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Fairy Fencer F
Score: 85%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Compile Heart
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ RPG

Graphics & Sound:
Think youíre a natural born hero? Why not put that claim to the test? Enter Fairy Fencer F, a new game from Compile Heart for us to enjoy courtesy of NIS America. Players control Fang, a very lazy boy, as they go on a journey to collect Furies!

If youíve played some of NIS Americaís other games, notably the Mugen Souls series, youíll probably recognize the general art form. Characters are rendered in 3D along with the environment for players to explore. Unfortunately, the background itself lacks much interaction, but thereís plenty of monsters to keep your mind off it. Fairy Fencer F also doesnít show much story progression through 3D cutscenes, only showing the really super important scenes and these are and few between. Of course, cutscenes can be skipped for those who may not care for the story. Story progression is instead advanced with 2D renders of characters over a backdrop with full voice acting for all the main story events and some for important sub events. Oh, fans also neednít worry about reading all the text. Voice acting is automatically set to English, but can be changed to Japanese for those who find the English voice acting lacking. Personally, I really enjoyed it, but to each their own.

The music of Fairy Fencer F adds a nice touch of flair to every aspect of the game, just as youíd expect it to. You can expect to hear epic tracks which seem to be Japanese pop with English lyrics and naturally tracks that lack singing that are designed to provide ambience or set a mood. The latter is much more prevalent throughout the game, and range from the happy music of a fun looking forest to the more suspenseful tracks of a monster-filled tower. In addition to music, Fairy Fencer F captures many sound effects perfectly to enhance the experience. Notably, attack sounds are done well with sword strokes making a cartoony, slicing sound to the firing of the gun weapons making the noise youíd expect to hear on a lighthearted anime. You can always mute the audio if itís not to your liking though.


Gameplay:
In Fairy Fencer F, players explore the world and beat up bad guys as Fang, the main protagonist. Fans of the Mugen Souls series will recognize the layout of worlds. Players pick a location from the map and explore it to find a Fury, a weapon of immense power. Areas are fully rendered so players can explore them to their heart's content, save one or two areas. Every area has plenty of monsters, so players can fight and slaughter as much as they want or need to. With an ample amount of time killing, players should rarely need to go out of their way and grind, which I think is awesome so you can spend more time focusing on the story. Items can also be found while exploring and are found in the form of little blue crystals. Hidden items are littered around, but can usually only be found by buying a special skill for your party leader. Also, a mini map can be viewed on the screen at the top left as players run around exploring, while a full scale map can be viewed by pressing the Start Button. Canít have you getting lost, right?

Customization is present in Fairy Fencer F but itís not as complex as most other RPGs. Players are not able to customize any of the characterís weapons, as each character uses their own fairy infused Fury. Fortunately, players are able to upgrade their weapons by increasing various stats on it such as attack power and defense power. Players may also buy different combo attacks for specific weapons. All of these purchases may be made with WP, which is earned after a battle. Players are able to change out the other two armor items, as well as their costume and accessories. Costumes and accessories offer no stat bonus, but you can spruce up your characters to your liking. The last equipment option is Resonance Effect, which allows players to equip a fairy in their possession. Fairies gain experience from being equipped in battle and level up to provide enhanced stats and also special effects. Itís good to make sure everyone has a fairy!

The world map is where players will spend the most time as thatís how you select your next destination. The main hub is a town called Zelwinds, where players are able to shop at the store or accept side missions from the tavern. Players may take as many as side missions as they want and report in as they finish them. Side missions range from killing certain monsters to delivering certain items and players are rewarded with gold, as well as items. Usually to unlock the next area, players are forced to buy information from an evil, greedy little girl named Lola. She charges a hefty amount of money, but her info is spot on. She also sells information that will unlock extra Furies for the player to find and collect in past areas.

The combat in Fairy Fencer F is a ton of fun. Players are given the chance to get a preemptive strike on monsters in the field by being near them and slashing them with the (X) Button. If done correctly, a noise can be heard, the battle begins with the words Preemptive Strike, and players are given the first turn set. However, if a monster attacks you first, then theyíll get an ambush and will be allowed the first strike. Players use a combination of three characters in battle, and can use any character that they wish. The interface is pretty standard, featuring the stats of the characters youíre currently using to the right of the screen and the timeline of movement to the left of the screen. Before issuing a command, players can move their character to the desired location on the battlefield, so long as youíre within the confines of your movement space, denoted by a green line. After that, players are free to use a regular attack, wait a turn, or use a special command. Attacking does just that, deals damage with a regular combo. Waiting passes up the character's turn and increases their defense. The character gets to move sooner than normal as well. Opening the Command Menu allows access to the Skills/Magic tab, the Fairize ability, the Item Menu, a characterís special action, or allows the character to switch with another character. After winning a battle, players are granted experience points to level up, gold to buy items, and WP. A thing to remember about WP is that you get very little of it per battle and it takes a while to save up. If you like to upgrade and buy new skills a lot, Iíd recommend not checking how much you have after every fight. The more you win, the more you get, so make sure you win those battles, Fencers!


Difficulty:
Fairy Fencer F does not feature a set changeable difficulty level. Instead, the difficulty and strength of monsters scales from area to area based on the level of the player. The same cannot be said for main event bosses or sub event boss monsters the player fights in hopes of obtaining a new Fury. Despite being in past areas, the sub event boss guys are seriously strong and you probably want to level up a bit more before trying to take them down, otherwise youíll probably just get rolled. Aside from that, the scaling seems to be pretty fair and this most likely means you wonít need to do a ton of grinding. I do recommend that you kill most of the monsters in an area at least once, so youíll be able to get some good experience, gold and WP. The WP is especially important because it takes forever and a day to save up. Just make sure youíre keeping up with your killing and youíll be perfectly fine.

Game Mechanics:
A key element of battle which can shift the tide of the fight to players is the Fairize command. Being a Fencer, the player is able to combine with their fairy partner and greatly bolster their stats. Players Fairize by filling the gauge above the specific character to a certain point by attacking or being attacked and then choosing the option from the Command Menu. An awesome cutscene plays, epic music begins and players gain access to badass skill attacks! Sounds cool, right? Unfortunately, Fairize only lasts until the gauge hits a certain point. Donít worry though, once you get Fairize going, youíll probably end the battle long before it expires.

As stated earlier, players usually have to go to a little girl to buy information leading to the next area to progress. This isnít all you have to do as Fairy Fencer F has a mechanic known as World Shaping. Using the Furies and fairies you collect, players unlock hidden areas by stabbing them into the ground next to the desired area, which allows players to access that area. This isnít all that World Shaping does, as certain Furies and the fairies within them will give a dungeon special bonuses depending on which Fury you use. These bonuses range from increasing one stat but decreasing another to giving bonus experience points at the cost of reduced WP points. Unfortunately, you can only use a Fury whose fairy is not equipped to a character through Resonance Effect and you have to leave the Fury in the ground, otherwise your team will not gain bonuses in the dungeon near where you stab it. Make sure you choose carefully and pick a Fury which will not give a big disadvantage to your team.

Your earned fairies just arenít cutting it? Well, why not enhance them? With the Godly Revival, players are able to pull dormant Furies out of the Vile God or Goddess using a fairy from a Fury you found. Youíll have to fight a monster or two, but if you succeed, your fairy will gain a new attribute to benefit you. Pick carefully though, as once your fairy acquires a new ability, you canít get rid of it nor can you get another ability on that fairy. Just weigh your options and go with what you think will benefit you most.

Avalanche combos are an interesting mechanic of Fairy Fencer F. Each enemy has a certain weapon type that they are weak to, and if you strike them with that weapon, your teammates have a chance of capitalizing on that and chaining together hits all while your main attacker is having their turn. I never could figure out how to force trigger it and it seems to be random when it does happen. Usually, itíd only activate AFTER the enemy I was targeting would die, so itíd be pretty useless by that point. Hey, maybe youíll have better luck than me, yeah?

I would definitely recommend Fairy Fencer F to anyone looking to get their RPG fix. The story is pretty good, the combat is awesome, and the interactions are hilarious. What more could you ask for? The game never got repetitive or boring to me, so hopefully youíll have the same experience. Everyone has different tastes, but this is definitely a game Iíd keep on the radar if I were you!


-SS-54, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ren Plummer

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