clear early on that Octavia Cecille and her father (the now deceased Emperor) were far from perfect, knowing how far the empire had fallen under her father’s rule, and the damage done through their imperial line of conquest immediately sets off to make Leandur and his cohorts a far more sympathetic troupe. It’s almost so akin to the original Star Wars trilogy that it could border on plagiarism.
I’m kidding, of course, but it’s hard to deny the parallels.
I tried as much as possible to go back and forth between the storylines, ensuring I kept up equally with both sides of the conflict. Doing as much immediately began to reveal some flaws however, primarily on the side of Flames of Rebellion. The flaw in question is that there actually wasn’t much story to speak of in terms of what was going on. I think Leandur was attempting to catch up with Octavia to stop her from reaching the capital, but there’s such an overflow of information in these cutscenes it may cause players to track of the overarching plot Fallen Legion is trying to convey.
It’s unfortunate really, because clearly, the world of Fallen Legion is, at least in its intention, a rich one. There’s a lot going on in terms of politics and intrigue, as well as an interesting royal and gentry hierarchy that would make for great filler in future titles. I was also appreciative of the staunch Roman cultural influences the game had, combined with old world English aesthetics. Outside of all of this though, a great deal of the world-building and narrative falls apart as one branch of dialogue fails to link the next to create a cohesive narrative.
The Tools To Make A Kingdom
When it comes to the actual port for the Fallen Legion games, a few details fell by the wayside in its making that were irksome. The most prevalent of which being that the tutorial wasn’t altered for PC inputs. I was still being told how to attack with PlayStation controls in mind, which left things confusing as I tried to figure out what on my keyboard acted in place of the triangle and square button.
Furthermore, basic button inputs weren’t implemented at all. I always thought it was sort of a game design standard that the [Enter] button was the secret button to progress through all dialogue and select anything on the menu, but not here. The [F] button is what will serve to guide you through most of this game, while your own attack inputs will align with either the [S], [D], [F], and [E] button, with occasional help from the directional arrows when selecting between either Cecille or Leandur’s abilities.
Perhaps it’s a small thing to complain about, but in my honest opinion, this was pretty lazy on the developers part. It’s poor and lazy design to make the player infer on their own what buttons should be used to play your game. As consumers of your product, the least you could do is make sure we understand exactly how to play the thing!
From what I could tell there’s also no way to exit from the title screen either, meaning to fully exit back to my desktop I had to rely on the infamous Control-Alt-Delete technique. Again, these aren’t dire complaints, nor are they game breaking bugs, but at the end of the day, YYT could have really tried to do something about this.
With Friends Like These
That aside, the game works the same as it did prior. As you progress, either as Cecille or Leandur, you will gain fighters known as Exemplars. Cecille herself is granted the ability to summon these weaponized spirits through the help of her father’s grimoire, which also happens to talk. How Leandur himself is able to do this is a mystery, though. While he later steals pages out of the grimoire, he seems to manage his summoning ability with as much success as Cecille, yet with even less direction – this is kind of where that lack of story for Flames of Rebellion comes in that I mentioned before.
Throughout your journey, both Cecille and Leandur will have choices that need to be made as leaders in their respective stations. Choices will have varying temporary effects in combat, as well as permanent effects in terms of either national or military morale, so be sure to choose carefully. That is if you understand the context well enough to choose.
This was another an issue I originally had with Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire. While you’re expected to make world-altering decisions, you often have little to no context as to what sort of results these decisions will give. The best you have is to infer by context. Periodically citizens will drop by on the road and let you know how you’re doing, and that helps to some degree, but often the damage to your morale meters may have already been done.
In terms of combat, there’s no variety between the two games here, and this is where I personally felt Fallen Legion was a letdown. With both Cecille and Leandur, battle is more or less a button mashing fest until the things blocking your path is dead. Both characters have the same attacks, the same effects, and even the same spells, which means things can get boring quick.
You’ll Still Have Enemies
At the end of the day, I enjoyed Fallen Legion+ as much as I enjoyed Sins of an Empire earlier this year, yet the game felt lacking in a few different ways that simply failed to allow me to love the game. The hand-drawn art, rich voice acting and detailed culture of the world at large were charming and inviting, yet the game falls as short as it did before of being an ultimately captivating experience.
If you’re not already a fan of this genre, I’d say moving forward with a title this pricey might be a risky investment. I personally am still irritated that they failed to change over the tutorial inputs for PC commands, and the absolute pain of navigating the menus with only certain buttons served to fluster me further. Call me spoiled, but I like things that are intuitive. I also like some variety in my hack and slash, otherwise, things tend to get boring. Both Fallen Legion+ titles have this issue and it can make the game get more than a little dull.
This leaves me in an uncomfortable position of hesitating to recommend Fallen Legion or Fallen Legion+ because of these oversights, which was my stance in my last review for this series also. YummyYummyTummy has something strong here to be sure, but it needs more polish before I’d say it warrants both the asking price of $29.99 and any extended duration of your time.
Final Verdict: 2.5/5
Available on: PC (reviewed), Switch; Publisher: Mintsphere ; Developer: YummyYummyTummy; Players: 1 ; Released: January 5th, 2018 ; ESRB: T for Teen ; MSRP: $29.99
“Full disclosure: This review is based on a PC review copy of Fallen Legion+ given to HeyPoorPlayer by the publisher.”