Fairy Fencer F Review
How many Hyperdimension Neptunia games were released this year so far? Let's see: we have the remake of the second game, Re;Birth 2: Sisters Generation; the remake of the third game, Re;Birth 3: V Generation; Hyperdimension Neptunia U, an action game spin-off; and Hyperdevotion Noire, a SRPG spin-off featuring another one of the CPU Goddesses.
There are quite a few RPGs to work through from Idea Factory in what can be considered their 'flagship' series alone, even moreso now that they are slowly being ported to the PC. That said, Idea Factory has made more than just a startling amount of Neptunia games, and the release of Fairy Fencer F on Steam goes to prove that.
And with good timing, too--with many IF fans potentially growing tired of the Neptunia universe, perhaps a new setting with many of the same system will re-ignite the fans' love (or hate) for the developer.
Fairy Fencer starts off simply enough as we're introduced to Fang, a simple-minded young man that pulled a sword out of a stone in hopes that the fairy inside would grant him the gift of endless food. As that not came to be, however, Fang is drawn into a dangerous world by the mysterious Tiara, who means to revive the Goddess to defeat the Vile God once and for all.
It's an interesting world that Idea Factory has crafted - while the plot seems like the typical 'save the world' story, a sudden twist turns a lot of the game on its head, and transforms from something light-hearted to darker in tone. However, this twist isn't also also completely pulled off well; to avoid spoilers, it's essentially done in a manner that most players become upset about. It's no different in Fairy Fencer F, which makes a fair bit of repetition that is less than wonderful to play to completion.
In all honesty, between the repetition and the mostly trope-y characters, the plot really comes of as hit or miss. There will be people that enjoy it, and those that hate it with a fiery passion. As for me, I felt it was tolerable enough; while I didn't particularly enjoy it, it served enough of a purpose and motivation to work through the various dungeons that were presented to me.
Dungeon crawling is fairly typical. Explore the area, fight monsters, eventually beating a boss and getting a reward--but with a twist. Players can use Furies, which they get from completing dungeons, and change the attributes of said dungeon, like increasing experience or making enemies more difficult.
It helps making the dungeons a bit less monotonous, though I will admit I mainly just used the Fury that gave me more experience, to prevent a need to grind. So while that system is in place, that doesn't mean it needs to be used to really progress.
Fairy Fencer F's main drawing point, though, is the battle system. While it is turn-based, characters can move about the field and use combos to attack, as well as use special skills, spells, and use the ability to Fairize, which is essentially a super form of sorts. Anyone that has played any of the recent Neptunia remakes will find this quite familiar; after all, it's mostly the same system.
While it may seem like this might become tedious for normal battles, the fighting is quite snappy when it needs to be. Since battles aren't random and can typically be initiated at the player's discretion, it rarely, if ever gets tiring.
On the graphics front, the Steam version of Fairy Fencer F brings the RPG to a 1080p resolution, and it looks pretty nice. Of course, that's also because the original game on the PlayStation 3 looked good, with nicely done character models and colorful, fun graphics. Then again, those graphics did come at a bit of a cost.
With the PS3 version, in the dungeons there would be frame rate drops, which didn't typically affect gameplay but was still a bit jarring and disappointing. This is still the case with the PC version, even running off a high-end computer. It's unfortunate that Idea Factory didn't take the chance to fix this issue.
I should make a special mention to the music, which was composed by Nobou Uematsu. It's very solid overall, as to be expected from such a well-known composer, and really adds to the enjoyment of the game. Even the ultra cheesy Fairize theme has its own charm to it, even if it may be a little grating after a while.
In the end, Fairy Fencer F is a title not everyone is going to enjoy. Those that like Idea Factory titles will find plenty to like here, but those that tend to avoid the company for their faults are not going to enjoy this RPG either.
I feel it's one of the developer's stronger efforts, as Fairy Fencer is a new universe with new characters and eventually tries to take a darker approach, but it's still laden with tropes and other issues people oft find with their games. This title isn't going to win any new fans, but those that are looking for an IF fix between the Neptunia releases will find a solid title to play.