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When Empires Fall
Instant Action plays hosts to a lot of free online games and one of them happens to be Fallen Empire: Legions. The game is a free-to-play 3D, browser-based shooter that combines the gameplay pace and functionality of Unreal with the features and fast-paced flying of the age-old third-person shooter, Outwars.
The highlight of FE: Legions is that the game is really, really fast and highly intense with its near racing game-esque qualities and Quake-style shooting mechanics. And while I applaud the game for its originality and unique take on deathmatch-style gameplay within the free-to-play MMOFPS genre, there are a few striking flaws that keep it from being as good as it should be.
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Fallen Empire: Legions’ actual premise consists of robotic soldiers doing battle in maps about the size of Unreal Tournament stages with three classes of characters to choose from. The highlight is that every character uses boosters to fly or glide around the stage, similar to NC Soft’s Exteel, but faster. This is basically the crux of the gameplay where players will glide (or fly) continually to get from one area to the next, using a basic assortment of weapons to do battle.
The game sports a few modes of play including: deathmatch, team deathmatch and capture the flag. The most fun mode out of them all is CTF because players have to use a heck of a lot of tactical gliding/flying skills to grab a flag and out-maneuver opponent gunfire, and the varying classes play pivotal roles in either attacking or defending an outpost during CTF.
Now the whole light, medium and heavy soldiers with varying flying speeds, damage and defense was a great concept. Especially considering that the game revolves around tactically using the boosters to evade projectile fire or ambush enemies. However, the problem comes in with the weapon selection; none of the weapons work well unless you’re a keen marksman with rocket launchers and grenade launchers. The only automatic weapon is a chaingun, but it’s highly inaccurate and fires rather slowly.
I’m not sure why they have such a limited weapon cache on a shooting game of this sort, but it really hinders it from being widely accessible for gamers who can’t lob a grenade from 50 feet in the air or pop an opponent to pieces with rocket fire gliding past them at over 70kmhs.
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In conjunction with the concept of the game, the gameplay has its ups and downs in an equal manner. The highlight of the gameplay revolves around the lightning fast boosters that players will often use to perform evasive maneuvers or dynamic swoop-and-shoot attacks. The boosters add a whole new element of fun to the gameplay. Added to this, it’s a real spectacle just to watch other players engage in battle, using hills as ramps to blast high in the air and launch an aerial barrage of gunfire on opponents or rain a hail of rockets down while coming in to grab the opposing team’s flag. However, as a spectator the game is more fun to watch than it is to play.
The problem with Fallen Empire: Legions is that the reticule is quite large and the gunfire is quite thin. In other words, gamers who can’t land headshots on opponents who move like a blur – either flying or gliding across the screen – are more of the majority than the minority. I'm not sure why the aiming wasn't better adjusted along with the reticule for better shooting. Using the minigun to fire at opponents feels as useless as it looks, as most players who use it just spray and pray they hit something, similar to dual-wielding machine guns on Gunz: The Duel. The rocket launcher’s high rate of inaccuracy means it’s more-so good only for shooting at the ground where opponents are expected to land and hope it does enough damage to kill them, similar to the slow, inaccurate rocket launcher from Halo.
It would have been nice if there was a balanced rifle on the game given that it’s terribly hard to aim, shoot, glide, dodge and fly all at the same time. However, if you have skilled enough finger work to pull it off then the game is quite rewarding with technically impressive shootouts.
Using the gliders and maneuvering through the varied stages is quite easy, though, and figuring out how to make use of some of the obstructions for evasive or platforming purposes works well during capture the flag bouts. If gamers can muster the skill to use the weapons in this game then the rest is about as simple as a breeze in the park.
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Graphics and Sound
There is no music given that Fallen Empire: Legions is a browser game so it’s best to just open up the MP3 player and pop in your favorite tunes. When it comes to the graphics, though, this game does not disappoint by a long shot. It’s easily one of the most technically sound free-to-play third-person 3D games out there…yeah, it looks that good. What’s also somewhat surprising is that it only takes about half-an-hour to load the entire thing, which is very impressive.
Graphically it’s about on par with Unreal Championship from the original Xbox era, save for less light sources and dynamic shading. But it’s a browser game and expecting Crysis in your browser would be a little ridiculous, unless you were using OnLive. Anyway, Fallen Empire: Legions is a good looking game within the genre and gamers looking for something with fair graphics without it taking up tons of hard drive space will definitely find Legions fitting the bill quite nicely.
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The biggest upside to Fallen Empire: Legions, besides it being totally free-to-play, is that it has easily adaptable gameplay for twitchy-fingered gamers. If you’re the kind of gamer who can nail headshots easy in a game like K.O.S. Secret Operations or Crazy Shooter Online, then you’ll probably fare well with the weapons in Fallen Empire.
Utilizing the jetpack boosters as a prime gameplay gimmick also works really well for the game and offers players a huge tactical alternative to the standard-fare deathmatch shtick. My only gripe with this game is that the weapon selection is really sparse and I know free-to-play, 3D browser-based games should rarely come under too much fire for a lack of content, but it’s because of the stiff cache of guns that many players won’t find it convenient to land a kill in the game.
If you’re the kind of gamer who doesn’t mind shooting for half an hour without hitting anything but enjoys flying around with a jetpack, then you’ll probably feel right at home with Fallen Empire: Legions. Any gamer who doesn’t have the twitchy-finger syndrome suited for games like Alliance of Valiant Arms or Sudden Attack, would probably do well to stay away from Instant Action’s Fallen Empire: Legions.
For more MMOFPS action be sure to check out the complete Bright Hub MMOFPS Game Directory.