Fallen Legion: Flames of Rebellion Review – Different Sides (Vita)
PlayStation Vita owners are familiar with getting a reduced version of games that released on PlayStation 4. These titles are often plagued with technical issues, as Sony’s portable device just isn’t possible of running theses games smoothly without a significant overhaul. Thankfully, that’s not really the case with Fallen Legion: Flames of the Rebellion, as this version of YummyYummyTummy’s role-playing game isn’t a port of its PS4 counterpart, but rather a completely separate story that fills in some important plot points.
From a gameplay perspective, Flames of Rebellion plays identical to its PS4 counterpart, although there are some brief moments of slowdown that interrupt the action. This isn’t much of a deterrent gameplay-wise, as it actually let me time my blocks more effectively, but it’s certainly not ideal. I recommend checking out our review of Sins of an Empire in order to learn more about its unique combat, but here’s a quick overview:
[Fallen Legion] features an original battle system that assigns each character to a different face button on the DualShock 4 controller. This isn’t a game that attempts to play off the nostalgia of players, as it has grander ambitions. …There’s definitely a learning curve to coming to grips with its battle system, but any frustration that occurs early on quickly disappeared as my skills improved. Battles almost had a rhythmic construction to them as I hit buttons to trigger attacks, and watched the movement of my foes so I could block their attacks in time.
The big focus of Flames of Rebellion is that players get to see Legatus Laendur’s side of the story. In Sins of an Empire, Legatus is branded a traitor and serves as one of the game’s main antagonists. His reason for betraying Princess Cecille is never really revealed in that game, although it’s alluded to, so I was really interested in learning why the once loyal soldier would turn his back on his country. Since his betrayal happens early on, I got answers to this burning question a few hours into the game, and it really helped me understand the character more.
As someone who thought the story of the PS4 version fell largely flat, I came away rather impressed with how Flames of Rebellion handled its side of the tale. War is rarely something that is totally black and white, and YummyYummyTummy does a great job of humanizing both sides. They each are doing what they feel are right in their mind, and it made me far more invested in the characters than I was previously.
The one downside to the experience is that a lot of the twists the story takes weren’t really much of a surprise. That’s because I played the Vita version second, and I knew too much due to scenes I had seen in the other game. This lessened the impact of some core story beats, and I would recommend playing this game first. Not only would those events retain more value, but I feel that Sins of an Empire‘s campaign will be more enjoyable since players will be more invested in the overall story.
Flames of Rebellion
While the Vita version of Fallen Legion is its own game, it can’t fully shake off the stink of being a lesser port. As touched on briefly above, there are some technical issues that end up dragging down the overall experience. Lengthy load times hurt its appeal as a portable game, and the action is never quite as smooth as its console counterpart. It’s not bad (as long as players download the latest patch for the game as the game has major issues unpatched), but it’s certainly a step down.
Since the gameplay is identical to its PS4 brethren, that means I have the same issues with Flames of Rebellion. Some of the levels feel more like filler than unique content, which probably was made worse due to me playing both games back-to-back, and the boss fights start to outshine the regular battles by a considerable margin. It also doesn’t look quite as spiffy, but the art style is strong enough that Fallen Legion is still a joy to look at.
Despite a few technical issues, Fallen Legion: Flames of Rebellion offers up a satisfying role-playing experience. It features the more interesting narrative of the two Fallen Legion titles, and should be played first due to it. That said, it’s really too bad that neither version of the game shines as much as they should. The great-playing PS4 version is paired with a predictable story, while the Vita release is held back by occasional slowdown and long load times. I get why developer YummyYummyTummy chose to split their ambitious RPG into two halves, but the end product ultimately suffers due to it.
Fallen Legion Vita review code provided by publisher. Reviewed on PlayStation Vita. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.