Thanks to NIS AMERICA for the review code
Title: Fallen Legion: Rise of Glory
System: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 05/29/2018
A compilation of two RPGs in the same universe, Fallen Legion: Rise of Glory contains both the PS4 Game, Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire, and the PS Vita game, Fallen Legion: Flames of a Rebellion, in one package. Both games revolve around the region of Fenumia, and the two main characters with their focus on trying to save the region from entering a fierce war through any means necessary, and a lot of the characters and locations appear in both campaigns. Choosing the female character, Cecilia will lead to playing Sins of an Empire, while choosing the male will lead to Flames of a Rebellion.
Being a sidescrolling 2D Action RPG, the game uses character art that looks like it attempts to bring the gorgeous art style of Golden Sun’s concept art to life, in the sense that it looks like an old painting with a touch of realism to it, although I do feel that seeing the characters moving in this art style comes off as very, very strange and jarring, leaving the art to stand out more during dialogue scenes. The menus do look nice though, and all the skills your chosen character can pull off in the game have their own circular icon which is a nice touch. There’s also some voice acting that plays out during important scenes, and it’s decent all things considered, but the voice acting also applies to the battles, and hearing your team issue the same commands over and over again can get really grating.
New to the Switch version (and eventually patched into the PS4/Vita games) is a Japanese voice track, which actually sounds a lot worse in this game considering how the setting and art style do not fit with the voice track at all, but it does a decent job for folks in Japan who want to import the game and play the game in their native language.
The main point of both games is to travel across the region of Fenumia and recruit people to your cause, while also making important choices for the sake of the kingdom. Both stories start out with a tutorial that introduces you to the easiest mechanics of the combat system, where all of your characters are assigned a button prompt to attack a limited amount of times before a cooldown takes place. Pressing these buttons in different orders can lead to your teammates (known as Exemplars in this world) building a combo. Holding the ZR button and pressing an attack button at the right moment will cause your exemplars to use a Link Attack, where their special moves can be pulled off one after the other for a deadly combo. (instead of whenever their AP allows for it) Your main character doesn’t fight up close and personal like your exemplars, but rather they use spells that can be activated with the D-Pad and X Button, whether it’s from reviving a fallen exemplar with Soulmancy, using a magic attack to deal some damage to the enemies, or healing your Exemplars when their HP is low. If all of your exemplars are defeated and you can’t revive them in time, one more attack from an opposing foe will cause the main character to die, prompting a game over.
Stages are usually broken up into multiple waves of enemies, where reaching the final wave or a boss battle is the key goal. In-between these waves, you’ll be informed of situations going on in the kingdom and prompted to choose how to respond to the situation. For example, you could choose to kill a suspected traitor, talk with him, sentence him to jail, or do nothing at all, and depending on your choice your exemplars will receive a benefit of some sort, whether it’s from extra endurance, an increase in attack or defense, or a new skill in the form of gems obtained from such events.
One major consequence that can happen result of these choices includes extra fights against NPCs, either to recruit them to your own team as an Exemplar or to stop them in case their ideals clash. Sometimes the kingdom itself might be unhappy with your choices, leading to slightly different enemy waves and the story possibly taking a different direction as a result of your actions. Considering how these choices aren’t too disruptive, I personally enjoyed going with my own moral instincts for these choices, rather than sticking to one particular alignment.
Sometimes when you choose a stage, it won’t even have any combat to speak of! This game is a story based game, and it wants you to know it, with some locations being fully dedicated to providing the next bit of plot for your chosen character. Still, there are plenty of battles to be had in this game, and each combat stage is ranked in three different categories based on your performance, all the way up to the S Rank depending on how fast you clear the stage and how well your offense and defense are.
Speaking of defense, that’s where the next layer of strategy comes from, since mastering the art of defensive techniques is crucial if you want to defeat equally defensive enemies. Some enemies have armor or higher stats to the point that normal attacks and button mashing won’t work anymore, forcing the player to actually master the small strategic elements this game has to offer. The easiest of these to pull off is a counter attack, which is done by pressing the L button the instant an enemy attack strikes you, and then hitting the attack button for the exemplar that blocked the strike in order to go for the enemy’s weak point. The game does teach you this technique very early on, but it gets a lot more complicated than just pressing the L button, since enemies will use projectiles and magic spells that are much trickier to predict than a physical move, and certain enemies will flat out not take any damage until you expose them with a counter. Getting the hang of this is also how you can learn to get S Ranks, although eventually you will need to get new skills and exemplars in order to have a chance at some stages that pop up only a few hours in.
In conclusion, Fallen Legion: Rise Of Glory is a decent action RPG with an interesting system for recruiting new characters and gaining skills in the form of your moral behavior. Sadly, it didn’t really hook me as much as I’d like, as even when I did get the hang of the battle system the game failed to have much of a hook in either story or gameplay to keep me wanting to play either campaign until the end, mainly due to the battle system being repetitive and the Sins of an Empire storyline being the only one I found any sort of interest in whatsoever.
This version includes more content and extra bosses compared to the original PS4/Vita duo, but I couldn’t seem to find any of in-game achievements to represent what the Sony versions had. None of them really tied to any optional content save for the One Life mode (You must complete an entire campaign without a single death) or triggering a Break Mode effect on the bosses, so the lack of them doesn’t really hurt the game’s replay value, especially considering how the Switch version has more content to begin with. Still, your mileage will vary for this game, as while it can be engaging and fun to build up your combos via chaining, the repetition will set in after a while and if the story was a lot more motivating it would really help things a lot more.
I give Fallen Legion: Rise of Glory a 5 out of 10.