Fairy Tail is a popular anime series that has been turned into a videogame. It’s set in a world full of magic users who band together to form guilds and are basically bounty hunters, performing tasks for everyday citizens of its world. The game starts off a fair bit into the anime series, towards the end of the Tenrou Island arc, starting somewhere around episode 120. I would recommend watching up to there before playing this game if you want to follow the story, but it is certainly not necessary as the game introduces you to each of the characters quite well, except for the villains. There is still a fair bit of lore and terms to learn that will make a lot more sense if you watch the anime before playing. It will also help get you acquainted with some characters that don’t appear to be in the game. Considering the dub of the anime is so good, it’s a surprise to see the game only has the Japanese voice acting with English subtitles.
This game is yet another turn-based RPG. It has a 3×3 square based field system, in which your attacks/spells will cover a specific pattern of these squares, allowing you to affect a certain number of enemies. Combat requires a lot of strategy, since basic attacks also consume your mana bar, unlike other RPGs. It seems like an odd choice, however it works very well for this game since it forces you to use your spells more. Defeating enemies replenishes some of your mana to compensate for what has been used in the battle. Even spells that only have a small mana cost are still significantly more powerful than basic attacks which encourages the use of spell attacks rather than just relying on basic attacks to save mana. In other RPGs, I would try to attack my way through most areas and as much mana as possible for healing and other situational spells or for bosses, however, this game really pushes you to use what mana you have. This feels like a nice change, especially with some spells being more powerful but targeting fewer enemies than say a spell targeting 3 enemies with low attack power. I’ve personally found this to feel a lot more strategic than other RPGs thanks to all of this. There are also elemental weaknesses/strengths to consider, that are largely different to the normal earth beats water, water beats fire, fire beats earth. Instead it has 7 types of elemental stats, normal/physical, Fire, Ice, Demon, Holy, Light, and Dark. Normal/physical is the most unique one, as the others are all paired up, Fire and Ice are strong against each other, as are Demon and Holy, and Light and Dark.
Dashing around the world feels great, but even walking is fairly quick and the controls are nice and smooth, possibly due to it being 60fps even on console. This isn’t very surprising as the graphics aren’t all that impressive, though they look really good for a game that went from a 2D anime to a 3D game. And the size of the game is only around 6gb as well, making it a great game to pick up and not have to worry about having a massive download or update to play. The game is filled with lots of laughs, showing moments where characters have those classic anime emote faces, though they look very strange as they linger at you until you move the conversation forward.
The game also has a few cool things like working your way up a guild rank ladder and ranking up characters alongside your levelling, going from 0 to 10 stars. Ranking up takes a currency obtained through questing, and ranks above 3 require progress through the story to unlock. There’s also a mechanic called bonding that will give you bonuses between different characters. You increase bonding between characters by taking them with you in your party. Equipment is also different to other games, getting you to equip items known as lacrima. Lacrima can have a variety of effects, doing basic things like increasing your attack or defence, as well as more interesting things like increasing your exp gains, and there are 5 different tiers of quality. Sometimes you’ll be forced to take certain characters with you on a quest, and when this happens, they’re known as guest characters. You can’t adjust their equipment or control the guest characters in battle, however they still gain exp. Normally once you’ve had a character join as a guest, you’ll unlock them after finishing the quest, allowing you to take full control of them again.
If you enjoy Fairy Tail as an anime, then I’d highly recommend picking up this game since it throws you back into the world pretty quickly and reminds you of how fantastic the anime is. If you haven’t watched the anime, this is still a good game to grab with its small install size as well as enjoyable gameplay, as well as the incredible visual design of spells and animations. I’d consider this game worth trying just to see some of the spells alone.
Review by Josh Braham