The beginning of the year is typically a dreadful time for games, most big titles release around the holidays leaving early January as a cesspool for asset flips, shovelware and VR demos. Though frequently there are hidden gems which can oft be overlooked in the flood. In comes Fallen Legion+, initially released on PS4 in the summer of 2017 and released on Steam in the first week of 2018. Developed and published by Yummy Yummy Tummy, the question that remains to be answers is will Fallen Legion be a hidden gem, more shovelware or something else?
Fallen Legion+ is actually two games combined into one package, Fallen Legion: Sins of an Empire follows the path of Princess Cecille moments after her father died. Though she has no intent to rule she will also do all that she can to protect her people and ensure that her homeland Fenumia survives to become a better kingdom. Meanwhile Fallen Legion: Flames of Rebellion has players take on the role of Laendur, a Legatus and former strategist for the recently deceased emperor. Though he himself doesn’t crave power he takes on the role of emperor and rebels against the royal family hoping to save his homeland from the corruption of the monarchy.
While the story is fairly middle of the road it presents the characters very well, both Cecille and Laendur believe they want what’s best for their kingdom. They also both believe that their counterpart will lead the kindgom to ruin. Laendur is played well as the idealist that had the role of emperor thrust upon him by those around him that believe his rule is best for Fenumia. He remembers his history well and understands that heavy is the crown of a ruler that is accountable to the people. Cecille meanwhile, is the next in line for the throne, with the Emperor dead she is the rightful ruler. She has no interest in ruling though and only chooses to do so because she fears that with no ruler, with no one wearing the crown that the Council of Princes will drive an ailing kingdom further into ruin. Overall the plot is simple and the main characters work in their setting which work well in the game’s favor.
Along the way they both learn to summon Exemplars, which are spirits that materialize in the form of past Fenumian heroes such as Longinus whom uses a spear or Zulfiqar a slow knight with high defense. Cecille learned such a power from a talking grimoire that was gifted to her by her father, Laendur learns the summoning arts after stealing pages while attempting to destroy the grimoire. Along the way, both Cecille and Laendur are given Diplomatic Decisions which present them with three responses to a situation each matching one of the three factions involved in court politics: The Prime Legion which is represented by a red banner, made up of the best soldiers in the lands. The Council of Princes which is basically a small court of nobles, here the Prince is no different than any title for a landholder. The final faction is the March of Congress, a scholarly group that practices a form of magic called soulmancy.
Each decision has a time limit which will countdown while the choices are on screen. An example might be that rations have begun to run low for your army, you can either: halve rations to conserve food, buy rations or send a party hunting. Each choice is considered good, bad or neutral depending on the situation. Each choice selected may also boost an Exemplar in your party and typically later on in the stage an NPC gives you feedback based on your choice. Some choices may also have gold highlighted text which indicates they’ll open an alternate path or side mission, but these are few and far between. The other thing here is that no one faction is entirely good or entirely bad, constantly siding with the March Congress or Council of Princes won’t always align you with one side of the morality spectrum.
This serves to highlight the primary weakness of the game, a moral choice system with little pay-off. The only way to gauge the morality of your character is in how your exemplars grow, if you make good choices then they will evolve to become Order Exemplars, on the other hand, though making mostly the evil choices will cause your Exemplars to evolve to become Chaos Exemplars. Moral choice systems in games typically have this problem, there is no or minimal reward for being neutral, most games might as well ask you at the start if you want to be good or bad and make the choices for you. Despite NPC interactions mid mission, there is little variation between picking mostly good or mostly bad choices, a few instances have different enemies based on choices. However, there are no major plot changes.