Fairy Fencer F Advent Dark Force on Nintendo Switch
Compile Heart has gone on and given players yet another look into Fairy Fencer F with Advent Dark Force. While it isn’t a direct sequel, this upgraded version boasts tons of new features, from upgraded visuals to bigger, better fights. Despite its serviceable story and compelling customization features, Fairy Fencer F Advent Dark Force still falls flat in several areas.
Fairy Fencer F Advent Dark Force still follows the same merry band of misfits, starting with a lazy, no-good anime protagonist named Fang. In his continuous quest for food, he stumbles upon a mysterious weapon called a Fury that houses an amnesic fairy named Eryn.
Forced into partnership, Fang becomes a Fencer –a person who can wield a Fury and invoke the fairy’s power. The two join forces to collect the other Furies scattered all across dungeons in an attempt to free a goddess who had been bound during a battle with an evil god.
If it wasn’t obvious enough, Fairy Fencer F Advent Dark Force makes the most out of anime tropes with their cast of characters. You have the snooty rich girl, the pale-skinned adorable killer, the sophisticated gentleman, and literal walking fanservice.
What may seem like a generic cast is brought to life by Compile Heart’s brilliant translation team, filling in conversations with witty remarks and sharp banter. There were a few times I found myself chuckling during discussions between the cast and the NPCs. All of the skits are fully voiced, which is great for those who don’t enjoy reading piles of text.
Fairy Fencer F Advent Dark Force has heavy elements of a visual novel, evident by how conversations flow between character portraits. The only real time you get to see your character is inside dungeons, while the town with all its amenities and other locations are mapped out by menus.
Fang’s journey takes him and his newfound friends around different dungeons to collect Furies who house fairies inside. Your characters can equip any fairies you find, giving them a few status bonuses and other useful buffs.
These fairies are also used to free the gods from their shackles. Each fairy has their own rating, and you can only remove a certain shackle if you have a fairy with the same level. Each time you remove one, you’ll initiate a battle you need to win. Any fairies you use to free the gods will receive buffs to their abilities, urging you to collect as many Furies as possible.
While you do have the option of following the original game’s route (otherwise known as the Goddess route), you can switch things up and free the dark god with your fairies instead. The opens the route for more endings, which is one of the biggest reasons why veterans should pick up Advent Dark Force.
The dungeons you explore aren’t exactly long-winded and complex, but fairly straightforward with a few branching paths that lead to the occasional loot. As you explore, you’ll come across a handful of enemies you can initiate in combat.
Fairy Fencer F Advent Dark Force follows the traditional turn-based system in which both allies and enemies take turns in attacking. The game attempts to mix things up by letting units move around an open battlefield, allowing you to position them freely. Both normal attacks and skills each have their own range, so it’s up to you to strategically position your characters so that they land their attacks.
Combat itself is fairly straightforward, with a combo system to keep things from getting too stale. You can now bring up to six party members in combat, which is an added feature in Advent Dark Force. Characters can chain attacks together or exploit enemy weaknesses to deal more damage, which adds another small layer of strategy.
There’s also another mechanic called Fairize that lets Fencers merge with their fairy, giving them a major stat boost and access to devastating moves. It’s a great way to spice up your battles and plow your enemies with some flashy skills.
One issue I did have with combat was the lack of diversity among enemies. There are units that have been simply reskinned, having the exact same attacks and ability animations, making dungeon runs feel much staler than they should be.
Outside of combat, your units will earn levels and points you can use to upgrade their certain attributes. Fairy Fencer F Advent Dark Force boasts an impressive customization system that allows players to freely invest in certain stats for each character. I had Fang turn into a DPS specialist, focusing heavily on physical damage, while another character leaned more towards magical attacks and defense.
You can also unlock more combo skills by collecting points, letting you chain even more attacks together. Customization and chaining would definitely feel much more rewarding if it wasn’t so easy to just simply spam the same attack button to end battles quickly. There’s very little reason to pull off your grandiose combos and even Fairize except during certain boss fights.
Another bigger gripe I have with Fairy Fencer F Advent Dark Force was the abysmal frame rate. The review build I played was struggling to meet 30FPS during exploration, and there were even moments when it dipped below that. This is even considering the fact that the Nintendo Switch was docked at this point, although there hardly seemed to be any changes in handheld mode.
What’s worse is that I even came across some very few crashing issues, which spells bad news if you don’t save frequently. Thankfully, it never occurred during dungeon exploration, which is the only area where you can’t save freely.
The game itself doesn’t look too technically demanding, so it could just be an issue of bad porting. Idea Factory has managed to roll out a recent patch that promised to fix these issues, but it still leaves a lot to be desired when entering dungeons and certain areas.
Fairy Fencer F Advent Dark Force is a deceptively simple game housing some deep customization options. It’s easy to get into if you’re new to the series, while veterans will no doubt enjoy all of the new content that’s been padded on. While it no doubt caters to a certain audience, Fairy Fencer F Advent Dark Force does show both promise and potential in the niche market.
Score: 3/5 – Fair
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