By William Haderlie / July 24th, 2016
Having already introduced all the characters in Part 1, I’ll jump right into talking about the fighting system of this game. One of the criticisms of the first game was how much the fighting system was cribbed from the Neptunia games. That complaint can still be leveled some against this one, however both of those franchises have diverged since then. First off, in the newest game, Megadimension Neptunia V-II, they changed that combat quite a bit from the previous versions in that series. Second, in this new version of Fairy Fencer F, they have added quite a bit more strategy to the mix and made the Fairize forms and weapon types much more necessary.
The combos are still set up largely the same. You choose a mix of different weapon styles to choose the combos that best suit you for the situation. You can also set up 3 different combo lines in the menu. The weapon types matter for two reasons. The first reason they matter is that enemies are strong against some types of weapons and weak against others. If it is weak against a certain type of weapon then it can be used to take away the guard meter for the enemy. In this game the guard meter is invisible unless Harley makes it visible (one of the reasons she is indispensable in the party). Once you destroy their guard meter you can do more damage to them and you can also launch Avalanche Attacks, which will allow the other characters who can act before the next enemy turn to get a few hits in as well. If possible you will want to perform as many Avalanche Attacks as you can. Not only does it do more damage, but it also builds up their Fairize meter so they can transform (like above).
The other reason you may want to select a certain weapon type is the new rings available. There are new rings in the game that can augment certain stats, like giving you more experience, money or making stealing easier. But of concern here is the weapon type rings. In the first game the only way you could augment weapon damage, other than getting more STR, was to equip a fairy with a weapon type skill on it (for example, Knuckle Prowess). Those fairy skills were very rare, however. For most of them there is only one fairy that can learn them. In this game, however, you can earn new rings that will give you a Prowess that you want, and drastically increase the damage of that weapon type. Also, if you want, you can equip a fairy with one Prowess and a ring with another Prowess, making your character quite the badass. However, the only way to get these new rings is to jack up the difficulty to Hard. Most of the enemies in this game have a new second drop that will only drop from them if you are on Hard difficulty. But, beware, the enemies also gain 25% extra stats and new skills that they can use against you. One of the greatest things about the new difficulty system is that you can change it at any time other than in the middle of combat. So you can even change it in the middle of a dungeon. However, if you want the Clear (as you see above) and the associated trophy for beating the game on Hard, you have to start with it there and never change it through a whole run.
Even without Hard level, they definitely did some rebalancing of the combat in this game. Not only are there more enemies that will attack you at a time (up to 6), but they have a lot more health and defense than they did in the original game. One consequence of this was that I not only had to be more strategic, but I also ended up going into Fairize far more often than I did before. In the original game I only ever went into this super mode on bosses, in the new version there were some dungeons where I did it on every single fight. Fairize is the super mode for this game, you can consider it much like the Goddess Mode for Neptune. Your transformation meter will build up by a combination of receiving damage or by hitting the enemy. However, certain actions, like whiffing a hit, will lower your gauge drastically (along with it slowly decaying over time). All of your character’s stats get a large boost in this mode and they also have access to a special move that they can only use in this form (Fang has two of them). One other consequence of the 6 person groups (and up to 6 enemies) is that many of the combat areas have grown in size to accommodate the numbers. Especially in some of the brand new areas, the fighting zones can get pretty massive.
Your power in Fury Form is only one of the many attributes you can increase in the Weapon Boost menu. You earn WP (Weapon Points) from enemies along with the experience and gold. You use these WP to unlock various basic parameter increases, skills, magic, abilities, and weapon arts. It will take you a long time before your screen will look anything like the one above, as you typically only earn 1-5 WP per kill for much of the game. So you will need to be strategic about how and when you buy an upgrade. For instance, because you can now use 6 characters in battle it is not nearly as important to spend the 100 WP on Learning until quite a bit later. I was about 40 hours into the game before I gained a 7th character. Combo No. is a huge boon, giving you a bonus move every turn, but it is also extraordinarily expensive due to this. That final combo move costs 2000 and is by far the most expensive thing in the whole menu. Also you will gain new weapon types as you pull out more and more furies from the two Gods (that’s the Revival Rank you see on top, S being the highest). There are also certain abilities and magic spells that you can only earn once you have either a high enough base stat, and/or a high enough Revival Rank. There are some new Skills in this version of the game but most of them belong to the two new characters and new enemy abilities that they only use on Hard or are from creatures that you will only see in the Evil Goddess arc.
I’ve danced around the new arcs for long enough, it’s time to discuss what Story arcs are available. In the first game you could have 3 different endings, but they were not very different. In this game, you still have access to that full title and to those 3 different endings. However, this is considered one Story Arc in this game. It’s called the “Goddess Arc”. There was some confusion about this leading up to release, so I want to spell this out very specifically. You are also getting the full first game in this release. If you play through the Goddess Arc, you are basically playing the first game only with a few nice additions (like the 6 member parties). There are a couple new zones and a few extra dialogue choices, but it is pretty much the entire first version of the game. And I would highly recommend that it is the version you go through first. There were a couple things that felt a bit off about this version originally, though. One is how short it was, only about 25-30 hours or so. And the other thing that felt off is that there were two gods there, but for some reason you could only side with the Goddess. You could choose the waifu that you ended up with at the end, but the story played out 99% the same. For a game featuring a very prevalent yin-yang combo, that felt a bit off to me. It felt like half of the game was missing. Well, the other half is here and you can choose to go the Vile God route. However, as you can see above, they went the extra mile and even introduced a 3rd… The Evil Goddess route.
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