Fencers Fairies and Furies Oh My! | Fairy Fencer F Review
In a universe where the world is at bay with a battle between the Goddess and the Vial God, and you must choose which one to keep sealed away forever, the story should be an integral part of the conflict. But, it’s the lively characters and progressively entertaining battle system that shapes Fairy Fencer F into a fun RPG.
Fairy Fencer F’s story revolves around your main character, Fang, that has an intense hunger for food, of course. Throughout the game, he continuously talks about eating, in town, before battle, after battle; it’s always about food. He is the antithesis of a non-hero, which, if you play RPG’s often, should be something you are used to by now. But, where Fang sets himself apart from the other non-heroes is that he actually has interesting dialogue, something that can be said for all of the characters in Fairy Fencer F. While Fang may drone on about being hungry, the dialogue amongst the characters is interesting and snarky enough to allow for a chuckle rather than a sigh.
You meet Fang when he has to pull a sword from a stone, which will grant him one wish. Obviously, he wishes to satisfy his immense hunger, but much to his chagrin, out pops the first fairy of the game. Eryn delivers the bad news that Fang will have to do far more than pull a fury out of the ground to satiate his desires. He must find the furies scattered throughout the land to seal the Vial God once and for all.
While on his trek, Fang comes across a handful of great characters that add much-needed intricacies and comedy to the story. Each character has an interesting take, and while they sometimes overly dramatize the situation and often feel like satires of the characters they portray, it’s always good cheeky fun. But, like most RPG’s, there are various instances where the dialogue is solely written out with no voiceover. These occurrences only happen while in-town, but it still would have been nice as the English voiceovers are far better than what we are used to with games making their way through other territories.
The game is separated into hub-like areas where there’s one main town that has shops, the Inn where you talk to your fairies, pick up sub-quests and the like. The game deals with this situation with various menus, rather than having a walkable area. The game could have been that much better if it simply added in that town that many RPG fans must have. Personally, it’s not that much of a deal, but I could see where it would feel like you are playing a game of menus, instead of a standard town-centric RPG. The bigger issue with the world is the bland level design. Each level does have a theme that is different than the previous dungeon, but it just doesn’t look that good. Yes, it’s a last gen game, but it still pales in comparison to various other RPG’s on the console. Where the dungeons were left with a lot to be desired, the actual combat graphics provide some nice eye-candy.
The turn-based battle system is an often utilized form of battle, and it works pretty well here. The beginning battles can get a bit tiresome if your party becomes outnumbered, but through progression, you can earn Weapon points (WP) to boost your skills. While adding to the usual stats, the one most useful is one that gives you the ability to do combo attacks. These combos can be tailor-made and edited to your liking to launch, pierce and stab the enemy. It really is a nice change of pace to the way a lot of other RPG do their combat. It spices it up just enough, and the fact that you won’t be getting the full combo until well through your first playthrough means the combat stays fresh throughout. But, to enhance your already OP combos, you can fairize. When you fairizie, you merge with your fairy partner and enhance your damage and can do a special attack, at a cost. The special attack deals massive damage but comes at a cost of 40% of your health. It’s great for that risk/reward type of gameplay, but the combos are so overpowered once you get the full number of hits, there’s little reason to use the special move. To add to the devastation of the combo attacks is the avalanche combo. This is automatically triggered via critical hits and allows the other members to join in on the attack while still taking their own turn. This means a 4-hit combo could turn into a 12-hit combo.
Where the battling system is generally fun, the same cannot be said for the actual exploration part of the game. The hub locations are fine, but the quality of running around the dungeons just isn’t there. There’s a notable difference in graphical fidelity while battling versus exploring. To top it off, the frame rate is strangely inconsistent at times, especially when there’s not a whole lot going on. Exploring the world is a generous term as well, considering everything is a pretty tightly knit corridor. The “town” is also uneventful as it’s just a slew of menus to filter through.
This is one of those, it’s not about the destination it’s about the journey, type of games. The battles are fun and only get better as the time wears on. You can customize your character’s attributes, and every character is interesting, although it would have been nice if all dialogue was voiced as the voiceovers are really well done. While the story is pretty much non-important, the game relies on its strengths in characterization and battling to become a pretty good starting point for Compile Hearts’ Galapagos RPG brand.
+ Strong graphics/animations when battling
+ Great characters
+ One of the best localizations i’ve seen
+ Addicting battling system
– Lackluster story
– Menus will definitely be offsetting for many
– Inconsistent performance
– No real sense of exploration