Fairy Fencer F Review
Do you ever get the feeling like JRPGs aren’t quite JRPGs anymore? When a new title does come out (if it comes out), it’s either a four-year-old port, a dolled-up JRPG with Gucci-style models, or just an Western game disguised as a JRPG. Enter NIS America and Compile Heart’s Fairy Fencer F, a true-to-form JRPG backed by some of the biggest players in the JRPG-verse. Is this turn-based wonder worthy of the title, or is it just another pretender?
Ironically, Fairy Fencer F differentiates itself from the pack by sticking to its roots. The story is a lighthearted tale between the forces of good (a goddess) and evil (an evil god), with a lackadaisical protagonist caught up in the struggle. Your goal as a Fencer is to collect all 100 Furies to awaken either the goddess or evil god — simple as that.
Fairy Fencer F also takes this straightforward approach with its script. There’s no angst, no pseudo-philosophical messages, no ambiguity whatsoever. Rather, each character is more than happy to crank out a pun at a moment’s notice. The jokes are admittedly groan-worthy, but those who have a thing for plays on words or fourth-wall breaking will enjoy the banter between your party.
So let’s say the jokes aren’t for you — is Fairy Fencer F worth it for its gameplay alone? That depends — are you big on strategic turn-based battles? Side quests galore? Complex mechanics lovingly explained by the heroine/teacher Eryn? Then this game is right up your alley. There is a lot to process in the game, as evidenced by tutorials that pop up hours within the game. However, those willing to brave its bevvy of menus and mechanics will be rewarded with a…rewarding system.
This complexity might cause a serious learning curve for some, but Fairy Fencer F makes it an easier trek by streamlining the process as much as possible. Stripping away the overworld and town exploration might be deemed sacrilegious to some, but it makes everything far more intuitive. By making things far more streamlined, it quickens the pace and cuts out a good deal of fluff among its 40+ hour playtime.
However, Fairy Fencer F could stand to lose a little extra fluff. Finding the 100 Furies requires a lot of backtracking to previously explored areas, which leads to a nasty grind. It’s not a deal breaker, but it can also feel repetitive.
Fairy Fencer F has what you might call a “casual filter” on it, something designed to turn away the vast majority of the gaming populace. However, this can also be seen as the real-deal, something made by and for fans of the genre. Those willing to take on the challenge will be treated to a fanciful world of fairies, fencers, furies, and full-on JRPG action.