E3 2014: Hands-on: Fairy Fencer F

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

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Fairy Fencer F is a game we’ll all be playing in North America soon, courtesy of NISAmerica. As you’ve no doubt already heard, this game features art from Yoshitaka Amano and Tsunako, music from Nobuo Uematsu, and a screenwriter (Toshiki Inoue) from the Neptunia team. It has all kinds of star-power, but…how does it look and play? To be honest, thinking about summarizing an RPG with a complex system kind of terrifies me; I may keep the more technical side of things brief.

I watched a gentleman (who turned out to be the rep from the NISAmerica booth, actually) play the game, then got to have some hands-on time with it myself. I mention this because…he definitely knew what he was doing. Just by watching him, I was able to get a glimpse of how deep down the rabbit hole this battle system goes. What I end up describing to you during my actual hands-on time with the game may seem brief, but I promise you this game is filled with complex systems and twists to conventional combat–the kinds of things longtime fans of RPGs love. Me–I just pressed “X” to win, probably because it was an E3 demo and my characters were way more powerful than they should have been. …Onward!

E3 2014 - Fairy Fencer F | oprainfall E3 2014 - Fairy Fencer F | oprainfall
E3 2014 - Fairy Fencer F | oprainfall E3 2014 - Fairy Fencer F | oprainfall

A few notes regarding presentation (see: the pedigree alluded to above): The visuals are an absolute joy. Dungeon designs are varied, filled with brilliant colors, and easily distinguishable. Character designs are filled with personality; enemies aren’t bland either. I fought bizarre ice caveman creatures and things that looked like oddball scorpions–the designs were hardly basic. The music, if what I heard was done by Uematsu, seemed more like The Last Story Uematsu versus Final Fantasy Uematsu. It had a unique style; I look forward to many of you hearing it for yourselves. You can tell from the moment you’re thrown into the world that Fairy Fencer F is a game chocked full of charm. Wish I could include the story elements in my presentation bits, since that has pedigree as well, but…there was no story going on in what I saw or played.

Regarding battle and navigating dungeons/the world map: In battle, characters and enemies are only allowed to move within the confines of circles determined by the system. If a character is super far away from an enemy and the circled space doesn’t reach his intended target, he’ll only be able to move that turn–not attack. The same can be said for enemies though, thankfully. It was super intriguing–kind of like a Tales of game with a few arena-based restrictions added in to challenge the player in battle, or give him/her a reason to strategize. The player can switch around who s/he controls in battle as well.

All in all, Fairy Fencer F seems like a game worth celebrating. It’s coming to the PlayStation 3 on September 23rd, 2014. For more information, check out the official website.