July 30, 2020
Platform PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch
Publisher Cow Tecmo
Developer GUST Studios
I have now rewritten the intro to this Fairy Tail review six times. Why? Well, I wanted to say something about how a licensed game will always be pitfalls. Do you follow the rigid story that can already be found in the canon? Do you create your own story, put it somewhere in a hole, but do you have to balance the already known power of the characters? Maybe you just say ‘sod’ and make a game like the Dragon Ball Xenoverse series.
All of these options have their merits, but it’s always best to use one, rather than a combination of two or more of the above. This is something Fairy Tail seems to be bothered from very early in the game and it continues to exist. Does this mean it’s bad? Does this mean it is good? Well, that’s something you’ll discover very quickly as you read this review. What I will say now is “sexy animé girls”.
I know, I shouldn’t be criticizing an anime-based game for the fetishism of big-breasted, toned, flawless complexion … where was I again? Right, the characters. Maybe I’ll forget something, but I don’t remember Lucy posing for a fight, showing off her plunging neckline and giving a sly wink as if to say ‘let’s start“to give the rest of the team a boost. Certainly to get a discount at a store. Anyway, the characters look great with animé-like visuals that always age well and look like the source material, open only with extra costumes (natural bathing suit of course).
Gust, who had developed the long-running Atelier series, would never get it wrong aesthetically. Animations are fluid, well detailed and very flashy when it comes to combat. In and out of battle, with the built-in cutscenes and pre-rendered cutscenes, it all looks and sounds great from the voice actors to the battle effects and soundtrack. I will always advocate using the original Japanese audio, then you don’t have to worry about janky lip sync.
At least it shouldn’t be. It’s just a pity that the audio plays about eight to ten seconds before the pre-rendered cutscenes. There aren’t too many of them, so how they misunderstand that, I’ll never know. It got to the stage where I was skipping scenes, if only because I already know the source material and because those specific scenes didn’t show Lucy, Erza, Mirajane or any particular action I really wanted to see, despite the pre- emptive audio.
I mentioned the story at the beginning, you probably wonder what I mean. Fairy Tail actually follows two parts of the manga and anime, namely the Grand Magic Games arc and the Tantaros arc, using the ending of Tenrou Island as a tutorial. Eclipse Celestial Spirits is simply not mentioned, and Sun Village is relegated to a few images and a quick voiceover. Frankly, it works. It doesn’t lose any of the main story beats, so don’t worry if you’re new to the franchise. However, there is a big problem with the story, the tempo.
Before I get into that, as there is a fair amount of negativity on the way, let me say that I had quite a laugh with the game. In some parts of the game, the characters bounce well together, small scenes for the game that make you like the characters and should really be useful to those unfamiliar with the series. For someone who is, it’s appropriate and comical, it works.
Anyway, here it comes to Fairy Tail with that mix of following a rigid story and creating your own story. That is, if it would create a compelling story to pull you in. If you’re not a fan of Fairy Tail and the characters in the property, so much lukewarm, pointless, busy work will get. If you don’t know, the guild (Fairy Tail) has been missing for seven years because the ghost of a former guild leader brought together the guild’s strength to survive a devastating attack by creating a fairytale atmosphere, it just happens time stops also inside … Just read the wiki.
All you need to know is that since you’re just starting out, the guild has no power, your characters have no power and it’s time to start all over again. There are bits of story here and there, all of which follow small assignments over time. It can stop a group of thieves, who happen to steal because they spent all their money on search parties for you. Maybe it’s to stop a group of monsters who are just as fond of stealing skinny underwear, which of course most of your female characters wear. Either that or one of the many reasons to visit the handful of areas in the game, killing this monster of the day.
All this is to build your character levels, your guild rank, your character rank in the guild, the bond between your characters, the level of the different facilities within your guild and the equipment (Lacrima) that your characters can use. I have never been so happy that there is no system where you choose different skills and take them to the next level, because there is so much to manage already and later when you can add a lot of extra characters to your ‘friends’ list, you look at the time an MMO is worth to get them all to the highest rank and with maximum bonding.
It wouldn’t be that big of a deal if managed differently, but you’ll gain experience and gain common items by killing enemies. You increase the bond between characters, gain character rankings and general guild rankings by completing tasks. These tasks are not really different from others, such as tasks that require you to purchase special items to upgrade your guild facilities by killing enemies, you guessed it. Well, not always, sometimes you can also be tasked with going to an area and just picking up the item. It’s all annoyingly monotonous after a while as it gets a huge grind at times, some quests require you to raise the guild rank to continue.
What doesn’t help is that you don’t really encounter a wide variety of enemies. Of the ones you come across, you’ll find higher-level variants that just have a different color, which is just a cheap cop-out. I don’t want to fight a yellow version of the same dog that I killed a million times. I don’t want to fight a purple golem with glowing lines either, it’s dragging the Stone Golem in, I’ve already killed a load. It’s a shame because I love the turn-based combat system thanks to the grid system.
Before I talk about that, I want to praise the AI, because for a fair amount of Fairy Tail, you get guest characters, before eventually making them your friends, who you are not in control of. They will fight alongside you and frankly they perform admirably well. The attacks are what I do for the most part myself, and they make solid, tactical decisions when taking out enemies.
So fight. Like I said, it’s take turns. As your characters line up starting at three and eventually up to five, your enemies take up space on a three-by-three grid. It offers some interestingly big battles in the game and also allows huge enemies, such as dragons, to take up much more space than what a single person would do. The best thing about it, though, is that the attacks you have at your disposal affect different squares and different strength. Combine this positioning with monster weakness and it can be surprisingly satisfying to take out even multiple enemies at once while leaving one alone that can absorb your attack.
So far so good. Adding to this is also a fairy tale meter for your entire group and an awakening meter for each character. The fairy tale meter is essentially a super attack, letting you link multiple attacks together, create huge combos, and eventually deal an absolutely insane amount of damage while attacking every enemy on the field. Awakening, on the other hand, allows you to fully build and activate it, unlock new moves, heal your character or other effects depending on the character. Otherwise, you can use part of it to perform a follow-up trap. A lot is happening, but, unlike other aspects, it all goes together perfectly and creates something interesting and interesting.
If I said anything, Fairy Tail feels like an Atelier title, but limited because of the license it’s based on. What was alchemy is now magic, and retail or urban development is now guild development. This is not an open world game, but one with a number of cards that are usually linear with a few branching paths blocked by obstacles. What I like is how the monsters roam the map and you can destroy the obstacles by fighting near them, taking from 500 to over 100,000 damage in one attack.
So, do I like Fairy Tail? I really enjoyed my time with the combat system and I like the story and some of the smaller elements, although it helps that I am familiar with the original work. On the other hand, there is way too much busy work and some aspects offer a bit too much fan service, even though Fairy Tail generally offers that, then you have the problem that the audio track takes about eight seconds on the pre-rendered cutscenes.
I didn’t answer if I liked Fairy Tail. It is well. I spent over thirty hours with it and if I wasn’t having fun I would have turned it off a long time ago. I can still accept that I get quite bored sometimes. If you like Atelier you will probably like this. If you like turn-based JRPGs with some fun additions to the fight this will work for you. Despite all its flaws, I will probably get it on the Switch.
PC version reviewed. Copy provided by the publisher.
Fairy Tail is a very similar game to the Atelier series, borrowing only one characters and story directly from another source material. The story here, based on two separate narrative arcs, fits well with the way it is laid out and is arranged in such a way that newcomers to the franchise are not held back. However, other aspects are mixed. The turn-based combat is much more tactical than the average JRPG, offering an interesting grid-based system that helps keep it captivating. There’s a fair amount of character interaction and humor to be found, but the huge, overhanging problem is that the quests and the game in general demand way too much printing from you in terms of building your guild, character relationships, character and guild ranks and more than I can remember. Fairy Tail has somehow managed to keep my interest, but I can’t deny that it has ground up too much to get boring.
- An interesting retelling of two stories that newcomers to the franchise can easily jump into, with little scenes that can be funny and make you love the characters more
- Good visuals and audio, especially the combat animations and attacks
- A really engaging and interesting turn-based combat system thanks to the inclusion of the grid
- PRESS WORK
- — Really too much repetition in quests that are required for far too many aspects of the game
- Lots of repetitions with hostile types, just give the same model a different color and stat boost.
- The audio track is not synchronized with that of the pre-rendered cutscenes