Fairy Fence F is a JRPG from Compile Heart, the wildly popular Japanese developer who brought you games such as Record of Agarest War, Cross Edge and the iconic Puzzle Mate! It mixes the visual novel style with dungeon crawling RPG elements making what is a niche experience that some will love while leaving others feeling that this game has very little to offer. Despite the fact that this game is not for everyone, for those who are into this style of game prepare to devote an insane amount of hours of your life to the wonderful world of Fairy Fencer F.
The game follows Fang, a fairly generic protagonist, rude and ridiculously straightforward but could be considered honest, he also tends to laze around and also has quite an insatiable appetite. Basically the badass character from nearly every anime ever. The story revolves around the aftermath of a conflict between two gods. The gods created special weapons known as furies and the only people who can wield the furies are fencers, the furies are said to be very powerful and is why fencers constantly scramble to gain them.
Our unlikely hero just so happens to pull a furie out of stone which nobody in that town had ever been able to do, King Arthur style. He was able to do this for reasons such as : He is the hero, the chosen one and he is in fact… Fang.
The characters are all pretty well developed and written although a lot of them are fairly typical for this type of game. The game has a great sense of humor and at times even got a good laugh out of me. The sense of humor is pretty self aware and makes a lot of jokes about the genre and even highlights how stereotypical some situations are to comedic effect.
In terms of gameplay the game has a lot of exposition during its visual novel sequences and can become tiresome to some, but where the game really thrives is in the battles, I love how it combines action RPG combat with turn based combat, reminding me of the Tales series mixed with Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy. The majority of the game however is text based, having you hardly do anything besides read countless strings of dialogue. Other than that the dungeons crawling portions are great but if you are wanting to play through more dungeons you are going to have to sit through a lot of exposition.
The game of course has its leveling systems and a great deal of customization which adds another layer to the game. You can of course use different fairies that you gain through collecting furies, ultimately the highlight in terms of gameplay is the dungeon crawling aspects due to uninspired dungeon design and lack of exploration elements, thankfully the battles make up for the blandness of the overworld.
The aesthetics overall are great but the general look is nothing particularly new, I’ve seen other games who have done something similar and better, I feel like they just tried to play it safe and didn’t really try to break any new ground. The art for the visual novel sequences was very well done and in fact looked quite gorgeous, I think that the visual novel sequences really brought the characters to life really expressing how they felt in certain situations. Also worth mentioning is that the graphics in the dungeons sequences were a bit outdated and didn’t really add anything to the game, and I also noticed quite a bit of fps lag during the overworld sequences, which is a bit of a let down considering the game is on PS3 but runs like it’s a handheld game.
The soundtrack was brilliant with some fairly memorable music during the dialogue portions of the game and the battles. The voice acting was wonderful and i felt they really captured who the characters are and I thought they really brought them to life, Kaiji Tang’s performance as fang really stole the show, he was great from the very start.
In conclusion the game has great potential but is really held back by its lack of ambition. Overall it’s really not a bad game I just felt at times that it could be a bit repetitive and tedious. I think if Compile Heart could get a better balance between the visual novel parts of the game and the dungeon crawling aspects they could have something truly brilliant on their hands but instead what we are left with is relatively a mixed bag with both positive and negative elements clashing with one another. There is potential here for the Fairy Fencer series and I feel with the next installment if they work on getting a better balance they might just strike gold. In the words of the legend himself Fang, “NEXT!”
You can purchase ‘Fairy Fencer F‘ from NIS America by clicking here.