Have you ever played a game you thought you’d love only to hate it 30 minutes in? Well, when I first played Malicious on the PS3 way back when, I was surprised that I didn’t just ‘not like it’ but that I hated it. I disliked it so much that I quit playing, deleted it and never looked back… until now. Malicious Fallen, has come back into my life and for better or worse, I’ve had to play it. Are my feelings still mutual? Yes, yes they are.
Throwing you in the deep end
The game has a very abrupt and thin story at the start of the game. You are a spirit vessel in the shape of a human who must fight former Malicious slayers. The Malcious are destructive beings that are created from our evil ways – a bit like Sin in Final Fantasy X. As the spirit vessel, you must defeat the other slayers, obtain their abilities and then fight the Malicious. The game itself is divided into different story modes, which are unlocked after you beat each story. Within each story you can pick and choose which boss you want to fight in any order. They’re pretty difficult and only get tougher with each defeat.
One of my main issues is that while there is a tutorial, it doesn’t really prepare you for the coming battles. Each level, or chapter, is essentially a long boss fight. Without proper guidance, you’re pretty much thrown into the deep end of pool and told start synchronised swimming. Now, I’m not a rookie gamer, but I do lack patience and skill when it comes to brawler games. And if figuring out combos wasn’t bad enough, it’s like fighting a boss from Bloodborne or Demon Souls. Each boss battle can take up to 15 – 20 minutes each, depending on your skill level. Upon defeating the boss, new combos are unlocked and new weapon parameters are opened up. At the start of the game, you only have access to light missiles and fists, but as you progress through the game, you gain access to a lance, sword, hammer, wings, claws, a tougher shield and more.
Failure to control the controller
It’s clear that I’m not a fan of this particular genre of game, and that comes down to personal taste. If you enjoy long and difficult boss fights, sure, then maybe this is the game for you. However, there are some actual issues that go far beyond my personal taste. First off, the controls, especially the camera, are bad. I would’ve liked tighter and more responsive controls, it seems like there’s always a delay when attacking with any weapon other than the missiles. Not only that, but the character is so slow when attacking, especially with the sword. The aiming is also terrible and the fact that you can’t select a specific, non-boss unit to focus your attack on is particularly annoying. The main issue during combat, though, is the shocking camera work. It will almost always jump around at the most inconvenient time and always gets in your way.
With the camera that constantly moves around, I struggled to attack the mini-hordes, attack the boss and dodge attacks, and landed up being smashed to pieces all the time. It’s very frustrating and didn’t exactly make me want to continue playing. I will say this, I got pretty damn far into the game, though I’ve not actually finished it.
Repairing some parts
I did appreciate some parts of the game I never picked up on the first time. Visually, the game is quite impressive and has a unique art-style that is over-the-top and very magical. Each location is quite interesting to look at, and the designs of each boss is rather stunning to see. For example, there’s a boss in the first story that’s the Shield opponent and you fight it in a massive war zone. He’s covered in armor and looks like a giant T-rex with balconies full of mini-enemies that come out of him like a Trojan Horse. While the fighting is mostly fluid, there are times when I can see a bit of stuttering, particularly when using the lance attacks.
Another high point was the Aura system. This is a key element with regards to fighting. In order to hit hard, you need to acquire Aura, which is obtained from the mini-enemies found on the battlefield. Defeat enough and you can use the Aura points to hurt the boss or to repair the spirit vessel. If you obtain a lot, you can activate an aura mode and really dish out some damage.
A short story
Despite being a game that’s focused on lengthy boss battles – almost like a boss rush mode – the game is fairly short. I got through the majority of the game in just over 5 hours (Technically I’m in the final story), though that doesn’t include the amount of failures and rage quits. I honestly don’t even know where that timer sits.
Aside from my personal tastes, Malicious Fallen is a decent game for people who enjoy tough boss challenges. While it does have some great-looking bosses, the camera and controls will definitely be high on your list of irritations. If you can manage to get past that, I’m sure you’ll enjoy trying to whip, cut, slam, stab and punch your way to the end of the game. Me, well, I’m going to rest my thumbs.