Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force (PlayStation 4) Review

By Ian Soltes 09.08.2016

Review for Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force on PlayStation 4

When it comes to things like Advent Dark Force, which is something like the 'Definitive Edition', 'GotY edition,' or whatever, the formula has largely been the same before. Take the base game, slap on the extra DLC, tack on a bonus dungeon or two, and release. Only rarely does it ever move beyond that. Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force is one of those "rarely-s" and it shows, but still feels stitched on.

Released all the way back in 2013 Fairy Fencer F was about what one would expect from a Compile Heart game. While it is probably best to leave that up to the individual to decide as to what that means in terms of quality, suffice to say it wasn't about to rock any boats. So now, three years down the line, a new title has been released. What could one really expect from it? Well, shockingly, while one might not expect much from what most would assume to simply be the 'final release,' a lot actually comes forth, and, for that, Compile Heart must be applauded.

First off, however, some basic groundwork for those whom are unfamiliar with the series: long ago RPG Cliché #252 happened in which a Goddess of Light and a Dark God fought it out and ended up killing each other in the process, via forging a bunch of swords imbued with 'fairies' to wield at each other. Now, young heroes whom have found these swords, called 'Fencers', seek to travel throughout the world to find all the swords to become a Pokémon Master return the Goddess to the world - thusly fulfilling RPG Cliché #62. This time a young man named 'Fang' has pulled out a sword containing a fairy by the name of 'Eryn' (Cliché #19) and soon teams up with a young woman named 'Tiara' (Cliché #21) in order to save the world.

Screenshot for Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force on PlayStation 4

It fit Compile Heart's style almost perfectly. Repeating dungeons, tons of quests to complete, a sizable chunk of clichés, but over-ruled (at least partially) by some decent characters and a general attitude of "let's just have some fun" instead of opting for some deep story or the like. Effectively, this is the Saturday Morning Cartoon series to the prime-time shows of bigger companies. It had positives and it had negatives, as Cubed3 discovered. Now they've re-released it and changed a lot! Right off the bat, the combat system has been drastically altered.

Taking a page from the Megadimension Neptunia VII, this has shifted its combat system. Still in place is the old manner of switching between multiple weapon styles with their various strengths and weaknesses, switching between direct attacks, attacks to knock opponents into the air, and attacks that allow for follow-up strikes, however, a 'break' system has been added in.

Screenshot for Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force on PlayStation 4

With this some enemies will have certain parts on them which can be broken to alter the battle or provide bonus loot. However, they can only be broken by attacking with certain weapons adding in a much-needed reason to head out and utilize more than one or two attack strings, and vary up weapon selection a bit. To make it better, now the number of characters that can be deployed has been changed up to six, allowing for many more characters to be fielded and to not feel so artificially constrained and limited.

The biggest of all changes however? New dungeons and story sections have been added, including a few that allow for more focus on characters such as Ethel. In fact, quite a bit has gone from being merely 'okay' to being 'decent'. The new combat system and ensuing changes actually work out quite well on the whole with the new dungeons adding in a bit of variety, new characters to recruit, a new combat system, and so-forth.

Screenshot for Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force on PlayStation 4

Despite all this, though, there's one huge problem, and it's with the first three words of its title (as opposed to the last three). Things feel stitched on, and it's quite clear that they are. For example, the player will meet up with Ethel at least twice before her original joining time, know full-well who she is, and won't be surprised in the slightest once she actually shows up. Despite this the game still gives her a '???' nameplate.

Breaking enemy parts, while it should feel engaging and tactical, sticks out as being a bit too rare at times to feel like anything but something added in after the game was released, as well as including breakable objects in dungeons and the like. It's clear some maps were made with it in mind and clear others were not. Had Fairy Fencer F been made with these mechanics in mind, it wouldn't be so obvious that Advent Dark Force decided to include them afterwards.

Screenshot for Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Make no mistake, Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force is a big step up, and its changes are good ones. Even if it will cost more upon release, should you seek to get involved with the original, this is the entry to do it with. However, the stitch-marks where things were added in after the finished game are quite clear and unhidden. On the whole, though, it is a welcome improvement over the base title.

Developer

Compile Heart

Publisher

Idea Factory

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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