Fallen Legion: Revenants (PC) – Review
Follow Genre: ARPG
Developer: Yummy Yummy Tummy Inc.
Publisher: NIS America
Platform: Switch, PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S
Tested on: PC

Fallen Legion: Revenants (PC) – Review

Site Score
5.8
Good: Good art direction and fantastic OST
Bad: Gameplay feels drawn out and unbalanced
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Usually, games release on PC first, or at least simultaneously with their console versions. It’s not often that a new release debuts on consoles first -especially older hardware like Switch and PS4- before arriving on PC a year-and-a-half after the initial launch. Publisher NIS seems determined to buck this trend, however: hot on the heels of the recent PC launch of The Caligula Effect 2, another “older” PS4 and Switch title is now on Steam (as well as PS5 and Xbox Series X/S). We took a look at the PS4 version of the game last year, but with Fallen Legion: Revenants, a sequel to Fallen Legion: Rise to Glory, now available to PC users, it’s time that we cast our eye once again on developer Yummy Tummy Tummy Inc’s side-scrolling RPG. 

Story

Admittedly, yours truly hadn’t played Rise to Glory, the previous title in the series, and so we’re not sure whether Revenants’ narrative is connected to its predecessor. Perhaps Revenants’ narrative is easier to follow if you’re actually familiar with the events of the previous game, but the opening scenes of the game were more confusing than intriguing to us. The opening level immediately throws players into the action, introducing us to a ghost lady, known as Rowena, and a human noble known as Lucien. The game starts with a telepathic conversation between the pair as they have become separated in a massive structure -which turns out to be a prison of sorts. Lucien runs into the sinister Ivor, who acts as the warden of this prison, and who threatens to kill everyone Lucien holds dear -although this opening scene doesn’t explain his motivation, making it difficult to care about these threats.

After this opening stage, a flashback scene gives a bit more context, and makes things easier to understand: as it turns out, five months prior, a mysterious miasmatic fog had been turning people into monsters and the remaining population sought refuge in Ivor’s floating prison castle. Rowena and Lucien were among these refugees. After Ivor kills Rowena, Lucien seeks revenge for her death, whereas Rowena’s spirit is still bound to this world because she wants to protect her son. She’s seeking a way to return to her body and return to the non-spirit world. Once the story’s foundation was laid out, things were easy to follow, but unfortunately, difficult to really care about. Hammy dialogue and branching story paths influenced by your decisions did little to hide how little effort was put into making the protagonists interesting and the story failed to compel us.

Graphics

We really enjoyed Revenants’ art direction, from the anime-inspired character designs for our heroes, their enemies, and Rowena’s Exemplars, which are basically anthropomorphized weapons, to the highly detailed backgrounds. The game makes use of a limited color palette to reflect the bleak atmosphere, and for the most part, this works although it can be occasionally difficult to distinguish certain design details. We weren’t fans of the way things were animated, however: Revenants uses the so-called “paper doll” animation style, something that is often seen in video games these days because it’s cheap to do but ends up looking flat and lifeless.

Sound

In a game where pretty much every other aspect failed to enthuse us in some way, the OST is a rare highlight, with adrenaline-filled combat music and subdued tunes that play while exploring as Lucien. Revenants also features both English and Japanese voice acting -although the game isn’t fully voiced. The performances are good, with the English voice for Ivor in particular standing out, as the malice imbued in his words almost becomes palpable. Sound effects fare less well: during combat, they are almost completely drowned out by the music; not that they would have stood out otherwise, however.

Gameplay

The two protagonists each bring a different style of gameplay to the table in this sprawling side-scrolling ARPG, with Lucien tasked with unfolding the story while Rowena deals with the nasty creatures that roam the castle-prison. Their respective halves of the game feel distinct as a result, with a heavy focus on stealth, fetch quests, and branching story paths in Lucien’s case, and turn-based fights for Rowena and Exemplars. The game alternates between the pair even within the same chapter, switching between two gameplay styles on the fly. This all sounds good in theory, but in practice, Revenants leaves a lot to be desired in terms of gameplay.

Rowena’s fighting stages are set in long hallways where she and her Exemplars move from enemy encounter to enemy encounter. Actual combat takes place on a grid, and positioning is important, as certain buffs often only apply to specific squares. In a vacuum, the combat system is decent enough and provides plenty of tactical depth, with a variety of elemental type-based attacks and the ability to block and deflect enemy damage provided you have good timing. There’s nothing inherently innovative or special about the mechanics, and battles against enemy grunts are fun, if a bit repetitive. It’s when bosses rear their ugly heads that Revenants starts to show its flaws: boss battles feel unbalanced and drag on for way too long. It’s not that we mind a challenge, but bosses are often able to soak hits to the point that they feel impervious, and dish out massive damage in return. Often, you’ll need to stun them to do anything meaningful, but the window to do so feels unfairly short. You’ll get a couple of seconds at best. If this was something limited to maybe one or two final bosses, it would be fine but the frustratingly ineffective boss battles made their first appearance near the end of chapter two and continued throughout.

Lucien’s half of the game eschews combat completely and aims to feel like a mission-based adventure game. He’ll sneak around corridors of the prison-castle, talking to NPCs, tracking down key items, and making decisions that influence the story. We wouldn’t say that his part in Revenants is inconsequential, as it determines the flow of the game, and it also allows you to gather resources to power up Rowena’s Exemplars, directly influencing their battle performance. The downside to Lucien’s influence is that because of the way Revenants is structured, you’ll be forced to reload the chapter and replay Lucien’s sequences should you fail with Rowena, rather than restart wherever the focus last switched between protagonists. This means that if you run into an enemy that gives you a hard time and you decide to swap which Exemplars accompany Rowena, you’ll also be replaying Lucien’s parts. We don’t know how Yummy Yummy Tummy Inc. decided that this was the way to go as it certainly doesn’t sound like our idea of fun to do the same fetch quests over and over again. Fortunately, boss battles can be restarted from the boss, although wanting to swap out Exemplars to gain an elemental advantage does mean a full-stage restart.

Given how disjointed the two playstyles feel in the first place, Revenants would have been far more enjoyable if the game had taken a different approach to its chapter structure. Revenants clocks in at roughly 20 hours to play through, and it features branching story paths and different endings. That may seem like a good deal, until you realize how bland the exploration gameplay is, and how needlessly frustrating the boss battles are. When a game feels like a chore to play through, then there is very little reason to play it, let alone revisit it in order to see the various endings. The game makes a good impression up until the end of chapter two, where you’ll hit that boss battle difficulty spike -after which things continue to go downhill.

Conclusion

On paper, Revenants has a lot going for it: an interesting blend between two distinct playstyles, a solid combat system, and a narrative that is influenced by your decisions. The game also opens very strong and makes a great first impression, but the more time we spent with it, the bigger our disappointment. Unfair and unbalanced boss fights, dull exploration sequences that you’re forced to play over and over again as you’ll hit a wall in combat, and overall uninteresting protagonists make for a game that ultimately fails to motivate you to sit through it until the end.

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Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
Fallen Legion: Revenants (PC) - Review, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
SebastiaanRaats


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