By – Matt Camp

Fairy Fencer F Review He

Not everybody wants to be a hero. Take Fang, for example. All he wanted was a belly full of food. But with no money to speak of, he was at the mercy of a local legend. The townspeople spoke of a sword stuck in stone; whoever managed to pull it out would have their wish granted. Dreaming of endless feasts, Fang foolishly attempted to remove said sword, and managed to do just that. Unfortunately for Fang, he didn’t get food as far as the eye can see. He got a bossy fairy instead, who lumbered him with the task of waking an ancient goddess. Thus began Fairy Fencer F.

One of Fairy Fencer F’s biggest charms for me is the fact that the majority of characters have an aversion to Fang. He is not the typical hero immediately loved by everyone, and this makes a refreshing change. He is unwillingly teamed up with a fairy, Eyrn, who considers him to be useless. They are joined by Tiara, a seemingly posh girl who considers Fang and company her servants. Her newly discovered masochistic tendencies result in even more insults and teasing, and this is a trend that continues throughout between the ever growing cast. The main enemies that Fang and gang encounter are also a source of amusement. Dorfa employee Paiga for example, had me smiling with his mix of juggling normal salaried worker woes while also trying to reign in a homicidal maniac.

Almost everything in Fairy Fencer F revolve around Furies. These are a variety of weapons which borrow their power from the fairies linked to them. Story-wise, they are being hunted down in order to awaken the Goddess and Vile God; ancient deities that have been sealed away for centuries. Gameplay-wise they serve a number of purposes. Unlike the majority of RPGs, each character only wields a single weapon throughout. This is their main Fury, linked to their fairy partner.

Fairy Fencer F Review He

However, to ensure the player is not limited by such a lack of variety, each of these weapons can be tailored through the use of the Weapon Boost and Combo Edit systems. In addition to levelling up the basic attributes of a Fury, Weapon Boosting also allows the player to unlock new skills, magic, abilities, and weapon combos. The weapon combos span a range of weapon types, such as swords, axes bows, and guns. These provide the ability to use a mixture of weapon types when stringing attacks together regardless of what form the base fury takes.

Combo Edit is where players can tailor the actual attacks to be used. For the majority of my time with Fairy Fencer F, I found it most important to first set ones that launch targets into the air. I could then follow these with moves that do additional damage to launched foes. Combos I unlocked later on also added the chance to apply status effects to opponents. Additionally, certain enemies are weak against specific weapon types. In theory, the result is plenty of choice as to how approach character customisation. In reality, I felt little need to tailor moves to counter specific enemies. With sufficiently levelled up party members, plenty of damage was being done regardless.

When an additional edge was needed, there were several options. A filled Tension Gauge unlocks Fairize; a command that increases physical attacks and defence for a limited time, while allowing the use of a powerful weapon skill. Each character also has a Special Skill. Fang, for instance, uses Serious Face, to power up his attacks at the cost of SP. Fairies collected alongside Furies can also be equipped to provide additional perks in the form of additional XP gain, or healing during battles. The Learning ability can also be employed so that party members can level up when they are not in the currently active team. Finally, the Godly Revival system can be used to gain access to Furies to be used in World Shaping.

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This not only unlocks areas when first visiting them, but also gives the player the opportunity to modify elements within the location. For example, increased drop rates or experience earned. However, most Furies also apply an adverse effect such as lowering physical defence of preventing healing. Each of these Furies has its own range of influence, making it possible to stack the effects of several of them, or to apply specific effects to more than one dungeon at once.

Even with all these systems in play, I fell into the same routine for most enemy encounters. Simply select enemy, attack with the same combo, rinse and repeat. Once levelled to a certain point (required to recruit a specific character), I rarely felt in danger of defeat. There are an array of healing items which can either be found, purchased, obtained as quest rewards, or synthesised using a rudimentary crafting system accessed from Tomoe’s Shop. But for the most part, I never used them and quickly maxed out the quantities I could carry.

The quest system is the typical affair found in other Compile Heart games. It has been slightly improved though. In other games, I would be annoyed by having to constantly toggle to see each quest description. For Fairy Fencer F however, this toggle remembers its setting while browsing. New quests are unlocked by increasing your Quest rank, and this will require a fair amount of quest grinding or multiple play-throughs to max out. The repeatable quests are a good source of certain items, such as Return Wings (which allow quick exits from a dungeon), without having to buy them.

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For the most part, Fairy Fencer F is a solid game. However, there are some annoyances. The most irritating of these, is the manner in which the Informant Lola sub-quests are issued. This is a string of missions that task you to obtain Furies by defeating stronger than normal enemies, and which allows you to recruit Lola into your party on completion. The majority of these quests only appear after you enter a specific dungeon. The problem being that at least two will disappear before you finish the dungeons which spawn them. Thus it’s entirely possible to miss the sub-quest without ever knowing it was available. To ensure these missions are not lost, there is a constant need to disrupt the flow of gameplay by exiting dungeons as soon as you can before triggering any events inside them. I would keep forgetting to do this and thus felt compelled to reload older saves, losing cumulative total of several hours progress.

In battles, moving next to an enemy isn’t always enough to ensure it is the one you attack. Unless the d-pad or keyboard equivalent is used to select the enemy, one further away may be still targeted. As a result I often wasted the turn of a character with a long combo chain available on an foe which could die in one hit. I would have preferred some consistency on how targeting worked, regardless of the current battle turn.

There is an over used plot point of bosses being too powerful to defeat. Regardless of how easily they are beaten in actual fights, the story will ignore your successes. The result is several cutscenes that bare no connection to your actual gameplay experience and which only serve to needlessly interrupt the current battle. If these bosses were meant to be challenge, then perhaps they actually should have posed a real threat!

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Continually having to fight the same boss twice because of these regurgitated cutscenes did little for the story, other than to detract from the first half of the game. Such bosses could have been handled in a far more meaningful way which could have rewarded players capable of defeating them in the initial stage of the battle. The only good to come from this was a slight role reversal in the later stage of the game; but even then, the result was still having to fight the same boss twice.

Fairy Fencer F is a slow burner. For the first half of the story, I was fairly unimpressed and could have easily ended up setting the game aside. While the character interactions were amusing, they alone are not enough to keep interest. However, there is key event which for me occurred at around 20 hours of playing. It is this turning point in the story that truly sucked me in. I suddenly really wanted to know what would happen next, and it has been difficult to put Fairy Fencer F down.

In terms of performance, there is little difference to the previously released Hyperdimension Neptunia Re;Birth games. Frames per second are generally in the region of 60, but there is still the odd frame rate slowdown when first entering a dungeon. However, this time some work has been done to address the mouse pointer. In Fairy Fencer F, the pointer slowly fades out of view. This helps eliminate the persistent pointer issue that Hyper Dimension Neptunia Re;Birth 1 and 2 suffered. Although the hardware pointer did occasionally still appear.

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Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?

Fairy Fencer F attempts to introduce an interesting take on formulas used in previous Compile Heart games. The Weapon Boost and World Shaping systems in particular provide players with a fair amount of choice to customize their play-style. Although the relative ease of battles prevents these systems from truly being tactically important. Overall, there is an enjoyable and engaging JRPG sleeping inside Fairy Fencer F. You just need patience to reach the tipping point from which it shines.

Fairy Fencer F Technical Summary:

Fairy Fencer F Review Sum

  • Time Played – 40 Hours
  • Widescreen Support – Yes
  • Windowed Mode – Yes
  • Resolution Played – 1920×1080
  • Bugs/Crashes Encountered – None
  • DRM – Steamworks
  • System Specs – 3.50 GHz i7 3770K , 8GB RAM, 4GB GeForce GTX 960
  • Control Scheme – Keyboard/Mouse, Controller – Controller recommended
  • Game Acquisition Method – Review Copy
  • Availability – Steam
  • Demo – No
  • Saved Game Location – Documents\my games\Idea Factory International, Inc\Fairy Fencer F

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