Fairy Tail (PlayStation 4) Review

By Lilly K. 30.07.2020

Review for Fairy Tail on PlayStation 4

Fairy Tail is the most recent game developed by Gust and published by Koei Tecmo. Players familiar with the Atelier series probably have heard of Gust before, which was acquired by Koei Tecmo in 2011. Koei Tecmo has published a long list of well-known series, such as Dead or Alive and Dynasty Warriors. Fairy Tail will be released worldwide on the 30th August 2020 on Steam, and a day later on PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.

This new adaption follows the story of the Fairy Tail anime/manga very closely, but starts sort of a third of the way in, at the Tenrou Island time skip for those familiar with it. As such, players unfamiliar with the franchise may be somewhat confused about what exactly is going on. It does make a point of explaining events that happened in the story arch prior, but previous knowledge of the story still proves helpful. This does not mean that those unfamiliar with the story should not give this title a go, however - it is definitely playable and enjoyable regardless of prior knowledge. From the beginning, the game follows both major and minor plot lines from the anime/manga. While these are fun to relive, some are shortened in nature, and serve more as a memory aid than a full-on retelling of the the source material's events.

Generally, the lower budget can be seen in multiple areas. Disappointingly, character models of NPCs, such as the town habitants are limited so it appears that the same models were re-used over and over. While this can probably be contributed to a budget choice, it would have been easy to change at least hair styles and colours of costumes around to create a more diverse feeling. While the NPC designs are really quite boring, a lot more work has been put into the main characters' designs. These are wonderful 3D models of the original anime/manga characters that capture their nuance and signature looks. This is supplimented by the original Japanese voice acting cast from the anime is also voicing the in-game main characters.

Screenshot for Fairy Tail on PlayStation 4

This makes it feel so much more connected to the anime, and is definitely a big highlight. Unfortunately, only main characters have been given a voice. Other characters only speak through text and the occasional Japanese word. This is probably again due to budget, and can be forgiven. Voices are only available in Japanese, but the text, subtitles and prompts are available in English, as well as French. While this may be a bummer for some players, the Japanese voice acting is excellent, and stays true to the anime, so it is not necessarily a negative aspect. On the other hand, it is very clear what the budget was spent on: the battle system.

The battle system is incredibly diverse and interesting. Several commands, limit break opportunities, and more, make each battle an interesting strategic encounter. The turn-based battle system makes use of a grid in which enemies are placed into formations, allowing players to strategically use their attacks and magic to land multiple hits and area attacks to score multi-kills. The magic attacks are pretty much a mirror of the attacks that are used in the anime/manga, and there is a plethora of spells and skills which all take advantage of the grid system. Most interestingly this also uses an area of effect, displayed with red being strongest, and yellow being the weakest part of the attack meaning sometimes the attacks that hit the most enemies are much less effective than others. It's easy to see that the battle system was chosen to be turn-based to make use of the more strategic elements, as well as the library of spells allowing the developers to create hundreds of unique moves without having to assign them to buttons. It's a wonderfully designed and thought through system; battling in this game is a joy.

The world to explore is divided into different areas. For example, the player begin in the area in which Fairy Tail's guild hall is currently in, and can freely explore the town of Magnolia. Especially nice is that fans get to explore the city, which is laid out so similarly to the source material that it truly feels as though you are there. Small quests can be found in here every now and then as well, and all the major landmarks fans will know from the anime/manga, such as the cathedral and the large Fairy Tail guildhall are present. Players can also enter Lucy's apartment, and explore various trinkets and in-game unlockables - another bonus for big fans. From the town, guildmembers can travel to other areas. This is where monsters can be encountered. These will respawn whenever the player enters again, in other words, they make a good training ground. Items that can be harvested are highlighted by a light fountain and also respawn, which is incredibly helpful for fulfilling side quests.

Screenshot for Fairy Tail on PlayStation 4

Travel itself is made easy as well. While in Magnolia, fast travel to different areas of the town is available and saves a lot of time. Players can also fast travel to any other area. This makes cheating the system a little bit easy. For example, when doing a request that requires slaughtering a few bosses in one area, players may travel back to the guild after each boss, which automatically refills health and magic, after which they can travel back to the boss area to combat the next foe. On the other side, players interested in the story and single battles may find this helpful, and others may decide to just take the challenge and ignore this opportunity.

Fairy Tail, as a guild, works on requests. This is the case in the anime/manga, and it is the case here, and it makes so much sense. Instead of getting a random amount of money after defeating a monster resulting in the player wondering why on earth a monster carries money, players will only receive payment upon completing a request. Requests can be found, again just like in the anime/manga, on the request board in the guildhall. The player has to choose a request and then a team. Requests can be related to battling monsters or evil people, but they can also be about running errands and not involving any battle at all.

Screenshot for Fairy Tail on PlayStation 4

At the start, the player is limited when it comes to choosing team members, and only two are unlocked. Continuing to play will unlock other members that will first join as guests, and can then later be freely added to your team. Certain requests will require certain party members to be in your team, and these will then be locked in there. Fans will know that friendship, trust, and loyalty are very important for Fairy Tail, and the game makes this abundantly clear as well. Characters can level up their relationship by battling in a team together. Once a higher level is achieved, a character moment will be unlocked, and a bonus will be granted such as faster chain attack charging. People who have watched or read Fairy Tail will understand how this is related to the anime/manga, and how beautiful it is to see this implemented into the game. By doing quests, players can also increase the guild's rank. Ultimately, the guild should be in the number one spot. At the beginning of the game, they are in the bottom. There is a lot of work to do! A higher guild rank also means better requests, which also means more money. That makes sense - people will only ask a reputable guild for help. Characters themselves not only level up but can also rank up. Who ranks up when is up to the player's discretion. Ranking up also grants new abilities and buffs.

The available music is also of great quality, though fans of the show might be disappointed to know it's not pulled from it. This is a shame, but the work that has been done creating music that captures the essence of the anime is fantastic. Pulling from their experience with the Atelier series, Gust has created a soundtrack that somehow features the Celtic/ Irish music undertones of Fairy Tail that is mostly fantastic, although it does have a few less savoury tunes that are a tad repetitive. The theme and battle music capture the spirit of Fairy Tail, and for those who don't enjoy it there is a music slider in the audio options to reduce its volume.

While Fairy Tail offers many different features, from different battle tactics to levelling up relationships and ranks, it never feels overwhelming. Everything is organised very clearly, and one piece of information is presented at a time. The learning curve is incredibly smooth, to a point that players will be unlikely to get too confused by the amount of information and opportunities. The game offers enough time to get used to everything before players can decide whether they wish to move on. This creates an incredibly enjoyable experience.

Screenshot for Fairy Tail on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

It seems as though the limited budget available for Fairy Tail has been used in the right places, saving on unimportant parts, and spending on the important bits. The gameplay, ranking and battling systems are well thought-out, and presented beautifully. For a game with such a low budget, everything has been implemented very well. It is very clear that the author of the manga, Hiro Mashima, was closely involved in developing this instalment, as it represents the feeling of the anime/manga incredibly accurately. People familiar with the Atelier series may enjoy Fairy Tail, as well. While it would be nice to see this realised with a bigger budget, fans of the series and new players will likely enjoy this version.

Developer

Gust

Publisher

Koei Tecmo

Genre

Turn Based RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

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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