Review: Fairy Fencer F
There are several scantily-clad women involving occasional sophmoric sexual humor. There is occasional swearing. Characters WILL die throughout the story, and while not frequently graphic, they will have blood trailing down their faces as they utter their last words. Typical fantasy game warning applies here due to mythology about two warring deities and reincarnation.
The story starts off with an INTJ (see Myers-Briggs) called Fang. Fang has little concern with other people and his dream home is prison. This is because in prison he is fed for free and he gets to sleep as much as he wants. Unfortunately for him Eryn, a fairy, breaks him out of prison. A few days earlier in an effort to find food, Fang accidentally pulled out a legendary sword called a Fury. Now he is tasked with hunting for the other Furies in order to free the Goddess. All this for a guy that just wants a nap and a meal….
FFF does not take itself very seriously. I found myself laughing aloud several times in only the opening hour. The tutorials are also filled with similar humor and are easier to traverse due to the distraction. The chapter titles are named in a comic/casual way such as “Let’s Just Put Up With Her For Now”.
Fang assembles the typical rag-tag group to save the world. Everything seems quite cliched up until the first, major plot twist. At this point, our hero takes his first step towards character progression. Without spoiling anything, Fang essentially attempts to recruit to the party many enemies that he runs into. Depending on player progress, the story can have some slight changes here.
Christians that can make it past the material listed in the Content Warning will find a surprisingly Christian message in this game. Sacrifice, forgiveness, repentance, and compassion for others are all major components of the mid-to-late game.
The layout of travel consists of mostly point-and-click locations in town and on the world map. Once in a dungeon, the party leader is controlled on screen and moves about in a typical 3D field. Enemies are visible on the field and battles are started when the player comes in contact with one of these enemies. The player has the chance to attack preemptively by pressing X at the right time on the field to get an early strike.
Battles take place on a circular field and actions by the player and enemy are turn-based. The order of each turn is shown in the top left to allow the player to plan ahead. Each character’s turn, the player will have the opportunity to move the character and attack, as well as select from a list of skills, magic attacks, special abilities, and items. Fans of previous Compile Heart games will be very familiar with this setup.
Normal battles are not very complicated or difficult and can usually be finished in a single round. Boss battles can require more strategy depending on the character levels. An avid grinder will find no difficulty overcoming most storyline encounters.
In-between dungeons the hub town, Zelwinds City, is available with a shop to replenish item stock and a bar to pick up side-quests. The side-quests are categorized as “Kill this monster” and/or “Retrieve this item”. Rewards for side-quests are most frequently a small amount of gold and a stash of items to supplement, rather than fund, the journey.
In addition to the bar side-quests, another side-quest is overcoming the monsters in a large tower. It is only required to complete the first five floors in the storyline, but more floors become optionally available as the number of furies collected increase.
Speaking of furies, they serve multiple purposes in gameplay. First, each comes equipped with a fairy that can be attached to a character for stat and ability boosts. Second, depending on the rank of fury, the seals holding the Goddess and Vile God can be undone. This adds an extra ability to the respective fairy. Finally, furies can be used in “World Shaping”. World Shaping can be used to alter entire dungeons such as the amount of experience gained there, strength of physical or magical attacks, or even which enemies will appear in the dungeon.
Achievements make their mark on the gameplay themselves. Nearly every action a character can do has a tally set to it. Whether it is number of attacks in battle, time or distance spent walking on the field, or even the number of jumps made by the character. When these values reach the appropriate levels (viewable on the Challenges menu option), the character will gain a pre-determined boost to a stat.
The final option players have to alter character stats and skills is through the Weapon Boost. At the end of battle along with EXP and Gold, each character will receive WP which is spent in Weapon Boost. Here stats can be directly boosted and skills can be learned.
In story sequences, the characters are displayed in a 2D high-quality visual novel style. Each of the main characters looks distinct enough, although it can be easy to confuse a couple of the villains who look similar to each other. On the field and in battle, characters are represented by a lesser-detailed 3D model.
Characters’ battle appearance can be altered by a large number of accessories and costumes. These cosmetic changes have their own slots separate from stat-dependent equipment, so the player is free to dress their characters as they would like without having to sacrifice stats.
Fairy Fencer F is advertised as featuring music from famed Final Fantasy composer, Nobuo Uematsu. Unfortunately, it appears that he only wrote a handful of pieces for the game and he is not the main composer. Getting past that disappointment, the rest of the music is not bad, it just is not very notable.
Overall, it takes a short while to grow on you, but this game is worth its price tag.
+ Lots of collectibles and achievements
+ Strong Christian message if you can look past the content
+ Everything can be skipped with L2 (Battle animations, story scenes, battle end screen, etc.)
- Non-boss battles become repetitive
- 3D characters and environments are below average