Malicious Fallen may not be developed by Platinum Games, but it sure does look the part. This may have something to do with the fact that developer Alvion supported Platinum Games during the development of such titles as Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Bayonetta 2, and Anarchy Reigns to name a few. Malicious Fallen delivers some beautiful, colorful, anime-inspired visuals, and presents a familiar approach to massive-scale fights and flashy combo attacks. But that’s not enough to shake the feeling we’ve seen it done bigger, better, and more cohesively elsewhere.

Malicious Fallen tells the tale of a land ruled by an insane king whose wife makes a deal with supernatural powers in order to end her husband’s reign of terror. After he’s gone, however, she finds herself more than a little hesitant to give up on her power trip. She becomes the new despot, subsequently granting her best warriors a share of the glory in rampaging across the countryside. A group of prophets, loyal to the powers beyond, have you in their back pocket. You play the part of the Spirit Vessel, who’s been imbued with all the remaining magical power left in the universe, along with a cape called the Mantle of Cinders, to go forth and triumph over evil.

Since all of this is presented in text form, however, it ends up as an easily missable cover story for what essentially boils down to a dazzling boss rush that throws you to the wolves within minutes of starting the game. You’re given a short, perfunctory tutorial, a series of portals to choose from, and off you go. The brevity of training could be forgiven if the game were more of an arcade-style brawler where you only really need to know how to hit, dodge, and maybe perform a flashy special, but Malicious Fallen–to its credit and curse–offers a combat system full of tiny intricacies that only really come together via rigorous, Sisyphean trial-and-error.

You begin your quest with a few attacks: the Mantle of Cinders can turn into a shield for defense,

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