[Review] Fairy Fencer F Advent Dark Force (PC) – More than grinding?
Platform reviewed: PC (Steam)
Developer: Idea Factory, Compile Heart
Publisher: Idea Factory
Release: 14th February 2017
Review Key was provided by Idea Factory
On 14th February 2017 the original Fairy Fencer F got re-released as the Fairy Fencer F Advent Dark Force edition, so lets use this opportunity to take a look and see what´s the deal with this game!
In Fairy Fencer F you play as Fang, who likes food, he loves food to be honest. Since he´s broke he sadly can´t buy much food, luckily he hears about a sword that should grant a wish to whoever managed to pull it out of its stone, a bit like Arturs. So, when he successfully pulled out the sword he expected food, lots of food … Fang is a simple man … but instead a fairy called Eryn appears. And that´s how Fang became a Fencer, who´s tasked by Eryn to find the other furies to reawaken the goddess of the land again. He hates it.
And that´s basically the story of Fairy Fencer, as known of Compile Heart, their games don´t have a thrilling story or deepness. Sure, you will meet a bunch of different characters and companions along the way but the problem of Fairy Fencer´s story and characters persists, its often just a bunch of clichees thrown together. Fang is our hero, who just wants some food and live a chilling life, Eryn is our quirky cuty and so on. Nothing what we didn´t already see from other Compile Heart games or Animes. The story and characters mostly remain bland and not very likeable since you know so few of them.
However now the Advent Dark Force edition comes into play, which adds different storylines to the game, from which you can choose during the game´s storyline, after the first hours. While this might sound like a great idea it doesn´t help the story´s main problem, the quality of the story. Yes, the different storylines add variety and change the character´s motivations quite drastically from what you would have expected, however they don´t provide a better story, just more of the same which is great if you want to play it again but not if you expected more of this idea.
Besides all this Fairy Fencer F story and characters amused me during my 25 hour-is playthrough, even tho it wasn´t always because of their cleverness. Compared to Neptunia, which story wasn´t great either but offered an interesting approach to video game comedy and 4th wall breaking, making it overall more enjoyable.
On the other hand we have the Gameplay, a thing which always made me love Compile Heart and it´s still great here.
Fairy Fencer F isn´t just your generic turn-based JRPG, it´s a more modern and pacing oriented approach to it. During your round you can actually move to position yourself or escape. This is especially important considering the different things you have to care about during your round. For example, you deal more damage if you attack the back of an enemy or if you want to use magic, special abilities etc.
Since every fury you collect during your journey will be added to your arsenal, you will be offered more and more possibilities that you have to use in certain situations. Every fury comes with their own weaknesses, strengths and magic, offering you whole new ways to customize your approach to combat. Additionally to the furies you can now battle with up to 6 party members, thanks to the Advent Dark Force edition instead of 3 to increase the strategic portion of Fairy Fencer Fs combat even more.
It´s the fluent and fast paced oriented combat we know and love from Compile Heart mixed with the fury feature and increased party size making it the best feeling combat I´ve experienced in their games yet.
Good combat mechanics are especially important if you consider what you will be doing all your time: Killing the same monsters in the same dungeons. As previous Compile Hearts games Fairy Fencer F isn´t a game that offers lots and lots of different dungeons or enemies. You will often see the same dungeon assets, the same monsters maybe coloured a bit or called different. During the game you will spend nearly all of your time in these dungeons, trying to collect more furies or just grind for levels, which is needed sometimes.
Luckily the game isn´t that long with its 25-30 hours, making the grind not as necessary as in Neptunia which drastically increases the game´s pacing. In general I felt like the game was narrating itself faster as other games, making the dialogues between the clichee characters not as lengthy as in Neptunia. The downside however was the “bland” way the story was presented to me, there were no really climaxes or dramatic moments I really cared for.
Fairy Fencer F definetly has its flaws, like the bland story and clichee characters that Neptunia did way better and smarter, it just can´t make the characters or humour appeal to me since it offers nothing new or innovative. Mixed with a very repetitive Gameplay and grinding mechanics it definetly is not for everyone but the excellent combat system and way of customization that furies offer you, really let it stand out from other Compile Heart games.
To be honest, if you know Compile Heart even a little bit you know what will await you and it´s as good as ever. Especially the combat is one of the best of these games and can weight up the uninteresting story in most parts. Overall I had as much fun as I had with Neptunia and could recommend it to anyone looking to get more these kinda weird but unique Compile Heart games!
Oh and did I mention that you get a shit ton of DLCs too if you buy the PC-version?