Developers: Compile Heart, Idea Factory
Publisher: Idea Factory International
Platform: PlayStation 4 (Reviewed)
Release Date: Available Now
Price: $59.99 USD – Available Here $89.95 AUD – Available Here
Many people are extremely familiar with the concept of having a re-release of an older title as this current generation of consoles is absolutely filled with games being given a fresh coat of paint and trotted out to market. Now while Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force is indeed a re-release, it is a bit different from the rest as it is something more of an expansion on the original game as it promises to offer new story content as well as refined gameplay. Back when I went through the first game I believed that it had plenty of untapped potential, but now that it has been released again does the game fare any better?
Legends say that a Goddess fought against a Vile God in a battle for the world and in order to damage one another they used beings called Furies but despite the creation of these beings the battle ended in a draw with both beings being sealed. Throughout the fight many of the furies missed their mark and fell to the world where they are now awaiting to be wielded by those who are worthy.
Few would expect that a worthy person would be such a layabout though. Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force starts off the same way as the original game with a man named Fang, who would rather be eating free food from a jail cell and sleeping his time away than worry about trying to save the world, becoming the owner of a fairy named Eryn after pulling out a sword that was rumored to grant wishes to the drawer with ease in a small town. Eryn suffers from memory loss but it is quickly made evident that her purpose is to help revive the Goddess and now that Fang is a Fencer capable of collecting these Furies, he is set on his path.
Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force remains extremely close to the storyline from the original game with a few extra scenes being slipped in to help introduce unique events and give players choices that will eventually lead them down some of the new paths that are offered in this enhanced version of the game. Where one of my main complaints in the original game came from the stories simplicity and the way events were handled, I can gladly say that this issue is mostly rectified thanks to the changes made in this release.
While things still take a bit of time to unfold players will find that many of the characters in the game have been reworked in small ways to help them mesh together as a cohesive, albeit still incredibly strange, group. The new writing helps explain various twists that previously came out of nowhere and provides context to the way characters end up acting. Considering there are more storylines to explore, a few of which shine new light on previous characters, it is great to see that extra attention has been paid to the story quality this time around while also retaining the same brand of humor that helped redeem the original storyline when it was at its weakest.
As for these new storylines, newcomers will likely find themselves struggling a bit with exactly what decisions they should make and what path they should follow while returning players will be more than eager to see the new events that are waiting for them, especially since previous enemies will end up becoming allies if you tread down the new paths, which is something far more worthwhile than many remade titles tend to offer these days.
While the storyline has been given a reworking and a number of new additions, the gameplay in Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force is mostly just tweaks and increases to what was originally on offer. Players will still be exploring fields and dungeons where enemies are shown in the field and can be attacked by players for an advantage or simply avoided altogether.
Once actually entering into combat players will be treated to a faster style of gameplay than originally offered thanks to the fact that the game now supports six fighters. The turned based combat style remains fairly untouched though the game does feature stronger enemies because of this. That being said the title does offer three different difficulty modes to choose from now so it is up to the player if they want to submit themselves to the heavy grinding that is required to clear the higher difficulty or simply breeze through the game on easy mode. Considering the original game was a bit too easy in its own right, the standard difficulty now is a satisfying medium that will please most fans of the genre.
In combat players can still trigger their “Fairize” transformations, changing the look of their character and also providing them with a serious boost to their abilities and access to powerful skills. Thanks to the fact that these forms are limited in use and can only be performed after the tension in combat reaches a certain level for each character, it is up to the player to decide exactly when they wish to unleash their attacks as doing so too early can be a bit costly, especially at boss battles where mistakes can still be punished even on the easiest difficulty.
The standard features of the game also return such as taking on side quests, using WP to buff up a character’s stats, add onto their combo meter, or unlock skills, unsealing either the Vile God or Goddess, buffing characters thanks to the Furies that have been gathered or even altering the elements of dungeons with the abilities of Furies in order to provide some extra variety or increase the rate of XP gain to lessen grinding.
Visuals & Audio
It is interesting to note that although Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force is being released on the PlayStation 4 that the game has not really been given a whole lot of touch ups from the original PlayStation 3 release. This means that while the character portraits are still highly detailed and a bit more varied this time around and the CG scenes are as wonderful looking as ever, that the core gameplay models are still fairly bland in appearance. This issue is carried over into the dungeons which are similarly bland and unimaginite. One thing worth noting however is the fact that the slowdown that would happen in the original release when large skills or the impressive looking Fairize transformations occur is no longer a problem in Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force.
The title features the original Japanese voice track as well as the English dub and while Fang may come off as rather unappealing at the start in the English voice track, he begins to grow on you while the rest of the English voice work comes off incredibly well in both the old and new content. The soundtrack consists of a large number of extremely enjoyable background music, especially when it comes to the “Fairize” transformations.
Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force may not fix all of the issues that existed in the core game as the dungeons are still very simplistic in nature and the story takes a bit too long before things begin to get interesting but it does offer a far more enjoyable and imaginative storyline than before. Thanks to the difficulty modifier allowing players to challenge themselves and the same style of humor that shined in the original game, returning fans will be pleased with the enhancements this time around while newcomers can enjoy a far more refined experience.