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Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force
Score: 93%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Idea Factory
Developer: Idea Factory
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: RPG

Graphics & Sound:
Welcome back, Fencers! Weíve got another grand adventure lined up and it seems like many of our favorite people are back in a familiar world. Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force is an updated version of Fairy Fencer F with some pretty cool changes, so letís dive in and check out whatís going on before we end up in a different world again!

From Fairy Fencer F to Advent Dark Force, the graphics havenít undergone a massive overhaul. The art and graphical style is very much the same, yet the visuals are much sharper in Advent Dark Force. Story progression is still done largely through the use of 2D renders of characters trading dialogue, however many scenes are animated in 3D to give a greater impact on the player. Youíll see more of the most important scenes have been updated to 3D animation and I thought it was a very nice addition. Basically, if you liked the graphics in Fairy Fencer F, youíll love them in Advent Dark Force.

Similar to the graphics, much of the same soundtrack in the same style reappears. Naturally, youíll have the fast-paced battle music playing during majority of field encounters and boss fights. Other times, you may experience a softer, more somber tune such as during the Godly Revival. Either way, the music is still just as incredible as the first game and Iím always a big fan of good music. Players may also switch between English and Japanese voice acting as they see fit. Personally, I opted for English this time and I think it was done quite well. You're free to choose whatever floats your boat, though.


Gameplay:
Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force hasnít changed much in terms of gameplay from Fairy Fencer F. Players take control of Fang and explore an area to find a Fury while encountering different monsters that will try to stop your progress. Fang moves with the Left Control Stick, while the camera is controlled with the Right Control Stick. Fang can jump by pressing the (O) button to clear small ledges. This time around, Fang can dash using the (L2) button while exploring dungeons. While venturing around an area, you can pick up treasures in little blue boxes by approaching them and pressing (X) while near them. Like before, thereís a mini-map to help players track progress and check where events occur. Events are marked with a yellow exclamation mark, so you canít miss them.

Any good dungeon has monsters to kill or else whatís the point of exploration? Advent Dark Force retains the old combat system seen in Fairy Fencer F where monsters will roam the field and players can get the drop on them. If you run into a monster, a battle will start. Pressing (X) will cause Fang to swing his weapon and if you strike an enemy, you get an advantage in the battle turn order. Being struck by an enemy gives said advantage to the enemy. In battle, characters take turns performing actions. The turn order is listed to the left and can change based on player or enemy actions. Players can move characters in battle using the Left Stick and position them to attack enemies. You can only move within a certain radius, however. Once in range, you can either activate a normal attack command with the (X) button or issue a special command with the (Triangle) button. Special commands include your Skills/Magic, Items, Character Switch, or Fairize. If youíd like to defend, you can also press (Square) to simply make your character wait. Battles are a breeze with proper planning and youíve got plenty of time to analyze, so donít be reckless.

Furies arenít the only goodies you can score from exploring dungeons. Good old Guillermo is back with his pub and players can take requests from him that, when completed, will yield rewards for the player. Visit his pub and take a look at the quests he has available and accept them by going to the Accept Quests tab. Each quest is assigned a rank to show its difficulty and players can only take on quests that they have the rank to do. Completing these quests will allow you to show your competency as a Fencer and unlock higher ranks, eventually being able to receive important quests. Upon completion, players simply need to return to the pub and report to Guillermo. As long as youíve completed the objective, Guillermo will give you your reward, but you have to go back and report to him. He canít read your mind and I donít think mail is a big service in Advent Dark Force.


Difficulty:
Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force comes packing three difficulty levels for players to choose from. Donít stress over picking too much because you can change the difficulty level at any time during the game by going to the Display Menu and selecting Difficulty. Players are able to choose from Easy, Normal, and Hard difficulty with each having a clear distinction from the others. Easy is recommended for players not looking for a challenge or who perhaps just want to experience the story of the game. On this setting, the enemies have 10% less HP and stats, so itíll be a breeze going through any type of encounter. On the Normal difficulty, enemies have default HP and stats. This is the standard difficulty and it isnít too much of a stretch. Keep your characters leveled and properly equipped and itíll be a breeze. For those seeking a challenge, Hard Mode is the way to go. Enemies have HP up by 25%, stats up by 20%, and also gain additional abilities. For the player, there are additional item drops and unique trophies available. Whatever you choose, just remember you can always change the difficulty during the game, so try whatever youíd like.

Game Mechanics:
Godly Revival returns in Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force and serves the same role as the first game. As you acquire new Furies and gain more Fairies, youíll be able to imbue them in the Furies used to seal the Vile God and the Goddess. Youíre able to select one or the other and undo the seals on them, using Fairies to repower the Furies and pull them out. Doing this grants the Fairy with a new ability, making them even stronger than before. Be warned that you will be attacked by a monster once you remove a Fury seal. Sometimes these monsters are stronger than youíd expect and can do a number on your team, so always be prepared before you go yanking Furies out willy nilly.

I hope you got your favorite battle suit at the ready because Fairize is back in full force. Characters are able to combine with their Fairies for a massive powerup in a process called Fairization. You can only use it once your Tension gauge has filled to a certain amount in battle. Youíll find it at the top around your characterís portrait. The gauge fills as you deliver attacks and once it changes from purple to light blue, youíll be able to Fairize. The Fairization only lasts as long as your Tension gauge is at a certain point and once it drops below that point, the effect ends. Fairization is incredibly powerful and there arenít any drawbacks to using it as often as you can. The Tension gauge resets after each battle, so if you can Fairize, donít hold back and go for the kill.

Customization makes a return in Advent Dark Force in much the same capacity as Fairy Fencer F. Players can change their characterís outfits, accessories, and normal equipment to whatever theyíd like. Characters are also able to equip certain Fairies to activate a Resonant Effect which boosts stats by whatever the Fairyís stats are. The only piece of equipment players are unable to change is their dominant Fury. Your Fury scales over the course of the game with the Weapon Boost system. Using this, you can upgrade the various parameters of your Fury and even unlock new abilities. All you need are Weapon Points and these are obtained by defeating enemies in battle. Itís always a good idea to keep your main force equipped with the proper gear to make sure theyíre able to survive the next dungeonís encounters.

If you ask me, Advent Dark Force is a fantastic update to Fairy Fencer F. On the surface, it really just seems like a copy and paste to the PlayStation 4 System and Iíll admit I was a little let down when I first started the game since I expected a true sequel. My disappointment quickly faded as I played the game, though. While some things are the same, many story elements have been changed or moved around and my main draw to the series is the story. Itís also nice to be able to just jump into the game already knowing how to play. Iíd say Advent Dark Force is a great pick up for both veterans of the first game and newcomers alike. Newcomers get to learn about and experience a great game full of hilarious dialogue and scenarios coupled with great combat and plot elements, while veterans get to revisit some of their favorite characters in familiar scenarios while also experiencing a different story. Iíd highly recommend Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force to anyone looking for a fantastic RPG to pick up and also to veterans of the first game. Just make sure you get plenty of sleep and stock up on your meat collection beforehand.


-SS-54, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ren Plummer

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