Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force - PC/Steam Review

Ah, hello again! Did you make sure to bring some extra cash?

  • System: PlayStation 4, Steam
  • Publisher: Idea Factory
  • Developer: Compile Heart
  • Release Date: February 14, 2017

Who it Caters to

We're going to get straight to the point and let you know that Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force is not a game for everyone, and while it does have some solid perks pertaining to expanding your characters, the game can feel very flat. Fans of the series may very well be enticed by everything the game comes with, but for those who are looking to pick up a new PC JRPG to add to your collection, it may not suit your tastes. Much like any JRPG, Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force plays in a very linear fashion, perhaps almost too linear at times, and comes with a relatively interesting plot to keep you interested.

Idea Factory certainly loves fooling around with youthful looking characters, throwing in various personalities to add humor and vibe to the overall appeal. The customization system pertaining to weapons and fairy upgrades are quite nice, while the added DLC allows players to take part in more challenging dungeons which add more replay value to the game. With that being said, however, the game can feel bland at times and feels too easy even on harder difficulties. We’ll go more into detail about that later, but for now, let's look at what to expect.

What to Expect

As we mentioned earlier, Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force will certainly cater to those who follow the series quite passionately, and much of what's in store for them is totally relevant. However, for anyone who wants to dabble with a port that came directly from the PS4 exclusive, it may be something to think about before clicking on the purchase button. Now don't get us wrong, we're not trying to say this game is beyond terrible because it truly isn't.

There are some very awesome aspects about this game that truly make it worth diving into such as the deep skills and weapon upgrading system, various challenging dungeons that will test your tactical thinking, along with other perks that are sure to intrigue you. The only problem is just getting through those bland moments until you finally arrive at those nice moments, and that's where the real challenge lies. A lot of the battle system comes from an improved version of the Hyperdimension Neptunia system, which does feel a little better but not dramatically better.

It's quite similar to that of an anime series that you were anticipating for months, only to have the first few episodes start off really tasteless and cumbersome, but then around halfway things actually started to pick up. The only problem with that is you've probably either moved onto something else or you stuck around for it but now there's this bitter taste left behind. That's the feeling we had with Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force, we had high expectations and felt it would deliver, but it should've come out of the gates running instead of just waddling around hoping we'd still tune in. Once we got past the early hurdle, we did find enjoyment in the narrative and found the challenge to be worthwhile in later dungeons.

Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force Iffy-cial Announcement Trailer

Story

Aside from the improved graphics and larger battles, the story comes with a few additions such as two added storylines, along with special endings for every girl in the game. Many years ago there was a massive battle that ensued between the Vile God and the Goddess. Both gods were evenly matched in strength and so it was decided that they would create an assortment of special weapons imbued with their godly energy, all of which contain the life force of a fairy within.

Now as centuries have passed, these very same weapons have been scattered across the land and now these weapons known as Furies are highly sought after by skilled warriors known as Fencers. Now it’s up to Fang and his new Fury Partner Eryn to restore peace back to the land before any other threats appear.

Gameplay

Hits and Misses

Idea Factory was kind enough to provide us with the entire DLC package from the get go, and we love them for that. The only drawback is that it made the game almost too easy to play through, and we grew bored quite quickly. We played on hard mode and with all of the DLC perks attached to our characters, it felt nothing near what the actual difficulty should be and was a total drag in the beginning. The battles felt weak because we'd just steamroll through everyone with one or two hits while taking zero damage from the enemy. In a way, we felt bad for the enemy because they worked so hard to kill us, while we stood there mocking them as our health bar didn't move an inch.

Of course, you could easily just not use the DLC and truly immerse yourself in a challenging battle, but then why offer DLC? We tried playing without the costumes and fairy buffs and while there wasn't a huge difference, it certainly required us to use our brain a little more. We also noticed that despite entering different dungeons, the enemies seemed to look very similar with the only difference coming from the names of their attacks.

One example is the firebird that you’ll find in the fiery caves which use Fireball to attack you. Then in the icy dungeon, you find that very same looking bird but now uses Hailstorm to chuck balls of ice at you. A little lazy on Idea Factory’s part, but does it take away from the overall charm of the game? No.

One thing we did really like was that Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force did a splendid job of providing detailed tutorials about the game mechanics and how they'll benefit you later on, alongside very quirky and witty characters to make things enticing. Fang and Tiara are so funny to listen to especially when they get into these wild arguments, while Eryn tries to mediate everything only to get insulted by Tiara’s sharp tongue.

This back and forth in dialogue is what really made the game entertaining because when the gameplay started to feel bland, the story did a great job of bringing you back up to speed with humor. You'll certainly be lured in which is perhaps the great perk about Idea Factory, they really know how to make things interesting even though it may seem corny at times. That's the charm about it, though, it's not trying to be your AAA RPG title of the year with all of these fancy upgrades in graphics and state of the art mechanics. Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force stays in its own lane and is very proud to do so, giving players a unique experience that you'll only get in this game.

Full of Humor and Depth Later in the Game

Aside from the drawbacks that you’ll come across when it comes to the overall feel of the game, Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force starts to pick up steam once you reach higher levels and the enemies start to really hit hard. In spite of the stiff and rigid movement pertaining to dashing to avoid being targeted by enemies, or simply just trying to jump on top of a platform, battling, in general, is quite fun once you’ve mastered a lot of your weapon skills and upgrade your Resonance. You can set up various methods of attack whether it be strictly ground-based, or you can combine ground, magic, and air based attacks to deal more damage. Air based attacks launch the enemy up into the air which then can be followed up with other moves that can really cause massive damage to bosses, especially in the later dungeons.

Even in the early phases of the game, you’ll find yourself trying to come up with creative ways to take advantage of the combo system, while trying to avoid taking any damage from the enemy. By doing so you’ll receive various awards such as Ability +4 for taking no damage for the entire round, or scoring perfects. Once you launch into your powerful Fairize mode, you pretty much turn into this incredibly strong godlike warrior, who can take out a group of enemies relatively quickly with some well placed and calculated attacks.

In the equipment upgrade section, you have different sections that you can level up such as Abilities, Glaive (Tiara), Swords, and whatever weapons your character has equipped. Your abilities pertain to things such as P-ATK (Physical Attack), M-ATK, P-DEF, M-DEF, and various others that you’ll need to consider before progressing.

This part of Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force is where all of the fun really happens because it’s where you can truly come up with your own playstyle and use it to your advantage when engaging in tough battles. You can also create your own formation much like you could in other Idea Factory RPGs like the popular Neptunia series. Speaking of Neptunia, you can don her wacky face as a head costume which only adds more to the humor of the game.

As we mentioned early in the article, the major strength of Idea Factory falls in the category of their use of dry humor and craziness. A lot of what happens in the game is all visual, and so you’ll be doing a lot of reading as you dive further into things. The dialogue is full of witty punchlines, cheesy one-liners, and catchphrases that are sure to make you chuckle especially by the likes of Fang and Tiara. We especially loved Lola just because she’s so adorable to look at, and she loves taking money from you every time you need some sort of help.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

Overall Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force was a game we were highly anticipating but it somehow fell short of the hype meter we were looking for. Those who fancy the series will surely be licking their lips in excitement as it provides all of the perks needed to be enjoyable, along with the mentioned DLC perks to really liven things up. Nothing much has really changed from the PS4 exclusive to the PC port aside from some visual upgrades and added perks. The gameplay still remains very much the same and doesn’t seem to steer itself in any other direction.

Like we said, the game is quite linear in its approach and that should be obvious considering how Idea Factory and Compile Heart like to create their titles. Not groundbreaking by any means, nor is it downright terrible. Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force is simply just not going to be for everyone, and we wanted to stress that to ensure people don’t get the wrong idea. If you’re really into the JRPG style that Idea Factory is notable for then, by all means, grab this one, level up Fang and the rest of the adorable cast and beat the living crap out of everyone.

Honey's Pros:

  • Lots of things to do once you reach higher levels, and enter the harder dungeons.
  • Without the DLC perks, the Hard Mode can be very challenging [The harder mode is wicked].
  • Dungeons can be fun if you enjoy farming for EXP.
  • Wacky humor and charming dialogue.
  • Each character has a cool personality to match their appearance.
  • Very detailed tutorial for new players!
  • Larger battles compared to the original.
  • More story time.

Honey's Cons:

  • Linear gameplay might turn some people off.
  • DLC perks take the fun out of the early game since they’re so strong.
  • Laziness on the enemy design aspects.
  • Not the best looking visually speaking.
  • Movements felt a little stiff.
  • Can’t skip the tutorials if you’re a veteran 🙁

Honey's Final Verdict:

Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force is one force that you can probably handle, especially if you’ve played the previous version. Those who are just diving into the series will need to get used to all of the gameplay mechanics, but that will all be taken care of with the game's spectacular tutorial that will truly provide all the info you need.

For veterans, however, this tutorial may come off as a bit cumbersome and will find no need for it. Be that as it may, this game comes with its hits and misses but by no means is a bad game. It’s simply an acquired taste that not many people will find appealing, much like Natto. If you’ve dabbled with the Fairy Fencer series and would like something new, grab this one!

Let us know what you think about Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force in the comments section below, and be sure to follow us on social media where you can share your favorite articles with your friends all around the world!

As always, for all things sweet, with news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

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