We’re starting to get back into the release season once again! Thank heaven for that, since everyone knows spending time with family and loved ones can’t hold a candle to the wonders of video gaming. Titles new and old are starting to show up, including the odd port here and there – case in point: Fallen Legion+ on Steam.
In a bizarre move, Fallen Legion originally launched as two different games with different campaigns on PS4 and PS Vita. The PS4 version, Sins of an Empire, followed the princess-turned-Empress Cecile in the period after her father was killed by a rebellion, while the Vita version followed Legatus Laendur as he led that same rebellion. To get the full story you’d have to play both, which would understandably be a little awkward if you were missing one console or another.
Now with Fallen Legion+ on Steam, you’ve got both Sins of an Empire and Flames of Rebellion in the same package, which is a nice touch that represents a fair bit of content if you end up enjoying Fallen Legion’s style. Both games play about the same, by which I mean that they’re very similar to the classic Valkyrie Profile and the more recent Exist Archive: The Other Side of the Sky. You’ll control four characters at once, each of which are mapped to a face button, and by pressing a character’s button you can have them attack. Victory revolves in no small part around timing your attacks to create combos.
As mentioned in the original review for Sins of an Empire, Fallen Legion’s take on this system is real-time rather than turn-based. This is more than a little awkward since it makes attacking at all a dangerous prospect – an attacking character has no means of defending themselves or stopping their action if it becomes clear that they’re in trouble, and if they’re knocked out of an attack they lose the action points used to make it. Carefully timing blocks and parries to get around this, then, is almost as important as learning your characters’ attacks.
The non-combat side of the game, meanwhile, also differs from its inspirations by taking an approach more similar to the indie Tinder/kingdom simulator Reigns rather than incorporating 2D platformer elements. Your characters will be given decisions to make that will affect the success and outcomes of their campaigns along with offering power boosts and buffs. Tying the two together means that the consequences of your decisions end up feeling less meaningful than the associated combat bonuses, making it a bit of a questionable design move.
As with the original release, this PC update does manage to look and sound pretty damn good. In particular, the Vanillaware-style art is fantastic and makes it easy to overlook the sloppy game design in favor of progressing just to see what awaits. Another look from a text editor would have been appreciated, but I lived through the hellish days of early Japanese game localization so I’m willing to forgive a little awkwardness. I’ve seen some reports of bugs with the Steam release, but I didn’t encounter anything significant myself and Fallen Legion generally ran great on PC.
My stance on Fallen Legion+ is about the same as it was when it originally launched: it’s a decent first non-edutainment effort that seems to have been hampered by ambition rather than incompetence. A few more months layering on some polish and tweaking the combat system might have made this a great set of games rather than just a decent one. I’d suggest keeping an eye on YummyYummyTummy for reasons other than their goofy name in the future, as clearly they’ve got some potential.