When was the last time you had an impulse purchase completely surprise you? Our game today is one of those for me. Fairy Fencer F
is a turn-based RPG developed for Sony's Playstation 3 and Microsoft Windows. I initially had some doubts, since I saw the game was developed by many of the same companies behind the Hyperdimension Neptunia
series. To be fair, I've only played the first Neptunia
game, and it was a real chore. You can check out my review of that game here: http://www.rfgeneration.c...mension-Neptunia-2957.php
Once I started playing Fairy Fencer F
, I noticed that some monster designs looked different from what I saw in Neptunia
, but many looked quite familiar. In addition to Idea Factory's character designer, Tsunako, they managed to add an extremely familiar name to character design for classic RPG fans, Yoshitaka Amano. I'm sure he was brought in for the male characters and monsters, since the two leading ladies look like Neptunia
rejects. Meanwhile, Fang looks like Squall and Sora's love child. He's not the only one who was added to Idea Factory's staff for this project, and he's not the only one from the series we all know him for. The original Final Fantasy
composer also joined the team. That's right, Nobuo Uematsu composed some songs and had his band, the Earthbound Papas, record them and a few others for the soundtrack. Most of the music was done by the existing in house musicians, but its all good to listen to and fits with the game and characters quite well.
Comparison of Valafar with Catoblepas from Final Fantasy VIII
Visual novel cutscenes are the norm here, complete with realistic breathing animations! Unlike Neptunia
, most of the gameplay design is much more in line with the classic Japanese developed RPG formula. Items rest in a menu accessed at any time outside of battle and during a character's turn. Magic exists with each character and each holds strength with a certain element. Combat includes a robust combo designer that you can customize. You also have the ability to freely position yourself within a given radius for each character during their turn. Each Fairy can transform their shape in battle for real time weapon changes, like from a sword to a scythe, in a split second. All these combat skills, magical spells, number of combo hits, and general character advancement is done in another menu, and Ability Points can be allocated to all of these abilities and stats.
Money is best gathered by taking the plethora of quests available at the main tavern. Most of the monster murdering quests can be easily done on a routine trip to a new dungeon, but some will need you to make use of some fairies's abilities to alter dungeons by planting them in the overworld. This is not a big problem, since most dungeons are quite tiny until you get to the dungeons at the end of the game. Some of these abilities can be customized at the inn in the Goddess Revival system. There are 40 total fairies to find in the game, and getting all the optional ones, adds another character to your party.
As I moved through the story, it felt like Idea Factory, Compile Heart, and the rest of the team working on this game really made a love letter to classic Squaresoft. I'm not just saying that because some of the old staff is here. I'll just say that there are some twists and turns that made me say the names of individual Square games out loud. If you end up playing this game, you'll find out what I mean.
Video from AginoEvolutionHD.
When you start a new game, you get some background to the story and world. When you move to the main character, you find that you are playing as a young man named Fang. You're in jail. Fang is woken up by the sound of a girl's voice; this is Eryn, Fang's fairy. As soon as Fang is broken out, you have a flashback and learn how the two met, and how Fang is probably Rincewind in disguise. He only pulls out the Fury because he wants to wish for a lifetime supply of delicious food, something Eryn cannot provide. From there, the two set out a journey where they have an interesting meeting with Tiara, who ends up giving Fang and Eryn lodging and access to food, despite protests from Tiara's wallet. Fang learns more about the battle between the Goddess and the Vile God here, and the story really gets started with a quest to find all the Furies. Their main competition is Shin-Ra Corp. No, that's not right..... It's called Dorfa Corporation, and they have a squeaky clean public image, and their own reasons for collecting the various Furies.
I would take the aggregate scores you find online with a grain of salt, as I feel that these scores are more reflective of the technical shortcomings of the game. Because of these scores, and being a low run Nippon Ichi published game, I feel like many have overlooked Fairy Fencer F
, when there's actually plenty to love about it. There are some frame rate issues in dungeons, and there's nothing too groundbreaking in terms of gameplay mechanics. Some of these mechanics are presented in unique and interesting ways, but they're nothing an RPG fan has not played with before. I feel the story and characters are strong enough to carry the game on its own, since all the other systems in the game are competent enough to not slow your progress down too much. If this game interests you, I would hold off on picking it up for PS3 or PC for the time being, since the game just had an expanded version release on November 5, 2015 for PS4 in Japan. Idea Factory has recently announced a Western release for Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force
for PS4 coming in the Spring of 2016 as of this article's posting.
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