is supposed to have a certain ebb and flow to its combat; the game insists that you're to build your "Aura" by slaying lesser enemies, then releasing it on the more powerful enemies. It never really comes into its own, however; there's a distinct lack of balance that feels like it closes off the routes that would make the gameplay interesting and only leaves the ones that are unexciting, yet effective. I found myself reserving my Aura to heal myself after each time I attempted to find some hidden depth to the close-quarters combat and received a grave injury from a brutal off-screen attack.
The Spirit Vessel is a modular combatant, and as you discover new uses for the Mantle of Cinders, the more potentially diverse the combat becomes. I say "potentially" because the balancing between these forms is mostly moot. Your most efficient strategy in combat is almost always going to be the one that is the least exciting. The projectile weapon earned at the beginning of the game? Itís really all you need, but I donít think I know anyone who would enjoy a 20-minute battle of painful, painful attrition. Youíll be yearning for something substantive that requires finesse, reflexes, and nuance, but in the end, the encounters simply were not designed with that in mind.
Boss battles may be Malicious Fallenís bread and butter (or more accurately, its entire being), but the greatest of all this gameís formidable foes is the atrocious camera system. I havenít seen one this unwieldy and defiant in years. Perspective is hugely important in a game that emphasizes situational awareness, environment negotiation, and verticality. When this perspective is denied the player, the gameplay gets just plain cheap. Focusing on specific enemies is wonky and only works some of the time, and the field of view is often obscured at the most inopportune times.
Malicious Fallen inspires indifference of an incredible caliber. It's not aggressively bad, but its mediocrity wholly prevents any kind of compelling response to it. A tiny subset of action fans may appreciate what it has to offer, but even that comes with a qualification. When you take into consideration the amazing lineup of releases on the horizon, it becomes incredibly difficult to even consider this one. Spare it a nice, brief, confused, side-eyed glance, and move on.