Going into this review, I have to admit I was prepared to dislike Fairy Tail. For one, I could never get into the anime, I just found it a little too… cutesy, for want of a better term. And on the other hand, having played a lot of JRPGs over the years, I got to a point where I felt as if “you’ve played one, you’ve played them all.”
However, I was pleasantly surprised. There are some ideas employed in Fairy Tail that made this appeal to me more than I expected.
Not being a fan of the series, I was initially overwhelmed. The developers, Gust, did a fine job of introducing the setting and the storyline, but there is some expectation that players have an understanding of the characters and the world in which the game is set.
Still, there is an in-game repository where players can access this information should they choose; otherwise, over time the character’s personalities come through anyway.
Fairy Tail Review (PS4)
Fairy Tail, for those that aren’t aware, is a magical guild in the land of Fiore. At the beginning of the story, they fight a powerful being who appears to summon the dragon Acnologia. In an attempt to protect themselves, the members of the guild create a magical barrier that displaces them 7 years in time. Returning to Fiore after 7 years, they find their guild is all but disbanded, and the other guilds have surpassed them in many ways.
This is really an excellent setting for a video game, because, from the very beginning, you have clear tasks – restore your name, restore your guild to its former power, and learn new abilities. All of this is achieved in a number of ways – the guild has a variety of sections that can be upgraded, allowing players access to better items or better quests. The quests level up as both the players and the guild does. And the story progresses as the player progresses – it’s all very straight forward.
In terms of role-playing, I’d probably suggest Fairy Tail is good for newer players or those that have tired of complexity. Each character within the guild is set – their abilities are based on what type of magic user they are, and the only real way to augment them is by use of Lacrima, which are crystals that can increase HP, MP, add damage effects, mitigate damage, and so on. As the player progresses, these get more powerful, allowing players to further augment as the game progresses.
Further, story progression also unlocks other abilities – summons, Awakenings, and so on. Character interactions also progress friendships between individual characters, which allows characters to upgrade ranks, unlocking more Lacrima slots, and also unlocks support interactions during battles.
Battle itself is quite interesting, with enemies laid out in a 3×3 grid. Player abilities attack different patterns on the grid, with certain sections receiving more damage than others and so on, allowing players to select abilities that can either wipe out the entire grid, attack specific groups of enemies in one go, or simply attack a single enemy. Initially, this is a very novel approach to the turn-based system, but as you progress through the game, it almost becomes unnecessary.
I began to find the game too easy and was merely mashing my way through battles with one-hit kills. Thankfully, you can increase the difficulty level at any time.
Fair warning – don’t play on easy. It really is too easy.
In terms of the missions themselves, it’s fairly standard RPG fare. There are a bunch of unlockable areas, some of which are dedicated to battles and exploring, some of which are towns, which also include some battling, but are more focused on exploring and storytelling. There are fetch quests, kill XX number of enemies quests and seek the big bad monster quests. Each pays out in coin and renown – coin to pay your bills and buy your upgrades and items, renown to… increase your renown and therefore your guild rank.
While these missions are nothing special, and they are quite repetitive, the game doesn’t waste any time. Loading times are short, maps show you exactly where you need to go, and once the final target is achieved, it prompts you to go straight back to your guild to get your reward. Love it. I do hate games that waste my time.
From here, the game progresses at its own pace – if you want to do more side quests, you can, and when you’re ready you can continue the main story, but if you don’t the game will tell you what it needs when the time comes.
For the most part, this results in an enjoyable path – a few quick missions interspersed with side quests, followed by a progression in the main storyline, rinse and repeat. However, over time it does become repetitive, even a little boring. Still, the story is enjoyable enough to carry the player through 20-30 hours of gameplay and once complete, the player can continue with character quests and completing the guild, should they so desire to complete all of the stories.
Personally, I enjoyed my time with Fairy Tail, but I would suggest players start on Normal and increase the difficulty when they feel comfortable, as a game like this really benefits from strategic decision-making in order to keep it interesting. However, it is just simple enough to mean that, for me, when my time was up, I was glad to move on to something else.
Fairy Tail was reviewed on PS4 using a digital copy provided by the publisher.