Malicious Fallen

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Malicious Fallen Game Poster Image
Hack and slash through challenging, violent action game.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Obvious "good vs. evil" theme, but deeper message of how power can corrupt even best people. Main bosses didn't start out evil but were tempted, ultimately tainted by power they were gifted with.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While acting as heroic champion, player is essentially only a vessel for power of the Prophets, an avatar chosen to fight coming darkness. To prepare for this fight, that vessel must defeat dark, evil versions of heroes that came before.

Ease of Play

Simple controls, but effectively making use of chain combos takes lots of hard work, practice, as does knowing how, when to use different abilities. Even tutorials, practice options aren't much help; players tossed into deep end, left to fend for themselves.

Violence

Constant, nonstop action, violence. Players use variety of brutal melee, ranged attacks to take on numerous waves of minions, huge bosses, many of which have humanoid appearances. Most creatures spray dark, blood-like energy when defeated before disappearing. Player damage represented as dismemberment, with character's lost limbs being replaced by a shadowy skeleton until healed.

Sex

Some costumes are a bit risqué. As players heal from damage, lost limbs return but not clothing. This can leave player fighting in shredded tatters revealing more of character's body, (for both male, female).

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Malicious Fallen is a downloadable hack-and-slash action game. Players use magical abilities to fight through hordes of minions while simultaneously fighting against powerful (and sometimes massive) boss creatures. Some of these enemies are more humanoid in appearance than others. While there's not much blood shown, most enemies die in a big splash of dark energy. Also, when players take damage, it literally tears them apart, leaving ghostly skeleton limbs in their place. Once healed, these limbs return to their fleshy form, but the clothes the character was wearing aren't so lucky. While the game does give players the change to practice in some tutorials throughout the game, these practice sessions actually do very little to prepare players for the high difficulty faced in the actual game.

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What's it about?

MALICIOUS FALLEN is a remastered collection of the Malicious entries for the PS3 and Vita. Called upon by the Prophets to defeat the looming threat of the dark entity known only as "Malicious," players take on the role of the "Spirit Vessel," an avatar meant to collect the spirit of those corrupted by the coming of Malicious. By defeating these epic bosses and their minions, the Spirit Vessel grows more powerful and gains access to new abilities, all of which he or she will need to finally vanquish Malicious and save humanity once and for all. This third release of Malicious expands on the previous content with the addition of "Pursuit" and "Demise," two more episodes further expanding on the game's mythos and adding even more gameplay elements to the experience. 

Is it any good?

This hack-and-slash title can be engaging, if players can overlook the massive difficulty spikes and complex button combinations to succeed. It's nice to know that, in the world of video games, whenever there's a world-shattering threat, there will always be a "Chosen One" to fight against insurmountable odds to save the day. Normally underpowered and outmatched, players usually have the hero go through a lengthy quest, slowly and methodically fighting through foes and building up strength before taking on some big bad boss and moving on to the next stage. Malicious Fallen takes a more streamlined approach to this formula, having players simply pick a stage and dropping them right into those big, bad boss battles while tossing in waves of minions for good measure. It's a daunting task, made more so by the fact that players have to dive right into the thick of things without any real direction ever given by the game. Sure, there are a few tutorials and practice options, but these only show the bare minimum skills against weak enemies. But the minute the player gets into the actual game, much tougher enemies quickly overpower the player and, literally, rip him or her limb from limb. It's difficult enough to deal with the mobs of minions, but the boss creatures can oftentimes take out the player with only a few hits.

Setting aside the issues of difficultly, Malicious Fallen is a pretty solid arcade-style hack-and-slash game that would feel at home in an arcade. Button mashing and strategic combos are key to survival and, thankfully, relatively smooth and fluid to pull off -- at least after lots of practice. Switching between abilities mid-combo works nicely to clear a swath through minions or land a particularly heavy blow against a boss. The game also is surprisingly deep, with complete backstories available to read for each of the game's four "chapters." Malicious Fallen also adds a wardrobe full of outfits for the player. More than cosmetic changes, these outfits tweak things such as increasing attack power at the cost of defensive capabilities or providing extra movement and healing speed. It's a cool little addition, but admittedly the tweaks offer only slight changes to the overall gameplay. Still, if you're willing to be patient with the game and to suffer through a lot of trial and error during that learning process, Malicious Fallen can be a fun, if oftentimes frustrating, challenge that hard-core action fans should appreciate.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in video games. How does the constant stream of violence in hack-and-slash games such as Malicious Fallen affect kids? Does the fantasy setting and magical nature of the combat lessen its impact as opposed to more "realistic" experiences, which might have more graphic but less overall violent content?

  • Talk about human nature and consequences. What are some of the things a person should consider when facing difficult decisions? What are some of the reasons for the belief that power corrupts? And how can a person recognize when the consequences of their decisions might outweigh the benefits?

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