Fairy Fencer F takes place in a land devoid of power. Long ago the goddess of light and the god of dark fought until their war came to an impasse, sealing their souls away. Fencers, those with powerful weapons imbued with fairies, are on a quest to collect weapons in order to awaken these gods. The main character, Fang, finds himself forced on this journey upon finding one such weapon. Along the way he’ll meet other Fencers, duking it out with evil forces, etc. The story is as cliché and drab as it sounds, but there are peaks of wit and charm hidden away here. Plus the voice acting is actually pretty decent. It’s just a bit dull narratively speaking.
The battle system is similar to Mugen Souls Z where players enter combat by running into monsters on the field. The order is turn based where characters can move, then attack in a free-range arena. Think of it like a tactics game without the grids. The skills are flashy and the ability to fuse with weapons is interesting, but that’s about it. It’s a pretty bare bones RPG in terms of mechanics. Similar to other RPGs, side quests flesh out the campaign, of which are mediocre at best.
And this is what holds Fairy Fencer F back the most: bad design. The world is colorful and the anime portraits are stunning, but the environments lack any appeal beyond that. For a console RPG one would hope a world as imaginative as this one would draw players in. It feels hollow almost like the game started as a portable, but was switched to the PS3 at the last minute. Nobuou Uematsu, of Final Fantasy fame, and his Earthbound Papas comprised some of the music, but this also falls flat. It’s an unfortunate blend of talent across the board.
Fairy Fencer F isn’t all bad. The ideas implemented seem like a good mix, but they are under utilized. Everything about the game feels like an empty experience: a razzle-dazzle roller coaster, obscuring the lack of depth behind the scenes. Fans of Compile Hearts’ bizarre creations may dig this, but for this writer, well, not so much.
Score: 2/5 Stars
Special Notes: The publisher provided a review code for the game. This article was originally published on September 16, 2014 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.