In the current generation of gaming, first person shooters are the order of the day, followed by third person open world games or a combination of the two, resulting in a first person open world shooter. From something like two years ago, Role Playing Games have taken a rise in popularity, particularly JRPGs, resulting in the continuation of the Tales Series, the hugely successful Ni No Kuni and plenty of others which are strengthening the genre once again, after the rise of the era following the success of the one and only, Final Fantasy.
One of these, dubbed Galapagos RPG from its creator Compile Heart due to its similarity to JRPGs, is Fairy Fencer F. I would really like to know what the F stands for since both Fairy and Fencer have a crucial meaning in the game, but it’s probably going to remain a mystery. The Fencer is the battler, the one wielding the sword, also called Fury, to be more specific, and the Fairy is the spirit of the sword, the one granting it its powers. In Fairy Fencer F, Fang is the main Fencer in the game, and is the one who releases Eryn the Fairy from her slumber, in a the-guy-who-pulls-out-the-sword cliché which sounds as corny as they come. Being the one who releases Eryn makes Fang the chosen one to help Eryn fulfil her goal, thus embarking on the journey which makes up the story of the game.
As mentioned, the main characters of the game are Fang and Eryn. Fang is a handsome young man who seems to not know what he is going to do with his life. Fang can be a real asshole most of the times, and when he isn’t, he is just thinking about food. On the other hand, Eryn is a Fairy who has her sights set on her goal – releasing the Goddess from the seal put on her while fighting the Evil God, who is sealed as well. In order to do this, she needs to collect 100 Furies. The Furies are the swords with which Fencers battle, and which gain power from the Fairies linked to them. Having pulled out the Fury, Fang has thus also acquired Eryn’s fairy powers, which enable him to use different abilities, one of which is magic. More characters appear gradually as one progresses through the game, all possessing Furies and Fairies to enhance the battle prowess of the party. Having multiple members also benefits the team even when these members are not playing, due to the ability to equip a Fairy not in the party to a Fairy who is in the party. That way, the Fairy who is in the party gains additional abilities or stats, due to the Resonance mechanic. The equipped Fairy also gains experience from being indirectly involved in battle, and thus there is no real disadvantage of equipping it.
The gameplay is pretty straightforward, functioning like normal Japanese Role Playing games in battle scenes, with the exception of moving the character around instead of just sit there and wait for your turn, and just moving around engaging in battles and encounters when “platforming.” There are also battles called Godly Revivals, which are fights engaged once you remove a sword from the Goddess. The swords can only be removed from Fairies ranked the same as the sword, so for example a Rank A sword can only be removed by Rank A Fairies. The battle system is neat and fights flow well. The usual JRPG mechanics apply here, as you can either use an item, use magic or sword attack in one turn. There is also the option to “Wait”, which means passing up your turn to a teammate or to the opponent if no teammates are there, as well as raising the defense of the character to receive less damage. When the opportunity arises, which is when a certain level of battle tension accumulates, the character may Fairize. Fairize is when the Fairy and the Fencer fuse together through the Fury to create a more powerful warrior, who does more damage from melee attacks and who also possesses special magic attacks which inflict much more harm than normal magic attacks.
Fairy Fencer F also features an incredibly detailed combat system. First of all, the skills are upgradeable through Weapon Points (WP), which are points earned in battle. These points may be spent to upgrade 7 different characteristics of the battle system through Weapon Boost and include Parameters, such as Attack or Combo, as well as Magic and Abilities among others. Second, the characters’ armor and costume are customisable, meaning that one can choose the optimal stats to match his battle style. The combos, once upgraded in the Weapon Boost section, can also be tinkered with and changed to the liking of the player, thus selecting the moves which are appropriate at the time. There is also the option to arrange the starting formation for battle, which even being a small feature could come in handy.
As far as graphics are concerned, the characters are beautiful from an artistic point of view, but their models are not rendered as well in roaming or in battle. The environments look a little bland and basic, and it feels like just a playable loading screen while getting to the next area or battling monsters. Animations have impressed me a lot, especially magic attack animations, as well as sword attacks from Fang or the other Fencers. Cutscenes are mostly done through talking portraits, like a visual novel, which is pleasing to the eye but not necessarily to the ear. This is because of Fang’s obnoxiousness which is shown in his every word, and Eryn’s tendency to whine or cry “Let’s Gooooooo” in almost every scene she is featured in. Luckily, as the game progresses the dialogue gets better and new characters add more to the experience overall while still keeping the focus on Fang and Eryn’s quest. The game also features a lot of tutorials, dubbed Eryn’s Fencer Lectures, explaining everything one needs to know about the different features of the game, be it battling, Godly Revival or even Weapon Boost, so you will never feel lost. One can also revisit the tutorials from the help section in the menu to check upon things already encountered, thus having all the aid needed available and quick.
What I did not personally like in the game is that sometimes the dialogue tries too hard to be funny, ending up with jokes which makes no sense or resulting in cringe worthy moments. At times the game also makes sexual jokes which, for a game about Fairies and the like, are not suitable at all. Another bad point of the game is the manual save feature. Being accustomed to autosaving, one easily forgets about having to save the progress even though there is a tutorial. There are also points where one cannot save, so one must remember to save at the World Map before engaging into unknown territory, so as to not lose hours of precious progress.
On the whole, Fairy Fencer F is a thoroughly enjoyable game, full of RPG elements and weird dialogue, which come together very well in a story which is not really original but makes its point clear. Different characters also make the game feel fresh after hours of playing and thus getting bored should not prove an issue. Solid gameplay and a decent story make Fairy Fencer F a game that should definitely be tried, if not completed altogether.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.