Fairy Fencer F Advent Dark Force is a complete edition of the previously released Fairy Fencer F for Playstation 3. The game revolves around a lazy, foul-mouthed boy (Fang) as he recklessly pulls a magical weapon (known as a Fury) from the ground in his attempts to find food. Upon doing so, the fairy Eryn becomes bound to Fang and informs him of the quest to resurrect the Goddess before other forces manage to resurrect the Vile God. Thus begins our adventure, and a fragment of my Fairy Fencer F Advent Dark Force Review.

Look and Feel

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In terms of visual fidelity, Fairy Fencer F would fit right in with early, low-budget Playstation 3 titles. The character models are horrible, which is why the game chooses not to show them off too often.

Instead, the majority of the game is presented with a static backdrop and character images making the occasional reaction movement. It’s not awful, but the game is enjoyable enough to warrant better visuals overall. It’s a shame, really, but such is the curse of niche titles.

The World Itself

Setting aside fidelity, the world is filled with cool designs. From the monsters to the characters, it’s a vibrant treasure trove of interesting things to see.

I won’t tell you that it’s unique. Your main protagonist looks like Sora from Kingdom Hearts going through his awkward phase. The women are your typical anime fan-service. The other men fall in to either the strong, stoic type, dumb as a rock of suave prince charming-likes that the ladies swoon over. These aren’t necessarily negatives, merely observations.

The regions are typical of your standard fantasy RPG game. Grassy plains, dark caverns, ice caves, deserts, ominous towers etc. though none of the aforementioned environments affect the gameplay, and they’re about as detailed as the character models. Nothing fancy about them, but they serve their purpose.

Float Like a Butterfairy

On a more positive note, the game controls fairly well. Movement around the areas feels fluid and the dash ability makes it simple to boost past enemies with careful timing to avoid battles. The over-world is presented as an open map and you use a cursor to choose where to go out of the places you’ve unlocked. It’s a pleasant experience all-round in terms of the controls.

Story

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As mentioned in the introduction to the review, Fang and Eryn are on a quest to revive the Goddess and eradicate all evil in the world. The nefarious executives of a local business have other plans: to revive the Vile God and control its power.

The story is delivered mostly via static cut-scenes with surprisingly good voice acting, available in both English and Japanese audio. The game houses a varied cast of characters, though they fall close to the usual anime tropes, and provides a fair bit of comedy throughout. The comedy is hit-and-miss, but at least it tries.

A One-in-Three Chance for a Good Ending

The most interesting aspect of Fairy Fencer F’s story is the fork-in-the-road moment. Depending on how many seals you’ve unlocked from the furies in the “Godly Revival” area of the game, your plot will follow one of three narrative threads. Having completed all three, I personally feel that the standard “Goddess” path is the most engaging.

The remaining two stories offer the chance to recruit new party members, but they take a few odd turns that didn’t work for me. The idea of wine bringing about the apocalypse is about as ridiculous as I’d expect from this game, but it’s still a little bizarre, even in context.

Still, whatever path the player follows, there’s entertainment (and trophies) to be had, and if you find yourself enjoying the characters as I did, the way they change based on the path taken is intriguing enough. It’s no epic, and greater visuals could have helped elevate its worth, but it’s a fun ride all the same.

Gameplay

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Fairy Fencer F is an action role-playing game first and foremost. You explore areas, engage monsters in turn-based battles, level up and acquire new skills.

A Fantastic Battle System

When encountering an enemy in the field, the game will swiftly transition to the battle stage. Here, the player characters and enemies will take turns (indicated by a Final Fantasy X-like turn order on the left) positioning and attacking. Each character’s skills can have a variety of ranges. Some are long distance, single target attacks. Some cover the entire field (Tiara’s Maelstrom is pretty over-powered). Keeping your characters at the optimal range and trying to spread your characters out to avoid total wipes from strong enemy skills makes for enjoyable battles, especially at higher difficulties (Hard and Hell).

Of course, seeing the same animation time and time again can become tiresome. Never fear: The L2 button is here! Just hold it in as a character attacks and it’ll skip every animation and get straight to the damage dealt. Perfect for level-grinding.

Leveling and Weapon Boost Points

Traditional leveling of the party via experience earned from defeated enemies is present in Fairy Fencer F. As the characters increase in level, so too do their basic stats, such as health, stamina (their mana-like resource), attack, intelligence and so on.

If being able to level up all the way to 999 (yes, 999) wasn’t enough, the Weapon Boost system should keep any stat-obsessed individual busy for a while.

Weapon Points are also awarded at the end of a battle. Using these, a character can unlock new skills, upgrade their base stats even further or acquire new combination attacks for basic combos.

The only negative to the weapon boost system is that eventually you’ll have more than you need and they can’t be used for anything else. Otherwise, it offers a great bit of customisation in the early game.

Break the Enemies Guard

Using Harley’s analysis skill, the player can see the enemy unit’s guard gauge. This gauge reduces the damage an enemy takes. If broken, the damage that can be dealt becomes astronomical in comparison.

To break the guard, we have the combo system. Each enemy is weak to certain types of weapons. Each character has access to a Fury, which can take the form of other weapons in battle. By unlocking combo moves in Weapon Boost, the characters can pull off all kinds of moves. By assigning these in the main menu, the player can mess with their load-out to make short work of tougher opponents.

Unleash the Fury (After collecting them, of course)

The main objective in the beginning of the game is to gather the Furies to summon the Goddess. The game will occasionally offer you the chance to search for Furies (usually involving a battle or two). When collected, they can be assigned to any character and have a max level of 10. They have elemental affinities and gain new skills as they level up. They also give the player gifts upon reaching certain milestones, such as 50 battles fought with that Fury.

Each Fury has a rank (C to S, lowest to highest). The higher-ranked Fairies give greater stat upgrades to their assigned character. Equipping them will make them unavailable for World Shaping, however. Speaking of that…

Shape the World

Don’t get too excited. The game is fairly linear. The World Shaping idea is a great one, though.

I’ve mentioned that Furies / Fairies have different ranks. These ranks also allow them to remove the seals from the Goddess or the Vile God. Their rank determines what seal level they can remove. Upon removal, the seal will provide the Fury used with new abilities. These abilities are displayed before the seal removal, so don’t worry about any mystery issues occurring.

The abilities usually come with a positive and a negative. For example, Experience earned: +50%, Physical Defense: -10%. By placing the Fury and its sphere of influence over a field area on the world map, you gain its positive and negative affects whilst visiting the area.

The higher the level of your Fairy, the large its sphere of influence. This is useful, because Furies can overlap, but can’t be placed directly on top of each other. The large the sphere, the more bonuses you can grant to a field. Particularly useful for farming items and experience.

My Favourite Mechanic

I’ve already mentioned how the L2 button can be used to speed up battles. It can actually be used to speed up everything in the game and even skip cut scenes entirely. This is especially helpful in New Game plus, wherein the first half of the story is always the same. Being able to skip that so quickly is a true gift. Dialogue, victory poses, enemy movements etc. All of it can be shifted out of the way with a click of L2 and a brief confirmation from the player to state that they want to skip.

On the field, L2 is the dash button. Appropriate, for a button that skips most things. This can help you avoid unnecessary battles to preserve your skill points on the way to a boss.

With Three Paths, You’ll Want a New Game Plus

I’ve briefly touched on the New Game Plus mode. This mode allows you to carry over practically everything from your previous play-through. Minus key items, of course. It’s a simple menu right before you begin a new game at the end of an old one. Perhaps the most generous New Game Plus I’ve ever experienced, but in a better game this wouldn’t be welcome. It’s only due to how tedious some of Fairy Fencer F’s moments can be that I’m glad the rewards aren’t something I needed to earn.

Overall

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Fairy Fencer F Advent Dark Force is a fine game held back by cheap visuals. It houses the greatest skipping mechanic known to humanity. The characters are quirky, sometimes annoying, but mostly enjoyable. The battle system is a great blend of action and turn-based. Plot-wise, it’s coherent but throwaway in my opinion. All in all, Fang and Co. have given me many hours of decent entertainment.

The current asking price for the game (£54.99 on the Playstation Store) is more than I’d be willing to pay. However, if you’re content with some quirky, Japanese action, this might be for you.

About this Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force Review.

Game: Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force
Format: PS4
PEGI: 12

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