Fairy Fencer F is a turn-based RPG revolving around Fang, a guy who is always hungry. The game follows him as he goes from starving man to saving the world.
The story, for a good portion of the game, is fairly good. You quickly start working to revive the Goddess by collecting Furies. Furies are swords that can be found all over and have fairies inside of them. You can use these fairies to begin removing swords from the statues of the Goddess and the Vile God that exist in another dimension after their long battle against each other. By doing this, the fairies can receive new powers.
It didn’t take long for me to start getting hooked into the story. However, that all went down the drain around midway through the game. Hello, time travel plot! “I want to prevent this event from happening!” right as we are about to revive the Goddess to save the world. Suddenly, back in time we go, all our party members are gone, and events begin to repeat themselves. Oh but of course, enemies have powered up in the meantime, and when you do get your party members back, they retained their previous power. Oh and of course, the game falls into the typical time travel plot here. This frustrated me to no end as it happened as I was really getting into the story and that was all thrown away.
In Fairy Fencer F, there are a variety of side quests you can accept. As you complete them and progress in the story you can unlock “Important” quests which allow you to rank up and gain access to even more quests. Be careful though! Know how I mentioned there’s a time travel plot point? Well, when that happens, you lose access to about 95% of your previous quests. Didn’t complete them? Too bad. While you can’t lose access to an “Important” quest as far as I know, missable quests in any form are one of my biggest pet peeves in gaming. You are being punished for wanting to experience more of the story. There’s also absolutely no warning that oh hey, you’re about to lose access to quests, go do them!
Those side quests aren’t the only thing you lose access to. You also lose access to obtaining more Fairies through optional Furies that were available at that point. Not only that, but you can also just flat out miss some if you don’t buy the information on them in time. That also happened to me at one point in the very late game, only because I thought that actually buying new armor was a bit more important on my limited budget.
Money is a bit hard to come by in Fairy Fencer F unless you do a fair bit of grinding. You can typically get enough as you go through the game to continue progressing the story, but want to actually buy armor as well? Have fun! While I presume doing every side quest would help this (they’re also repeatable, if you so wish), when I lost access to a good portion of my side quests I lost interest in even doing side quests. And yes, you heard me right. You do need money to buy stuff to progress the story.
Meet Lola. She’s an “informant” who absolutely likes to rip you off on information about Furies. The one particular Fury I lost access to in the late game cost around 50,000 gold. At the time, that would have been all of my money. I had already been putting off upgrading armor for a long time to continue progressing the story, so I decided to take the upgrade over the information. Turns out I probably should have taken the information. Yeah, Lola’s prices feel just a little unnecessary.
The combat system in Fairy Fencer F is pretty good overall. It takes a bit to figure out, but once you do figure it out, you can figure out how to abuse it. For those who have played Mugen Souls, it’s a bit similar to that. You are in a turn based setting with a field you can move around. You are also able to merge with your Fairy in a skill called “Fairize” which improves your stats by quite a bit. This helps make fights a lot easier, so long as you can maintain your Fairize. If you take too much damage you’ll be knocked out of it and have to build into it again. However, even after you figure it out, combat at times can feel unrewarding. You don’t get enough for what you have to put in, and things tend to hit a bit hard at times.
While you can purchase stuff such as armor or accessories, you never actually buy a new weapon. Instead you upgrade your weapon by putting “Weapon Points” into various stats on it. This is also how you gain access to new skills and spells. Much like gold, WP is a bit hard to come across. If you want a suggestion on WP, get your first Combo upgrade ASAP. This helps in battles drastically. When you start to get nearer to the end you’ll also want to invest in your second combo upgrade. Other than how limited WP feels, this sort of upgrade system is actually fairly nice. It lets you build your characters as you want.
Field exploration is much like it was in Mugen Souls or Hyperdimension Neptunia. While Mugen Souls avoided it for the most part, Hyperdimension Neptunia didn’t – after you time travel and start getting access to new dungeon, they are just reskins of old ones. Reskins even right down to the map. A bit more effort into this would have been nice. There was one that sort of tried to be different, the second ice area, but it was still somewhat like the first one. Even the final dungeon had some reskinned floor layouts from past dungeons!
Graphic-wise, Fairy Fencer F looks really good – if you ignore the dungeon reskins. Cutscenes are typically played out in a style very similar to Mugen Souls, Hyperdimension Neptunia, and so on. There are some that play out in 3D, but most are in that 2D style of past games. Sound-wise? Well, let’s just say Nobuo Uematsu. While I wouldn’t call it one of his best works (some tracks are a bit questionable), it is still pretty much up there with what I would expect from him.
Returning to what I spoke of early, if you were hoping to maintain use of the same party you had early in the game later on, good luck. When the time travel happens, you lose all your party members as I said. When you get them back, they maintain their current power – quite literally. They haven’t gained a drop of the experience that you have. While it isn’t as bad for the ones who rejoin quickly, the ones who don’t? Well, have fun tossing them in the backup party with Learning on! Learning is an ability that lets you gain experience, WP, and Fairy experience even if you aren’t in the party. Even then, by the time I was at the final dungeon, those party members never actually did properly catch up to my main group. But hey, at least their character development (if you actively go after sub events) is fairly good, even if they can’t be bothered to get some of the experience you worked so hard to get!
While Fairy Fencer F showed a fair bit of promise at first, when the time travel happened I felt nothing but frustration at the story. Thankfully, the combat stays relatively good throughout. Now, would I recommend the title? It’s hard for me to say. If it were just on the merits of the combat I would. If the time travel wouldn’t have happened I would. However, because that time travel DID happen, it’s hard for me to say. I think I would give it a shaky recommend, but just be ready to clear out all quests you have available to you so you don’t lose them.
Fairy Fencer F Review Score
This game barely just pulled a 3/5 score. The combat and early story managed to pull enough to keep it there, even if my frustrations at the lost side quests and time travel want me to make it lower.
I would like to thank NIS America for providing me with a copy of the game for review.