Metamorphosize your heart. Unleash the hell inside. God, get out of my head!
My relationship with Compile Heart and Idea Factory games has been rather harsh. I’m not a fan of the games I have reviewed from them in the past. While I can see they hit a niche audience, I could never get into them – until now. With Fairy Fencer F, I was able to understand all the mechanics, and actually enjoyed many of the characters.
Players take control of Fang, a lazy, selfish, traveler who is obsessed with eating constantly. He accidentally finds out he’s a Fencer – a special warrior who can harness the power of weapons known as The Furies that allow him to use magic and transform into powerful beings. He’s then tasked by his fairy friend, who serves as his companion and weapon, to collect as many Furies as possible in order to wake a goddess that can stop an evil dark lord from awakening.
Platforms: PC, PS3
Price I’d pay: $25
Same feel, better executed.
In standard If/Compa games, the game is separated by combat and dialog cut scenes through navigation in an over world map. Players can see new events through watching portraits of the characters converse, then move to a different part of a map to go into dungeons. While in dungeons, they can explore, fight random enemies, and move towards the goal of finding a new Fury.
The mechanics are not overly complicated like they were in the previous If/Compa games I have reviewed. Furies hold a fairy in them. When obtaining a new Fury, players can then use the fairy inside to either equip and boost character stats or use them to add special stats to an area by using them on the map. These always come with a buff and a debuff, so I was always having some kind of a trade off. Customization is rather big here. Players earn a special currency from battles they can use to upgrade each party member. They can add new combo attacks, learn new special abilities and magic, and even buff up their attributes like attack power and defense. It’s complex and adds a lot of strategy to the game.
It’s morphin’ time.
Combat is similar to the other games from the developer. Players can move party members around the battlefield and depending on the attack/ability they want to use, must be in the vicinity of the targets. There is a decent amount of preparation involved when it comes to what ability to use, as well as what combo is best for a given situation. Since Furies can transform from different kinds of weapons, they can change from a sword to a glaive to then a gun if need be. It all depends on what combo attacks the players have unlocked. When getting hit and hitting enemies, characters will build up a tension meter. When at a certain point players can then “Fairize” to transform, and use ultimate attacks as well as up damage and defense significantly.
One thing I found really confusing was how things were explained, or rather, not explained. For close to three hours into the game, I didn’t realize I had actual magic attacks I could use because the game never actually showed me I had them. I saw fang had a fireball attack, but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out where it was when in a battle. Finally, after exploring all the menus, I discovered there was another tab for magic in the “magic and abilities” section of the battle menu. Things like this should have been more explained.
Hey, it actually runs great. This is a feat for them.
The presentation is decently done and the soundtrack is actually a pretty nice standout to me. The visuals are rather bland in many cases and the graphics look like a late PS2 title, but one thing I have to give the developers, they finally found a way for their RPGs to run without a drop in frame rate which always blew my mind. Fairy fencer F actually runs very well. While the voice acting is handled very well, there are a few characters that can get annoying rather fast. Still, this is one of the more enjoyable stories I’ve seen in an If/Compa game.
It’s still not going to go down as a world class RPG that everyone should play, but If/Compa fans will get a lot out of it, and it does some interesting things with its mechanics that I think many JRPG fans will enjoy. It’s simple in nature and complex when getting into the nitty-gritty customization and harder combat sequences. This is by far the best game the developers have released to date, and JRPG fans should check it out.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.