Fallen Legion: Rise to Glory tells the story of a war in the Kingdom of Fenumia from two perspectives: one being a princess who is given a strange grimoire after her father dies suddenly. The second is of the princess’s highest general who believes that the royal family has been compromised, so he tries to take over the kingdom to become its savior.
The game was previously released on the PS Vita in and the PS4 in the form of Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire and Fallen Legion: Flames of Rebellion. Each game told a different campaign. Now that Fallen Legion: Rise to Glory has made its way to Nintendo Switch, both campaigns are brought into a satisfying package that challenges both your skills and decision-making.
Scrolling Through Text
I have a lot of thoughts about Fallen Legion: Rise to Glory as a whole, and the story is definitely part of that. Starting out with the Flames of Rebellion campaign, I got to know the war from the side of Laendur, the general of the Princess. While I wasn’t a huge fan of having to scroll through text between each level, there is some smart writing going into the main characters at least.
The more I progressed through the campaign, I could start to feel Laendur’s struggle to keep his men on his side and try and take control of Fenumia the hard way. Despite being a traitor by definition, I could really begin to sympathize with the guy, because he had a really good point. The only criticism I have of the story is that the side characters were never fleshed out more than military generals, and there are some developments in the end that seem to happen too quickly for any real impact.
That brings me to the Sins of an Empire campaign. As I played through Flames of Rebellion first, it was easy for me to see Princess Cecille as the person who was unfit to rule. However, as I saw the events unfold through her eyes, I was quickly singing a different tune. This is a woman who never wanted the throne and even grew to hate it. Yet, due to her father’s death, she knew that her responsibility to Fenumia was more important than her desires. Once again, the writing is deep enough that I could understand Cecille’s thought process. The developments that happen in the end on her side of the story also felt a bit more earned, though that could’ve been because I knew what was going to occur already.
Strike and Decide
Moving on to the gameplay, this is something that I was unsure of at first. Fallen Legion: Rise to Glory takes the main character of its story and has them control a party of up to three soldiers called Exemplars. Each one of them has different stats and abilities, and their attacks are controlled by the “Y,” “B,” and “A” buttons respectively. Laendur and Cecille can aid with magic attacks with the use of the “X” button.
Fallen Legion: Rise to Glory is very formulaic at its core. The game is spread out in a series of levels. Each one will have you choosing your three Exemplars and automatically running through them. You’ll come across a group of enemies that you have to defeat, and you do that until the level is over. In essence, that’s really all that the game is. At first, I wasn’t sure if this could really work. However, it was a few hours through that it really started to click with me.
The game may be nothing but going through battles, but Yummy Yummy Tummy Games (no I’m not making that up) has fleshed out that system well enough that it really starts to get interesting the more you play. Your Exemplars will upgrade their own stats if they’re used enough. There are three Gemstone slots that function as perks that you unlock as you play the game. There is also a block button that can give you the advantage in combat if you time it right for a Perfect Block.
The battles all become about timing your attacks and watching your opponents to block at the right time. The only issue with this setup is that getting into this rhythm of striking and blocking is very ill-defined at the start of the game. Furthermore, the period in which you must block to execute a Perfect Block is also ill-defined, making it difficult to gauge when to use it.
Make Your Choice
Battling isn’t the only thing you’ll be doing in Fallen Legion: Rise to Glory. In between some of the fights, you’ll be given situations via text at the bottom of the screen that tell you to choose your course of action. They range from deciding whether to execute or recruit a group of spies or to heed the warnings of one your soldiers that someone is trying to kill you from the inside.
These decisions offer benefits to your Exemplars in battle, but they also have long-term consequences on your overall performance. Because of this, it’s not always the “right” choice that gets the best results. In order to get the most benefits and morale increase, you’ll have to think like a leader. I often found myself torn between decisions because I weighed the immediate stat boost between getting a longer bonus to my army’s morale. On top of that, certain decisions can open additional missions to complete. The only thing that I wish this system added was multiple endings.
On a 2D Plane
Fallen Legion debuted on the PS Vita. As such, don’t expect the world of the graphics in the game. Everything is in 2D and the characters are clearly anchored at certain joints. I wasn’t a huge fan of this style at first, but it did grow on me the longer I played the game. It also helped that there were enough flashy effects with the attacks that it was never ugly to me.
It’s worth mentioning that the game mostly runs smoothly. When a lot of attacks happen on screen at one time, the game can stutter and take a minute to catch up. I also experienced one situation where I got stuck during a level and had to restart the stage. It wasn’t an aggressive problem, and I definitely think the developers will take care of it in the future.
System reviewed on: Nintendo Switch.
Disclaimer: A review copy for Fallen Legion: Rise to Glory was provided by NIS America.