In my heart, I was hoping this was some fan-made labor of love starring David Boreanaz as vampire. Wishful thinking, I guess you could say, as in Fallen Angel (80 MSP), you’re a French guy with a ponytail who is not David Boreanaz, taking on various missions in an open-world Paris that’s not bad looking by indie standards. Unfair or not, from the trailer you get the impression you’re in for a Grand Theft Auto-like ride, albeit on foot. This can’t be further from the truth.
The insinuation is you’re an angel, the circumstances surrounding that revelation unknown. Blessed with the ability to see the wishes and dreams of others, you now spend your days and nights bailing out perfect strangers with random acts of kindness, similar to the Nic Cage movie but without Meg Ryan or all the sappy parts.
It starts innocently enough, picking up gifts for people’s kids (turns out everybody’s birthday is today), but quickly goes dark. My question is, if you’re an angel, wouldn’t your moral compass point due north, without waver? Instead, you’re ‘stealing’ one mission, escorting a dealer to a drug sale the next. Hardly God’s plan, if you ask me. Then again it’s been a while since I was in Paris; maybe their idea of what constitutes being a good samaritan has changed.
That moral quandary aside, the gameplay is exhausting and repetitive. One dull Retrieval or Escort scenario after another, which is the good life. Bomb Defusing involves plodding along the city streets for literally minutes at a time. Sound fun? There’s no actual defusing either. It’s like a checkpoint race with an amazingly inadequate timer.
Completing missions levels up your character, which advance the ‘story’ and grant him new, obviously ‘angelic’ abilities, like car-surfing (because that’s never a bad idea). Fighting in Fallen Angel is just as boring and half-assed. You have a strange ‘energy wave’ option and a roundhouse kick at your disposal, neither of which is a pleasure to use. It’s all spam attacks, and all of the enemies shop at the same uniform thrift store, where lime-green is the only color and always in stock.
Guys, serious question: Is it cheaper to buy in bulk?
For being an open city, which would suggest exploration, you’re actually better off staying near the center, where most of the shops are located. Taking missions outside of that central concentration will only lead to long runs / rides, or, even worse, the Escort missions where you’ll have to walk the whole time to avoid separating from your contract. Besides gambling with your experience points at the occasional slot machine, you’re not missing much. The city may be detailed, but it’s all facade. You can’t even visit the Eiffel Tower up close.
I stuck around until I’d gained enough experience for level four (a half hour struggle), which touted the ability to fly. Parisian sightseeing from the air? Sure, I’m in. Though even that potentially cool component is wasted on clunky, limited controls that suck up your energy in a few short flights, forcing you into completing more of the fun-killing side missions to refill your meter. Ugh, no thanks.
The entire goings and happenings of Fallen Angel are brain-softening. It’s a tech demo, piecemealed into an overpriced game. I applaud the open world aspect and the general idea, but everything else about it is beyond lackluster and straight up insulting. No one playtested this other than the developer, I’m certain. If they did, they would have realized there isn’t an ounce of enjoyment here.
EDIT 8/27: An update for the game has been applied, the most important tidbits of which are the reduction in price (dropped from 240 MSP to 80 MSP), significantly reducing the amount of XP needed to advance in-game, and improvements to the HUD, animation, and the flight system.