“Among the greatest mysteries of the world, a fairy’s tail is the elusive number eight.”
An anime’s video game adaptation is easily one of the hardest things to get right. Whether you’re masterfully creating something new and unique for the fans to experience or trying to re-engage the audience with its most heartfelt moments. You’re always trying to balance between providing the fans with worthwhile content while still making newcomers to the series feel at home and welcomed.
And Fairy Tail is more of the latter that provides its fanbase the joy of reliving the anime’s greatest moments. Starting from the anime’s Tenrou Island arc and gradually moving its way up towards the end of the Tartaros arc, there’s a hefty amount of content to be experienced here despite some sections of its story simply being briefly summarized before making a huge leap towards the next.
Though what’s great about the game is although it comes a bit awkward at times, it still nails and captures what makes the anime fun in the first place. However, I still feel like it doesn’t make up for the people who wishes to jump into the game without having seen the hundreds of episodes of the entire anime. Something that can easily make them feel lost and confused especially at times when the game fails to re-animate the impact of certain scenes, one of which is during the Grand Magic Games battle with the team of Natsu and Gajeel.
Since the game doesn’t have a huge crater due to the battle between the four dragon slayers, Natsu’s attack that made Gajeel crashing underground wasn’t felt until it actually happened. To the uninitiated, it could only confuse how he got there in the first place when the animated attack didn’t properly show what actually happened.
For a game developed by the same studio that made the Atelier series, Fairy Tail follows a somewhat similar approach to its gameplay. There’s the usual turn-based RPG mechanics with magic being the main source of damage or support abilities. You’ll also be familiarized with terms such as Awakening which is a powered-up form for your characters such as Natsu’s Dragon Force or Rogue’s Shadow Drive. Chain Link, however, is a continuous flurry of attacks that deals massive damage to all enemies in the field when you have enough meter while Unison Raid is a special attack done by two characters during chain link when one is awakened.
However, as far as the gameplay goes, the enemy field is set within a 3×3 tileset with each character’s abilities having their own set of a number of tiles where they can deal damage. Each skill can also contain special effects like knockback to make affected enemies go back to an unmanned square while some can inflict status effects like blind or burn. While it seemed interesting at first, fights with mobs of monsters are usually quick and easy on its default difficulty while story-based fights mostly end up with one-on-one fights. Considering how a sizeable chunk of the game was centred on the Grand Magic Games, it really made most of the game’s combat felt unfit to what it’s trying to do.
The game’s combat is only half the battle though and most of the blunt force goes into its grindy features. Facilities are the first on the list where most of your time is going to be wasted on such as upgrading your quest board to obtain higher-ranked quests, item shops for better quality items or a laboratory that would let you craft equipment called lacrima that boosts your abilities such as speed, luck or magic attributes. As you progress, more types of facilities will be available to you and you’ll also be able to enhance them which lets you gain bonuses such as increasing your base stats or increasing the number of items obtained after the battle.
What makes it really grindy though is how you’re always struggling for cash just like a real Fairy Tail wizard as upgrading or enhancing facilities consumes a lot of it and that you can only get them through quests rewards most of the time which I have to add can only be done one at a time. These make quests a constant back and forth to the guild which makes sense in a way considering most requires certain characters in the party anyway but certain kill quests should at least be done along with other quests. It also doesn’t help (or does it) that the game’s story is locked behind getting your guild rank to a certain level which means you’ll be upgrading facilities and completing quests whether you like it or not anyway.
Other than its facilities, you also gain access to upgrading character ranks which unlocks certain skills or equipment slots for that specific character. Thankfully enough this requires a different kind of resource that can be obtained as you fight monsters. However, once character ranks are locked and requires certain character stories to be done in order to unlock them before upgrading. There is also a feature that increases your bond ranks with other characters which make your chain link better.
Visually, the game does an excellent job with its characters despite losing a lot of the character models such as every other member from Blue Pegasus aside from Ichiya in the Grand Magic Games just to name a few and most supporting roles only come in as a tiny portrait in the corner of the screen which is a bit sad if not heartbreaking.
What’s a bit annoying though is the fact that it also runs into the types of enemies you can fight in each area which ranges from multiple palette swaps of birds, beastmen and sirens. The maps are also a bit limited but what frustrated me more is how most areas feel like a cramped maze rather than a beautiful world to explore. The loading is quick though, so that’s a plus.
Fairy Tail is a bit all over the place with some aspects of the game being great while others being poor. Despite the rough transition of its gameplay mechanics to its overall combat flow, the saving grace there was it’s fairly eye-catchy battle animations and overall splendid voice acting. The way the story is presented is not going to blow your socks off but it isn’t terrible either. But if you’re new and want to get into Fairy Tail, I highly suggest sticking through the hundreds of episodes over a 30-ish hour-long game.
Fairy Tail is available on the following Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows
This review is based on the PS4 version of the game
You can purchase the game here for £54.99
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KOEI TECMO Europe and developer GUST Studios released their spellbinding JRPG, FAIRY TAIL, on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 and Windows PC via Steam. The game, based on the anime and manga of the same name by Hiro Mashima, marks the first time a FAIRY TAIL game has been released on home console in the West.
Product Currency: GBP
Product Price: 54.99
Product In Stock: SoldOut