Fallen Legion Rise to Glory (Switch) Review – Falling Down
Platform: Nintendo Switch (reviewed)
Publisher: NIS America
Release: 1st June 2018
The Switch still has a few genres which aren´t well populated by games. One of those few is the 2D side-scrolling JRPGs, yes that thing exists apparently. Given, I was surprised too but YummyYummyTummy sneakily delivered a promising looking 2part tale, now coming to the Switch with the help of NIS America, along with some improvements to the overall quality. If only it would play better …
As the name implies Fallen Legion Rise to Glory circles all around collecting power. Either in the form of Princess Cecille or Legatus Laendur, we take over their side, joining the fight for Glory in Fenumia. At least that´s what you might expect. However, what may put off some people is the fact, the game throws you into a big world, conflict and what not, without even telling much. So, it´s normal to both be totally confused and lost in the first few chapters. Hell, I couldn´t really follow any character or why he does what he does. The fact both stories start out entirely different since they were 2 different games, to begin with, doesn´t prevent this thing from happening a second time either.
Looking past those mediocre first impressions, I was more than surprised to find a pretty high-quality plot here. Fitting for its price tag, it has two full-blown campaigns, lasting several dozens of hours, which are really well written. They feature tons of dialogues and none of them, even side ones, fail to deliver unique characters or anything else one could hope for. While it doesn´t offer the most unique story of its kind, the way its written and presents itself in dialogues, as a confident, capable game, make the whole trip way more worthwhile than I hoped for. Really, I originally came for the gameplay, yet, found myself enchanted by this simple rivalry between two sides, despite the obvious cliché tropes and what not. Combined with the newly extended voice acting, Fallen Legion Rise to Glory feels so much more like the fantasy epic it wants to be, rather than an indie game, making me understand the Switch price just a tiny bit more.
Unfortunately, I can´t say the same about the combat because that´s definitely the biggest problem of the whole thing. On the one hand, it suffers from the same flaws as the plot, simply throwing you into a system with dozens of tutorial boxes. Getting lost isn´t just easy, it´s almost unavoidable, practically ending up in you smashing buttons for the first two levels until enemies start to cripple you in seconds. Only then you´re forced to re-learn the whole thing, introducing tons of downtime and frustration. Not a fun time, nor necessary, if only Fallen Legion Rise to Glory could explain its own gameplay.
Yet, once you dive into the thing, you´re greeted by pretty deep one. Your hero never fights by himself, only acting as a summoner for up to three parties “ghosts”, each with an assigned button to attack. With three possible attacks before having to recharge for some seconds, the ghosts allow for some neat combos, given you experiment and learn them. Depending on timing, role or attack order, all of them can create various different special attacks or finishers, that allows for some huge freedom of how you approach situations. In addition, there´s no dodge button, instead of the game completely relies on blocking enemy attacks or even parrying them when you´re fast enough. Combined with spells, to either heal, revive or unleash devastating magic spells, Fallen Legion Rise to Glory boasts some pretty impressive seeming framework.
Most of the time though, all those things tend to vanish into thin air between the frustrating checkpoint system and enemy design. What I had to experience first hand when I died during one of the early levels: When you die, you have to replay the entire level. Combine this with the confusing entry into the combat and timing based nature, then you´ve got an incredibly frustrating time in-between the opening. On top of that, there´s an unbelievable amount of bland enemy designs, relying on genre clichés or straight up recycling, which can be annoying especially later on. It´s not something able to crush your fun entirely but definitely something responsible for my slowly raising frustration with the whole game, despite my liking for the base combat.
Luckily, as I previously mentioned, Fallen Legion Rise to Glory has a pretty unique style. Presenting itself in a pretty great looking 2D fashion, mixed with live2D like animation, the whole game gets a very interesting flair to it, that at least I didn´t see until now in recent years. At the same time, the artworks surprisingly well with the special effects and modern improvements on the rather classic feel. Sadly the soundtrack or designs can never truly impress though, most likely due to the tiny nature of the development studio, making it feel somewhat “cheap” for a 39.99 title.
Is Fallen Legion Rise to Glory worth the price? Well, a hard question. It sure does feel like a more premium product, with full voice acting, several dozens of hours of playtime and way more than depth than anticipated. Though only if you´re craving for a sometimes flawed 2D JRPG should you consider spending the 39.99, as it´s still a surprisingly hefty fee.
[A Review Code was provided by NIS America]