Fairy Fencer F is a brand new RPG by Compile Heart that introduces Fang, a lackadaisical, obstinate, starved individual who visits Zelwind village. Upon this starving traveler he comes across a sweet looking sword. The villager tells him that it’s a Fury, a weapon that contains a fairy which grants a wish to the person who wields it. However, no one has been able to pull it out of the tree it’s rooted on, in a very Arthurian way.
Fang takes a swing and easily pulls it out; when the fairy Eryn comes out from the Fury, Fang immediately gets hungry. When she denies him and instead says that he must collect 100 Furies to revive an old goddess to be granted a wish, he gets upset and wants to return the sword. Following a favor Eryn did to save Fang’s neck, he becomes annoyed and indebted to her to regain Eryn’s lost memories and perform the quest.
For the story of this game. It does start a bit quick and a bit scatterbrained but the story progresses to be more interesting later on. Fang’s character is very reminiscent to the long-haired Luke fon Fabre from Tales of the Abyss. Despite this, he’s seemingly weaker in character development for the title due to his flip-flopping of attitude in various situations. He does, however, become more amicable and relatable as time goes on.
Presentation of this title is one of the best this year in my personal opinion between the story, character interactions, music, all the way make Fairy Fencer F feel like a playable anime episode utilizing 3D characters. There’s enough quirky personalities that still manage to not go overboard like Mugen Souls, while still drawing back to an engrossing story filled with energy. Within the title is also a killer music selection that to me screamed of an anime episode.
Fan service is surprisingly not as extremely obnoxious as people may believe. The one character, Harley, is regularly the prime example of fanservice being handed out with her provocative character design. Her appearance dabbled in the service for a brief moment within the introduction of her character in the beginning. This was toned down to only a few special attacks that zoom up on the cleavage and jiggle for a brief second, so for those thrown off by heavy usage of it, fear not.
In fact, what they did with Harley was make her disgusting and unkempt in personality to throw off the sexy imagery, which I found pretty entertaining. One of the coolest smaller features that I found was that all the Fury’s that the player picks up have different personalities – they even change their monologues based on story and location, which is just awesome on the presentation
Battle in this game is very Mugen Souls/Hyper Dimension Neptunia influenced but still does a few things differently. Battles unfold in a party of 3 via a turn-based style of combat. When a character’s turn arrives, the character can move wherever they please within a limited distance to position themselves against the enemy. The player can then set up command based combos utilizing X, Square, or Triangle. When performing combos and taking damage, the player’s tension bar rises, and the higher the bar the bigger the damage inflicted.
When the Tension bar reaches a certain threshold, the player can utilize their Fury to transform into a psuedo-mecha human hybrid that drastically increases attack power (or to Fairize). When the player gets damaged, the Tension bar will drop drastically until it is too low to support the transformation. Players can also opt to use special skills and even a character based specialty skill later within the title. Combos vary with launch attacks, rush attacks and straight attacks.
These attacks can also be varied with weapon types to which the Fury’s will change form while performing. When attacking a weak point the player has a chance to launch an avalanche attack, which involves all the characters within the combo, without effecting turn order. There’s a ton of options to choose from to edit your combo; although I realize what could have been possible status effects for certain techniques as they weren’t within the game itself, but that’s just a little nitpick.
Players are rewarded with your standard exp and gold but also provide WP which is Weapon Points. This accumulation of points allows the character to purchase special techniques, skills, combo moves, and parameter buffs. It does a good job in providing a rewarding grind with the reward and choice of more skills with limiters set up based on story progression to avoid overpowering too early.
There could be a more desirable variety to magics and perhaps character based skills as there isn’t a huge selection of skill based attacks or attack magic with basically 3 magic attack skills ranging one of each to weak, decent, and a heavy hitting spell and few attack skills ranging from 3-4 skills.
Character abilities are the exact same skills amongst all party members which would have been nice to add variance as party leaders are interchangeable and provide an even stronger reason to switch party members constantly. The skills are enough to get away and still enjoy the title but especially for the upcoming sequel of this title, they should add more varying magic/attack skills.
The world map is slightly on the disappointing side, yet it redeems itself a bit. When seeing the continent area you are located at, that’s pretty much all there is. So the enjoyment of viewing other lands is a bit deprived, which I’m imagining is being held up for the sequel, but seeing what you get is a bit droll. For story reasons, the game has you revisiting dungeons with different monsters, which I felt was a bit of a cop out on establishing new dungeons.
They do add some new dungeons later on, but to extend gameplay they do make you repeat all the dungeons. What they do to redeem this however is the utilization of world shaping. When picking up Fury’s, the player can infuse special stats to these weapons such as WP+ 50% or exp and gold, P. Atk and so forth. Normally these are followed with a negative effect, but it adds customization to the dungeons visited with pro’s and con’s to still add a little bit of challenge.
Fairy Fencer F has an improvement in dungeon layout in comparison to their Mugen Souls series, although following the same formula of travelling, maneuvering, and utilizing a few platforming areas. Artistically, the dungeons have a lot more interesting features then previous titles. What can be perceived as flaws, however, is the jarring camera position behind the party leader when dungeon crawling as you cannot zoom back, which can feel very close in and hinder visibility of the field. Another noticeable flaw are the frame rate issues when rotating the camera and performing multiple actions, as it can slow down.
Symbol Attacks, which are the players pre-emptive strike against the enemy, don’t feel like they connect entirely. This is possibly from the lack of a visual effect and/or sound effect that would help improve audio/video design slightly, that one isn’t too much of a flaw but rather more nitpicking.
They did something very cool with the dungeon crawling by adding character based challenges that improves stats as to who it effects. These can range from the party leader jumping certain amount of times to seeing a person’s ending animation so many times so for those collectible/trophy hunters. It’s another grind but still adds something to the game.
Music as I said previously, is pretty damn awesome. When watching the title opening I felt I was about to watch an anime, with its usage of 3D character models and catchy music. There are definitely better animations out there with 2D animation influences but for 3D model representation – I thought it was good.
However, it could use a bit more speed and follow-through in the animations to accentuate everything, but the music in the title and within the game itself does a great job. There are a few nitpicks with sound in general – such as voice acting. Personally I think most of the acting isn’t too bad except for a few characters, which in my experience which were Bahaus and Hanagata.
Those two actually were able to get me out of the zone when focusing on the story. Allow me to be nit picking and criticizing again. Galdo can be a hit or miss with his dialect having a hint of Canadian with the “eh’s” in every sentence but at times this sounds natural. Also when transforming (Fairizing) there always feels like a sound is missing as the weapon actually impales the character, when there’s nothing to reinforce the effect. Aside from these few things you have the option from dual audio which is easily interchangeable, thankfully without exiting the game. Surprisingly, the English voice acting isn’t too bad and actually was a big chunk of my experience with the game was in English.
I was really surprised with this title in particular. I was expecting an extremely similar yet somewhat repetitive experience with various other Compile Heart + NIS America titles (which I still like), however Fairy Fencer F still does share a lot of the same designs. Coming from this, for those who abhorred those types of designs, you might still want to stay away from this – but I grew to love this particular title.
I think they got a great slew of character’s that mesh well (maybe not Pippin), on-point music, fun combat, customizable upgrades and with a decent story that doesn’t go incredibly outlandish which some of their titles do. The main gripes I have are mostly the zoomed in camera feel from dungeon navigating, frame-rate issues when moving the camera around alongside actions, and lack of world exploring, and lastly – the game can also get easy when going midway on in the game.
Fairy Fencer F was reviewed on using a code provided by NIS America. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s reviews/ethics policy here.