When Malicious was first revealed, gamers marveled over the visuals. It was bright, had an interesting style and flowed quite nicely. However, the final product wasn’t that impressive. Some of these concerned were addressed in Malicious Rebirth, adding a couple of fights, new powers and more. Even though it wasn’t perfect, it was a step in the right direction, leading us to the latest, Malicious Fallen. With two new modes, including the final story arc, more bosses and powers, is Malicious Fallen the game we always hoped the original would be or is it more of the same?
Contrary to Malicious’ pleasant visuals and unique approach, the story is pretty bland. The first arc involves a group that asks you to defeat the other power uses and then stop this malicious force. After defeating the force, Malicious Rebirth reveals a new threat and the force is still alive. The final arc, Malicious Fallen, tells you that the cycle might start again and you’re needed to put an end to it.
Part of the story’s problem deals with the game’s length. Depending on your skill, each story takes about an hour to complete, with skilled players getting it down to 30 minutes or less. This is hard to convey an interesting story, especially when you consider the bulk of the time is devoted to fighting enemies. The other part is how bland the story itself is.
The dialogue helps to explain what happened or why it is important, but there isn’t enough to bridge the gap between good and what you could guess from context. Not to mention the reliance of standard tropes, such as warriors who lost their way or there being a final fight, after the final fight.
Beyond the story is a game that is, in a word, frustrating to play. Malicious Fallen suffers from three key issues, which makes it rather inaccessible and not enjoyable. The first is a steep and random learning curve. For a game that is roughly three hours long, there simply isn’t enough time to get use to the combat system or master each tool, especially since each stage unlocks a new one. By the time you get all the weapons you’re told to fight the final boss and then the cycle continues two more times. This wouldn’t be a problem if the fights were fun.
While you need to wait for openings and plan your attack, most bosses have mechanics or elements that make them outright tedious. These include one hit kills, tons of homing attacks, almost every boss has close and long range, very large AOEs and more. The problem with later bosses isn’t that they’re harder, but the reliance on such outright annoying mechanics. One boss can drain your aura, a gauge that lets you heal and increases your attack power, which heals him, along taking damage during a certain attack or hitting you with an attack. The absolute final boss has a mechanic where if you lose a part, this is your health gauge, you lose the ability to heal for like 15 seconds and if you lose another before the time is up, it simply resets.
In addition to annoying mechanics, the controls can also be frustrating. Most of this is due to the camera. Bosses can run, jump and be all over the place, giving you awkward camera angles. This can be a problem, since every stage is just a boss fight and even boss has endless waves of adds. By giving you a bad angle, you open yourself up to taking damage from an enemy you can’t see. Thankfully, you can cancel lock on or never lock on in the first place, though you also run the risk of the same weird movements catching you off guard because you didn’t watch the boss. This stuff doesn’t pose too many problems, though it was a nightmare for the first boss in the demise chapter.
This boss has something like six arms you can attack, along with attacks that use the floor or appear in set locations. The issue with the camera is, if you’re locked onto this enemy in one of his forms, it will lock onto the middle eye and make it extremely difficult to see anything around you. There were several instances where the boss would change forms, my camera would mess up and I would take damage or land in something because I couldn’t change fast enough.
Almost all of these shortcomings come up in the other mode added in Malicious Fallen. Instead of another story mode, the other mode is about defending an object for a certain amount of time. This would be fun if you didn’t need a lot of skill and knowledge of the game to enjoy.
What makes this so frustrating is you need to fight bosses and stop enemies from summoning debuffs. If you get one, you lose attack, aura, defense or the ability to heal until it’s gone. Taking them out isn’t too bad, but it moves your focus away from the enemies summoning them, which can cause a problem. While all this is going on, you also need to fight bosses. If you want any hope of winning this mode, you’re going to have to know how to burn every enemy or you will get overran. Before I knew how to take out the second boss that appears, I would typically get hit by multiple debuffs and eventually three or four bosses were trying to kill me and it was impossible to come back.
Even though this doesn’t depict a great image for Malicious Fallen, the game does have some depth. There are multiple weapons, each with different attack modes and upgraded forms and several have the ability to chain with other weapons. So you can swing your sword, swap to the fist and punch, followed by plowing enemies with the spear. These mechanics take some getting use to, especially considering it shouldn’t take you longer than four hours to beat the three story modes, but are nice if you want a fuller experience.
Malicious Fallen isn’t the worst game, but it makes a lot of bad choices. Besides having a boring story, the bosses are just not fun to play. They aren’t hard, especially since you have ample time and resources to beat any of them with any level of skill, but if you’re not good at the game you will be tossed around like a rag doll and each one will take a bit. If that isn’t enough, the latest mode is almost inaccessible unless you’re willing to master the game. Combine this with so so controls and you have an experience most can avoid. However, if you still want to see where the story goes or enjoy the visuals, it isn’t the worst experience around.
[Editor’s Note: Malicious Fallen was reviewed on PS4 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Malicious Fallen Review,