By William Haderlie / July 20th, 2016
|Title||Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force|
|Developer||Idea Factory, Compile Heart|
|Publisher||Idea Factory International|
|Genre||Japanese Role Playing Game|
|Age Rating||ESRB T for Teen|
Once upon a time, a long time ago, there was a Japanese RPG released that did not quite get the audience that it deserved. Perhaps this was because the console it was developed for was a virtually dead system at the time. Or perhaps the release window did not do it any favors and it was overshadowed by some other, larger, releases at the time. This long distant time was September 16, 2014 and the dead man walking console was the PlayStation 3. Fairy Fencer F came out to a resounding thud. There was not much coverage in the gaming press and even enthusiast sites all but ignored it. This was rather a shame because, although it was a bit short for a JRPG, there was a lot to love with this game. It did seem to get a bit more traction with its subsequent Steam release, but it still has not found the audience that I think it deserves. Now enter the new version Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force, but will all the changes make for a better game that will please its target demographic?
As Joe previously discussed in his PC Review of the first game, the issue of how short the original game was cannot be overstated. As I’ve said before, if I want to play a 20-25 hour game, I’ll play something more cinematic like Uncharted 4 or action heavy like Doom. But, that’s not really why I play RPGs. So even though the first one had 3 different endings, the game itself played out largely the same and only a few dialogue sequences were different. This game, however, is bloody massive. They apparently took that criticism to heart. And that is one thing you will notice about Compile Heart and Idea Factory, they definitely listen to their fans and continually try to improve. It’s frankly a breath of fresh air in the video game industry. Given that this game is so massive and I will need to separate what is in the original from what is in the new one, this will be a rather lengthy review. So we are going to be splitting it into two parts. The first part will be introducing the characters and world story. The second part will be talking about the combat style, different routes, and all the changes from the first game.
In a sequence of events that was rather reminiscent of the opening for Xenoblade Chronicles, two giant mystical creatures battled it out for dominance over the planet during its nascent stages. They battled it out largely using fairies that were imbued inside of weapons, thus becoming furies. However, each was equal and opposite to the other deity, therefore their fight was a stalemate. In a last move they sent out all their furies at each other and sapped each other’s strength enough that they both went into stasis, impaled by the furies launched by the other god. And there they have remained over the centuries, although within their slumber they are able to subtly influence the world. Some of the furies that were launched fell down into the main world and fencers have been trying to earn them for ages. If you can pull out the swords from the earth, you can capture that fairy and submit it to your will. This is an easy way to wealth and power. Early on in the story you also learn that by capturing new fairies, you can imbue them into the weapons embedded in the gods and pull the furies in their bodies out. In doing so, you can hope to reawaken either the Goddess or the Vile God.
The protagonist of this story is Fang. I was very specific in that wording because it would be difficult to call him the hero. Fang just kind of stumbles into events, and if he’s taking any initiative it’s only in service of his stomach. Or it’s because he is browbeat into service by one of the beautiful women he strangely gets surrounded by. He is a Fencer, but only really by accident. He was hoping to earn a meal out of pulling that sword out. And even now that he is one, food is still his primary motivation. It is his major wish that is on his mind. Basically, he is very much like the protagonist of most major harem anime or Visual Novels.
Eryn is the only fairy companion that I’m going to feature. And that’s because she is hugely influential to the story and she also is really the other half of the protagonist combo. Fang may be lackluster as a character in many ways, but Eryn more than makes up for that. Not only is she extremely cute, but she also has quite the sassy attitude. And for all the complaints (valid ones) that she levels at Fang, she is usually equally as guilty of the same, or similar, offence. So she is never a party member that you see inside of a battle, being confined within his weapon, but she is a strong voice for anything story related.
Let’s just get this out of the way, Tiara may be another Fencer, but she is almost the polar opposite of Fang. She is a bit of a Princess, well she is frankly entirely one, and she tends to look down on everyone else. Especially when it comes to Fang and a few of your other party members, she tends to treat them as servants. However, when Fang gets pissed off and starts calling her foul names, her true nature comes out. This Princess is a huge masochist. And I don’t mean she just does something to get a rise out of someone, I mean she really gets sexually turned on by being mistreated. She is easily the most mysterious of your companions, though, and figuring out her secrets is one of your main storylines in the original game (and in the Goddess Arc, more on that later). Her fairy is a cute little animal called Cui, and it allows her to travel to where the Goddess and Vile God are located so that you can pull out their furies and awaken them. Why she even has this power is one of the central mysteries.
Harley is one of my favorite Compile Heart/Idea Factory characters of all time. One of my favorite aspects of her is that she does not try to hide who she is or pretend to be something that she is not. She just is what she is, and expects you to deal with it. On a base level she is a Fairy researcher, and a scientist in general. One of the benefits that provides to the party is not only story advice, but in battle she can scan the enemies for weaknesses and what items they drop or you can steal (invaluable for completing all the quests). But her interest in the fairies has also ended up being more than just scholarly. There are times when it seems she might be a little interested in Fang, or men in general, but nowhere near as much as she is into girls. So she might be a little bi, but she is openly lesbian. You will see plenty of yuri action with her. Not only that, but she really does not care about who sees her body or in what situation. The screenshot above is her taking off all her clothes because the dungeon was too warm. But, because she doesn’t care about anything as much as she does cute fairy girls, her fairy companion Bahus ends up having to mother her quite a bit. He’s by far the most masculine looking fairy you will meet, but his interests and personality align exactly with a traditional housewife.
The next major character is Galdo, and frankly he is a bit of a bore in the original game. His only purpose in life seems to be as a peon for more interesting characters. First he was a peon for the bad guys, now he is a peon for Fang. His fairy Marissa is a bit more interesting, but her main character trait is maternity. She spoils him as much as possible and can be so sweet and endearing towards him that she practically makes the rest of the party gag. However, the developers seemed to have recognized this weakness in the first game and for the new Dark Goddess arc he has a much more interesting story, as does Marissa herself.
Pages: 1 2Compile HeartFairy Fencer FFairy Fencer F: Advent Dark ForceIdea FactoryIdea Factory InternationalJRPGPlayStation 4