A short while ago I had the opportunity to review Fallen Legion for the PS4, and I mentioned that I hadn’t had the opportunity to play the Vita version. Well, now I have, and my quote of “There are a lot of issues that people can be divided on: music, politics, flavors of jellybeans, and of course also ruling a country” is proving its worth even more so. While I greatly enjoyed the experience I had with the PS4 version, I found the Vita version to be a bit less enjoyable.
Let me preface the rest of this review by a bit of a disclaimer: the Vita version of Fallen Legion isn’t bad. Yes, there are some issues in the Vita version that were not in the PS4 version, but my biggest issue lies not in the gameplay, system format, or sound, but in the main character. While the PS4 game follows princess Cecille, the Vita version follows Legatus Laeunder. I didn’t like the Legatus. At all. I found him incredibly dim witted and hated his personality. A lot. If you haven’t read the PS4 review, allow me to give you a brief description of the opening plot: the princess receives a message saying her father has died, she needs to become the new emperor (much to her dismay), she receives a talking grimoire that is using its power to keep the country from collapsing, overnight someone steals some pages out of the grimoire, the princess must now sacrifice souls to the book to regain its lost power.
In the Vita version, we learn upfront that the great and genius Legatus is scared of this book, so instead of, oh, I don’t know, TALKING to the princess about it (who seems to value his opinion), he instead decides to break in to her tent while she’s gone and destroy the book. Except he can’t, so he just steals the pages, God only knows why. I would like to note at this time that, despite saying this book is evil and should be destroyed, he has no qualms using its power. The Legatus then finds out that the princess needs to sacrifice souls to the book to regain its lost power, so instead of returning the pages, he decides that this is the best time to denounce the princess as a ruler and stage a rebellion in order to become the new emperor.
For those who have either played the PS4 version or read my review, the gameplay is exactly the same between the Legatus and the Princess, apart from the order you get your units in. You have a world map where you travel between “nodes”, some of which are pure story and some are battles. Battles take place as turn-based combat with your units, called “Exemplars”, associated to each of the buttons apart from the triangle button, which is reserved for the main character. Exemplars have three actions that can be performed each, and after each action, the “action bar” will slowly refill as long as you aren’t blocking. Hitting enemies restores magic use, and perfect guarding will return an action point to your units and will usually leave an enemy vulnerable. There is also a “combo bar”, and the unit who performs an action at the end of the bar, that unit will use a “deathblow” attack, which differs depending on unit.
There is also a “choice” based system, where you will be asked to make a choice about something pertaining to your army within a limited amount of time, and your choice will impact morale. Unfortunately, these choices can be rather vague about their intentions. For instance, one choice stated that the princess was giving clemency to deserters, and my choices were: counter, denounce, and pay off (I believe). I THOUGHT that the denounce option would be denouncing the princess, but apparently it was denouncing the deserters. Which my army didn’t appreciate, much to my dismay. There is no exp or leveling, so you need to either learn to guard appropriately, or hope you get exceptionally lucky with how often your enemies attack.
Here is where we start getting into the discrepancy in gameplay between versions. After playing both versions, I felt as if the Vita version was easier to block in, but the enemies either didn’t have any indications that they were attacking or their attacks came too fast to adequately block. The camera was also a serious issue. You would expect the camera in a turn-based combat game to be fixed, but occasionally the camera will shift slightly. In the PS4 version, this adds a bit of interesting dynamic. In the Vita version, this could mean the enemies are off-screen. While this isn’t particularly unmanageable, it is definitely infuriating. The load times for the handheld were also significantly longer, sometimes bordering on the point that I thought the game had stalled.