Title: Fallen Legion Revenants
Release Date: February 16, 2021
Reviewed On: PS4
The context of a game is vital. Its supposed era, environment, cast, nearly all aspects of its appeal that do not factor into actual gameplay. That collective is arguably more essential than mechanics when it comes to gauging and garnering interest from prospective players.
Assuming you aren’t playing a visual novel or the like, the gameplay is still the core of what makes a video game fun. Fallen Legion Revenants is a title that supremely excels at delivering a uniquely engaging premise that checks all the right boxes for appeal. However, actually playing can become a monotonously dull affair.
Fallen Legion Revenants partially takes place in Welkin Castle, a structure in the sky housing remaining survivors of humanity. The surface is fraught with a horrific miasma and creatures distorted by a plague. Lucien, one of the game’s central protagonists, resides within the castle’s walls and is a member of the castle’s council. He is a charismatic politician, possessing a humorously elaborate way with words. Rowena, the game’s other protagonist, teams up with Lucien. She is a stern, goal-driven revenant who seeks to come back to life to raise her son, Edwin. Together, she and Lucien aim to ultimately dethrone the ruler of Welkin Castle, the tyrannical Ivor.
The gameplay in Fallen Legion Revenants takes place in roughly 2 phases; combat and conversation. The former is self-explanatory in concept but can take a bit to grasp for those not thoroughly familiar with this execution. Players control Rowena and Exemplars, which occur on a linear grid system for both the party and enemies. Exemplars can attack and perform skills, assuming they have enough of their remaining gauge to act at all.
Skills have a variety of effects, including altering the grid placements of enemies and inducing elemental properties. Rowena has spells of her own that also serve to alter the enemies’ grid placements. The purpose of doing so is to create varying levels of open-ended strategy that players can involve themselves with depending on what Exemplars and actions they have at their disposal. There are multiple Exemplars players can obtain, and each has its own unique skill sets and equipment.
Defending is another vital mechanic of combat, as players can deflect both melee swipes and projectile shots. In all honesty, deflection is arguably the most vital aspect of combat as a whole since it serves to break the defense of enemies to stun them extensively. It also creates a good deal of needed breathing room in crowded battles, which become somewhat common in the game’s later stages. The level of creativity and freedom that players have with the combat is quite enjoyable, though it does take a little while to open up. There are also smaller avenues to fighting that get unlocked as you progress through the narrative.
Players also take control of Lucien, who converses with Welkin Castle’s denizens, particularly the council that resides within. He can befriend the residents and ultimately influence Rowena’s and the Exemplars’ efforts fighting monsters. These conversations are a delight to read since Lucien is a charismatic wonder. He’s caring in his own way and always seems to put on a show whenever in the midst of conversation. The other denizens of the castle respond to him uniquely, especially given certain dialogue choices. These interactions always feel fresh and meaningful, even though most of the extended cast do not get enough time in the limelight to make their own distinct sets of appeal.
The combat is where this title shines first and foremost; however, it’s also where part of this game’s issues start to arise. While combat is enjoyable, the game deals it out in an almost annoying frequency. The narrative moves at an uncomfortably slow pace, and the game seemingly falls back on throwing you into battles to supplement for its length. I honestly grew pretty bored at several points when playing due to the overall poor pacing. As fun as fighting is, it is not a replacement for the story being told.
This all disappointed me a good deal since the narrative’s premise is legitimately engaging, but the game chooses not to do too much with it in the grand scheme. While there are instances where the perspective switches to Lucien during battle sequences, creating a unique dichotomy between him and Rowena where he sometimes directly colludes in her efforts, it never felt like enough. The story feels like more of a backdrop than a driving force making you want to push forward.
Voice acted scenes are not terribly frequent, but they are well done. Each character has their own vivid personalities depicted through their voice work and is all quite charming. One small issue I had was how the Exemplars did not have fully voiced lines when responding to Rowena’s inquiries during battle sequences. This was a bit immersion-breaking since Rowena was fully voiced during these segments, so the Exemplars having battle cries as responses almost came off as humorous. The soundtrack did not make much of an impression, but it did provide a relaxing ambiance at points.
This is an admittedly minor gripe, but the screen transitions are too sudden and lack any fade. Obviously, this is not a massive deal, but I always had an inkling of fear that my game crashed whenever a scene ended due to the transitions’ suddenness. These could have been even slightly altered to make them feel more natural and cohesive.
Fallen Legion Revenants is full of fun, engaging combat, an interesting premise, and entertaining dialogue. However, the poor pacing between combat and narrative creates a disconnect that makes the experience monotonous at several points. This is by no means an irredeemable title. However, it is definitely preferable for players who do not seek to experience a continually engaging narrative and just desire enjoyable strategic combat. When it comes down to it, Fallen Legion Revenants does nothing especially egregious. It just fails to live up to the potential its opening preambles and premise set.
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