Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force Review

I’m a big advocate for Japanese games on Steam. And although I hadn’t played the original Fairy Fencer F when it originally released, I was excited for Advent Dark Force once I heard it was making its way to Steam. Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force adds new branching storylines, characters, endings and more. It’s the perfect jumping-in point for someone who hasn’t experienced the original, while still offering enough new content for series veterans.

Long ago a beautiful Goddess and an Evil God battled for control of the world. These two Gods reached a stalemate and all magic from the world disappeared. Fast forward to the present day where we meet our protagonist. Fang is a carefree young man who’s made his way to Zelwind Village. While in the village he comes across a sword impaled in the ground. Legend has it whoever can pull the sword out will be granted whatever wish they desire. And to no surprise our young carefree Fang manages to easily pull the sword out only to be greeted by a fairy named Eryn.

As we learn, Eryn is what’s called a Fury – a magical sword embedded with the power of a fairy. Fang now becoming a Fencer – a person who wields a Fury, sets off to find more Fury’s to save the Goddess and get his wish. Along the way he meets a a beautiful Fencer named Tiara who has the same goal of saving the Goddess. It’s up to Fang and his companions to scour the lands in search of the other Fury’s in order to save the world from certain doom.

Initially I couldn’t stand Fang as a character, with his carefree and childish outlook on everything it was a task within itself to care about him. Luckily the supporting characters are well-developed and take stead in providing witty banter that I really enjoyed. Fairy Fencer isn’t as lighthearted and whimsical as the Neptunia games, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously and offers a nice blend of composure and humor. During the second half of the game, Fang gains some much needed character development. I was quite surprised to see this as most Japanese games seem to gloss over development and stick to archetypes. It was a nice change of pace seeing him man up and take responsibility for his actions.

If you’ve played a Neptunia game in the past, you’ll feel right at home with Fairy Fencer’s combat and controls. Essentially it’s a fusion of action and turn-based combat. Battles can be initiated with preemptive strikes or by being attacked by an enemy, which transitions to a ‘Tales of’ style combat field. There’s a limited area that you can move and position characters and within that field you can strategically aim attacks to strike enemy weakpoints. Each attack has a cooldown which adds to how long you have to wait before being able to attack again.

Within combat you have your regular attacks that deal a moderate amount of damage, but on top of that you gain skills and magic that are effective towards different enemies. If you’re a more strategic player you can also wait a turn which ups your defense while you plan your next attacks. Each character has a special move called “Fairize” which lets you turn into a Super Sentai (Power Rangers) like form which boosts your health and stats. There’s plenty of depth to the combat with the ability to equip and level up fairies which each have their own strengths and weaknesses.

Fairy Fencer gives you the option of using the original Japanese dub or an English dub. Suffice to say I played with the Japanese audio, but I was surprisingly happy with the English voices. Idea Factory has a knack for actually caring about their dubs and it shows in this game. While I couldn’t name drop any actors by voice, the cast works well in English and the dialog doesn’t feel awkward or lacking like you tend to find with dubs. While we’re on the topic of sound, the game has a good score with plenty of variety.

Blending different genres like rock with more orchestrated instruments gives a grand sense of adventure and whimsy. Fair Fencer features one of the greatest Power Ranger inspired tracks I’ve ever heard. I can’t help but feel pumped up whenever this song started playing in-game and it really sets up the mood for boss battles.

Since the original Fairy Fencer was a Playstation 3 title, the graphics are a bit on the meh side of things. Luckily the game plays friendly with ReShade and you can achieve higher anti-aliasing and overall image quality with some tweaks. In-game graphics settings are on the lacking side per the norm, but if you have a little know-how with the Nvidia Profiler you can easily make the game look tons better.

Like a lot of other Japanese PC ports, Fairy Fencer includes a ton of downloadable content for free. We’re talking some game-breaking stuff that you would have paid a pretty penny for on the other versions. I wouldn’t recommend equipping these items as it completely ruins any sense of difficulty in the beginning. It took me a few hours before I was actually receiving damage from enemies when using the DLC equipment.

If you haven’t experienced the original Fairy Fencer F, I can easily say this game is worth a purchase. There’s plenty of content packed into this game. If you’ve already experienced the original and are unsure of purchasing it a second time, I oblige you to take a gander at what’s been added and evaluate if it’s worth a second go-around. With an overhauled combat system, new characters to join your party and new endings, there might be more than enough to justify a second purchase.

Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force is a breath of fresh air for JRPG’s on Steam. While it doesn’t offer jaw-dropping graphics or the most robust features, it’s still a damn good time if you have an interest in JRPG’s. If you’re looking for a game that offers great characters, a fun story and plenty of replayability, then I’d say Fairy Fencer F: ADF is for you.

Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force
Go Go Fury Rangers
Platforms - PC

Release Date - February 14, 2017

Special thanks to Idea Factory for providing a review code
Fun cast of characters with witty banter
Tons of customization options for weapons and skills
Branching storyline with multiple endings
Excellent music score with memorable tracks
Japanese and English voice dubs
Graphics are lacking in fidelity
Unlikable protagonist for the first half
Dungeon crawling gets boring