Fallen Hero: Rebirth

by Malin Rydén

Episode 1 of Fallen Hero
Superhero
2018

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
One of the pinnacles of Hosted Games, December 8, 2020
by autumnc
Related reviews: hosted games

Fallen Hero is one of the most popular Hosted Games, and it deserves its popularity entirely.

Fallen Hero came during a glut of superhero stories for Choice of Games/Hosted Games: there was the Heroes Rise trilogy, its spinoffs The Hero Project: Redemption Season/Open Season, and The Hero Unmasked, as well as the Community College Hero series and Paradigm City from Hosted Games (there are probably others I forgot, plus tons of WIPs). Something about superhero stories makes them well-suited for the CoG style: the power fantasy, the customization choices, the ability to easily slot your OC into an existing world. Fallen Hero doesn't entirely defy these conventions, but it does twist them in a way different from all the other superhero choicescript games.

As the title implies, Fallen Hero is about, well, a fallen superhero turned potential supervillain. You play as a former freelance superhero named Sidestep, who went through a traumatic experience leading them to turn against their former allies. The main path of the story is about the steps taken in the quest for revenge, and there is no way around it; you can decide whether Sidestep is reluctantly or eagerly embraces their goals, but their major actions will usually be the same. Most of the choices are reflective: how does your character feel about what they just did. In many games, this wouldn't work, but here, it absolutely does. The character of Sidestep shines through, and is always just so fascinating to read.

The writing in the game is superb, in my opinion. The prose is just really good and really memorable and enjoyable to read. As is the characterization, pacing, and so on. There's an excellent balance between fast-paced action, quiet reflection, pure horror, and even occasional moments of comedy. Speaking of which, your power is mind control, and you also control a puppet, another human body that you use for your own purposes. One of which could be to pursue another character romantically at the same time as your actual body. Yeah. There's an achievement for that.

It has somewhat of an unreliable narrator; there is plenty that the protagonist knows, but the player doesn't. What exactly happened to Sidestep to make them turn is never described (there will be a sequel). There are a lot of mysteries left. I enjoyed the process of trying to put together the backstory in my head; it took the second playthrough to really get it.