So I’ve spent about a week at this point giving NIS America’s latest offering a go. And I’ve got to say that I’m getting a lot more than I expected from Fairy Fencer F.
Weird title aside, this is a game that is doing something that I haven’t had from a game in quite a while. Its actually keeping my interest.
I’ll be honest, I’ve had some mixed reactions to NIS America titles in recent times. I thought Witch and the Hundred Knight was only so-so, Battle Princess of Arcadias was decent, but lacked the ability to really keep me playing due to some complicated aspects with the battle system and I just didn’t have the time to play The Guided Fate Paradox and Mugen Souls Z. Other reviewers from the GameNTrain and GameOnGNT teams had the honor of giving those games a go in my absence.
But Fairy Fencer F has been different. I’ve been playing this game for about a week now and look forward to picking up the controller at the end of the work day and giving it a go. While its not a perfect game, there are a number of things about it that keep grabbing my interest and keep me playing.
One of those things is the game’s addictive battle system.
Battles in Fairy Fencer F have an extremely good flow and are pretty quick. The battles actually begin before you encounter the enemy, as you actually take a swing at one of the monsters on the field as you approach them. If your swing connects, you get a pre-emptive strike and your party gets to move first. If you are caught mid-swing, after the swing or the enemy touches you from behind, then the battle will be an ambush and all of the monsters get to attack first.
Once that’s out of the way, battle takes place on a 3D battlefield with turn-based combat. When your character’s turn comes up, you can move them anywhere within a set radius to attack the enemy, use magic, act as healer, whatever you need them to do. This creates some strategy, in that you can position yourself to attack the enemy from behind, or you can move out of an enemy’s range and bombard them with magic spells. Some enemies can use magic though, so a ranged strategy won’t work on every opponent.
As you level your character up, you can start getting more attacks per turn through combos or even Avalanche attacks. Combos remind me of the battle system in Legend of Dragoon, where different buttons correspond with different attacks. Avalance attacks are similar to Saga Frontier, in that characters with similar speed stats can attack all at the same time. The only different between Saga and this game is that combining attacks doesn’t impact your other characters turns.
I loved the battle system in both Saga Frontier and Legend of Dragoon and to see these elements both present in this game’s battle system makes it insanely addictive for me. And that’s not even getting into one of the bigger elements seen in the battle system… Fairize!
Fairize is what happens when you build up your ‘limit break’ meter enough. I call it a limit break meter because, let’s face it, every RPG and its mother has been doing limit breaks ever since Final Fantasy VII. But basically, you have a meter that fills every time you land an attack or take damage. Once that meter is completely full, you can Fairize, which allows your fairy and your fencer to fuse together to take on a super mode.
This again is very similar to Legend of Dragoon, where you could take on a dragoon form and perform higher damage and more powerful super moves. What I love about Fairize though is that the battle becomes entirely jazzed up once you take on this new form. The background music changes, your character gets new moves and gets buffed up, it just really energizes a battle when you hit that point.
There’s much more to the battle system than just that, but these are the elements that are largely standing out to me at this point. Its fast, its got a lot of energy and its a lot of fun!
That’s all for our look at Fairy Fencer F this time. Next article, we’ll be taking a look at the game’s levelling system and what makes it stand out!