I have recently looked at Fallen Legion: Rise to Glory and I was impressed with its storytelling, JRPG gameplay, and slick combat mechanics. However, I bemoaned its repetitive nature and how it felt more voyeuristic than inclusive. Consequently, when I was handed its sequel, Fallen Legion: Revenants, to review, I was a little hesitant. Would it evolve past its basic foundations, or was I in for more of the same?
Developed by YummyYummyTummy and published by NIS America, this is another story-rich JRPG with political undertones. Furthermore, it relies on buttery smooth combat, a crazy party system, and many much-improved mechanics. As such, I enjoyed the development of core ideas, and this sequel feels more mature and intense than its predecessor. What’s more, if you haven’t tried the first instalment, it matters not. Thankfully, no prior knowledge is required to enjoy the noticeably improved sequel.
In Fallen Legion: Revenants, a mother’s love never dies.
The great thing about JRPGs is that nothing is off the table. No matter how strange the concept, developers of this genre will consider anything. This is noted immediately when you find out that the lead protagonist is a spectre who is trying to save her son. Yep, you read that right, it’s a tale of a mother’s love from beyond the grave. However, bear with me as it’s not as insane or as terrible as you may think. No, instead, you quickly become accustomed to its weird plot and the odd political landscape that unfolds.
You control Rowena, a mother who will stop at nothing to save her imprisoned son. He is captured in a castle that is floating in the sky. Yet, she is not alone, as she enlists the help of the charismatic and often unreliable Lucien. This would-be go-getter must convince his peers that he is made of the right stuff to climb the ranks and control the surrounding area. By doing this, Rowena hopes to free her son and put right the wrongs of the past.
Teamwork, strategy, and slick combat.
Rowena acts as a commander-in-chief. Consequently, she commands an army of 3 fighters known as Exemplars. These ghostly figures have strengths and weaknesses and can be armed with equipment that is won during every battle. Furthermore, depending on their class, they will have different attacks and unique finishing moves. Alongside this, each of your warriors can be moved in formation to protect one another. Moreover, Rowena is utilised as a mage that can heal her party, or attack her foes at will.
This approach is very similar to its predecessor, but the developers have included a nice layer of tactical nuance thanks to a grid-based system. In this iteration, zonal combat is applicable, as are buffs and debuffs from spells. This was a brilliant idea that brought the action to life. No longer do you simply focus on blocking and attacking your foes. No, now you must dodge attacks while manipulating your team and your enemy’s positions.
This idea enhanced the already slick real-time combat mechanics and took the gameplay to a whole new level. Previously, you were only interested in parrying blows and combining attacks with your limited, but ever-refilling action points (AP). Now, you must be aware of your surroundings and the combat efficiency of each monster you face. This was quite a daunting task, as the fighting elements were quick and occasionally tough to master.
A new way to tell the story.
Previously, the story was told through an overworld node-based system. Now, this was serviceable, but I prefer the direction that Fallen Legion: Revenants has taken. Instead of this linear overworld view, you control Lucien as he worms his way up the ranks. Here, he finds out information that helps Rowena in her task to save her son. What’s more, this central hub is used to improve your party, choose your fighters, and set up formations before you enter each battle.
What was also great about this new and improved element was the QTEs that often punctuated the story. These moments were pressurised, fun, and often essential in improving your chances during each of the chapters. However, if you failed any of these events, it mattered not. Thankfully, it wouldn’t set you back, nor would it undermine those fights. Instead, it made you address each situation differently, and this kept you thinking throughout.
Another change that impressed me was the consequence-based interactions. Previously, you’d receive bonuses based upon strange and often unusual pivotal decisions. Now, the moments spent with the castle residents impact the surrounding world and your place in it. As such, you question your approach and every encounter you experience. Subsequently, this was a vast improvement over the last game, as this made you contemplate the advantages and disadvantages of everything you said and did.
Fallen Legion: Revenants has a familiar style.
If you are a fan of the genre, then you’ll adore Fallen Legion: Revenants style. The clean lines, contrasting images, and excellent sprites have a dated style that’s combined with a modern finish. What’s more, the excellent settings and smooth combat elements were fantastic to look at. If you then consider the easy-to-use UI, you get a simple-to-play game that is pleasant to look at.
Where this title falls short is its lack of voiceover work. Whenever the developers incorporated acting, the story was brought to life. However, when it was missing, and that was for large portions of the game, it wasn’t as immersive. This did disappoint me, as the soundtrack and sound effects were fantastic. Yet, with most of the story told through text-based dialogue, I was unfortunately left wanting.
Where Fallen Legion: Revenants excels is its excellent control system. Thanks to its thorough tutorial and superb button layout, this is an easy game to pick up and play. Furthermore, the responsive inputs and well-labelled UI make the rapid combat a cinch to understand.
As you progress through each chapter, you are awarded a score based on your overall performance and your ability to attack and defend. This scoring system increases longevity, especially if you are a perfectionist. On top of this, there are plenty of alternative endings that increase both longevity and replay value.
Fallen Legion: Revenants is a vast improvement.
I keep mentioning how much the game has improved. However, this doesn’t mean that its predecessor Fallen Legion: Rise to Glory was terrible. No, quite the opposite, in fact, as I enjoyed my time with it. Yet, there were many minor elements that needed tweaking to improve the overall experience. Thankfully, Fallen Legion: Revenants has done just that! As such, every area of this new instalment is much improved and consequently, I recommend you buy it here! Can you become a hero? Enjoy 2 intrinsically balanced stories that deliver drama and energy at every turn.