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Fairy Fencer F is Compile Heart’s attempt at creating an enjoyable and fun JRPG game outside of their popular Hyperdimension Neptunia series. Previously released on the PS3, the developer crafted a game with much of their trademark qualities: anime style characters and universe, fan service, humor and an intuitive combat system. Recruiting top talent in the industry, the developer offers JRPG fans a game with familiar game mechanics and visuals but set in a different universe ruled by Fairies, Fury weapons and Fencers that is now available on Steam.

The story follows the events of an eternal battle between a vile god and a goddess. Fighting tirelessly, both deities were equally matched and created weapons filled with their powers to annihilate one another in war. Both gods sealed each other away along with their powers until all that remained were the weapons that each contained the life force of a fairy. The leftover weapons were known as “Furies” and were hunted by Fencers, those who wielded the destructive weapons. Legend has passed that the Fury weapons hold unimaginable power with the ability to grant any wish to the wielder. War had erupted between the Fencers over the possession of these ancient weapons with much bloodlust and innocent lives taken. A young man named Fang comes across a Fury weapon shortly before rescuing a Fencer named Tiara that sparks a series of the events that lead back to the historical battle between the goddess and the vile god. As a newly instated Fencer, Fang allies with Tiara to collect the Fury weapons needed to unseal the goddess and put an end to the eternal war.

Battles utilize a turn-based system that displays your turn in contrast to that of your enemies. The actual turn order is determined by the MOV value of your teammates and enemies as you maneuver within a circular perimeter. When you strike the enemy or receive damage, you fill up the Tension gauge that allows you to deal greater damage to your enemies. Once it is full, you can transform or “Fairize” into a powerful combat form as a result of your bond with the fairy partner imbued in your current weapon. Much like the Hyperdimension games, you can perform combos and offensive techniques with button-specific attacks that unlock additional combo slots as you level up your party.  Each character possesses a unique “Special Command” that can be toggled on or off to turn the tide of battle. Be warned as the special commands varies from one party member to another as they bonuses and tradeoffs in the heat of battle as they should be used strategically and sparingly. Should an enemy stumble during an offensive attack, you can perform a team-based or “Avalanche” attack to assault or defeat the enemy into submission without losing the character’s turn. Weapon Points or WP are used for five different categories: Parameters, Skills, Magic, Abilities and Combos. Prerequisties or conditions must be met prior to using WP to learn new skills, magic or abilities. 

As you progress through the world and fulfill select requirements, you gradually weaken the seals that imprison the vile god and goddess by removing the Furies embedded in their divine bodies. Fairies will join Fang on his journey and are used to break the seals that often result in a boss-like encounter. You must carefully decide which Fairy to use to remove a seal as they will inherit the abilities of the Fury you are fighting to remove from the celestial beings. This brings about a revival of either the goddess or the vile god and the choice is entirely in your hands. You gain most of your experience via dungeons that can be transformed by stabbing Fury weapons into the ground near them. All of this is dependent on your Fairy’s level that shapes the world by influencing stats like increased item drops and higher experience points. Players should be weary of where they place the weapons as “Off-Limit Zones” prevent you from placing multiple weapons in the same spot. It is possible to overlap world shaping effects to give your party a strategic advantage as you are free to experiment with many different Fury weapons.

 

The game bears many similarities to the Hyperdimension games with its fair share of wacky humor, fan service, intuitive combat system and special effects. Fang cares very little about the world as his stomach is top priority and this leaves Eryn, the first fairy he is bonded with, a bit frustrated and annoyed. Dialogue in this game never takes itself very seriously with plenty of jokes and laughable puns thrown in for comedic value. Shukesoo’s Tower is very much like Stella’s Dungeon from Hyperdimension Neptunia Victory with enemies of each floor that can be defeated to receive special prizes and rewards. The tower itself and the height constantly changes as the world is reshaped by the Fury weapons.  

Visually, the game is exactly what you expect from Compile Heart: colorful, vibrant and stylish visuals with respect to the anime style characters and environments. Shortly after release, Idea Factory released a patch update with various graphical fixes and the controller choice option fixed for those who wish to enjoy this JRPG with an Xbox 360 controller. The music is present but largely forgettable as much of your focus will be directed towards the game’s narrative and tongue-in-cheek humor. It certainly looks and feels like a Neptunia game even though the title bears the Fairy Fencer name. Notable industry veterans include artist Yoshitaka Amano, composer Nobuo Uematsu, screenwriter Toshiki Inoue as well as other members of the Neptunia development team.

Fairy Fencer F is a game with a lot of potential that tends to be overshadowed by its Neptunia likeness and similarities. The combat system is the highlight of the game but with a mediocre narrative and excessive dungeon grinding, it fails to emerge into a more solid game in the vein of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series. It’s great while it lasts as the game takes roughly 20 to 30 hours to complete, dependent upon your combat speed and skills. There isn’t much replay value but the game will serves as an enjoyable JRPG for fans to sink their teeth into until the developer’s next anticipated title: Hyperdimension Neptunia II.

PROS – Humorous Dialogue, Solid Combat, Stylish Visuals

CONS – Pacing Issues, Excessive Grinding

SCORE – 65%

The review is based on a digital copy of Fairy Fencer F on Steam provided by Idea Factory International

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