If you are already a fan of the Fairy Tail anime series, you won’t have problems sinking yourself into this game. The developer has committed a great deal of effort into ensuring that this game follows the anime’s storytelling. And If you are wondering if the game is suitable for Fairy Newbies, the answer would be ‘yes’. I dare say you would find enough information in the game to fill in the gaps to keep yourself informed and most possibly interested.
An incident on Tenrou Island has resulted in all prominent Fairy Tail guild members sealed away for 7 years. After losing their Guild Master and strongest members to the incident, the surviving lower-ranked members of the guild did their best to move on. However, the competitive landscape in Fiore (the country where the guild is based) meant the once formidable Fairy Tail guild will lose their number one spot in the guild ranking, succumbing to the bottom.
The team returns (7 years later) and finds that they have lost their prized Guild House and the remaining members have moved the guild’s operations to a shabby building on the outskirts of the city of Magnolia. Realising that the guild is now poor, full of debt, and scrapping the bottom of the barrel in the leader boards, the returnees vow to return Fairy Tail to the top.
The game starting off from the Post-Tenrou arc is key here because it means the Fairy Tail roster is as complete as it gets. The game would start at this point and end after covering the Tartaros Arc. Popular characters are all in the house and with progression, the player will eventually unlock all of them except for a few who would remain visible in the game, but non-playable in gameplay. Players can build a team consisting of two characters at first with the power couple – Natsu Dragneel and Lucy Heartfillia, before eventually unlocking more slots and playable characters as the game progresses.
A noteworthy mention here is the game does not impose a perspective lock on Natsu (the main hero). You may switch and walk around with any characters you want with a simple trigger of R2 or L2, if you’ve unlocked them, and they are in the party. With so many members in the Fairy Tail guild and every player with their own favourite character, having this freedom is amazing. Though some missions and quests would still require specific members to start. A party can house up to 5 characters after you have unlocked all the slots, enabling players to build a team with their preferred line-up of DPS and Support characters that suit their playstyle.
The line-up of characters available in this game is impressive, with most of the popular characters available as party members. A total of 16 characters available at the moment, both from and outside of Fairy Tail guild. Here’s who you can play as;
1. Natsu – Fairy Tail
2. Lucy – Fairy Tail
3. Erza – Fairy Tail
4. Gray – Fairy Tail
5. Juvia – Fairy Tail
6. Gajeel – Fairy Tail
7. Wendy – Fairy Tail
8. Mirajane – Fairy Tail
9. Laxus – Fairy Tail
10. Gildarts – Fairy Tail
11. Kagura – Mermaid Heel
12. Jellal – Crime Sorciere
13. Ichiya – Blue Pegasus
14. Sting – Sabertooth
15. Rogue – Sabertooth
16. Sherria – Lamia Scale
Although some may feel their heart pinched with characters like Markarov, Mavis Vermillion, and Zeref not included. Personally, I was hoping for the cats to be included as well – Happy, Lily, Carla, Frosch & Lector. It would be fun to have them in a team fighting enemies, wouldn’t it?
While the game’s story is fine since it follows the anime series, the way the storytelling unfolded was not as great. The game felt out of pace most of the time mostly because it always seemed to be rushing to the next point of the story, leaving some parts in between chopped off and the players left to their own to connect the dots. The Grand Magic Games chapter, for example, is full of gameplay potential but because it was rushed, the fights did not feel meaningful. I was hoping the developer would go the extra mile here by providing the players with more to do here like exploring the chemistry and history between guilds and making the fights more impactful.
Even the most epic looking animation can feel like a drag in a turn-based setting when you are forced to watch them repeatedly. This is especially so in a game where you have to grind. But thankfully, the game allows two modes that really smoothened this repetitive process. Animations can be set to off, and battles can be set to auto if you are confident enough to let the AI assume control of your party. The skills animation can be pleasant to watch at first but its quality tends to be inconsistent. For example, Erza Scarlett’s skills are admirable in visual effects whereas Lucy’s visuals could look better.
The developer has also added several features in the combat that involves more participation from the player than just having them select which skill or action to execute. For example, when a skill is selected for execution, the player may be prompted with options to follow up on the initial command with a combo from other party members. There are also instances where the player will be offered a chance to ‘Counter’ while on defense, or ‘Awaken’ their characters to gain massive power boost. With every attack launched, the ‘Fairy Gauge’ fills up a little and once it is full, the player can unleash a full party chain combo including the series’ famed ‘Unison Raid’ attack. The best thing is these player involving features still work during Auto-Battles. While the AI would dish out the best attacks it can, it would still give you a heads up when there is a chance for combos, counters, and awakenings.
So, not only does the combat system feels untiring, but it also manages to get the player actively involved so that the process does not feel boring and unmeaningful. For people who love grinding in RPGs like myself, the game has a feature that everyone would fall head over heels for – The ability to summon enemies. Yes, you will be granted a skill that allows you to summon enemies and start the fight immediately. It does not cost anything at all to do this, but the player will have to upgrade a section of their Guild House to able to summon more. At its peak, I was summoning a full 4 x 4 grid of level 99 enemies for farming purposes. Now, nobody has to waste any time walking around the map and fight the enemies in small scale battles for petty exp and rewards. This summoning ability was a godsend and made the combat experience in this game superbly convenient and fun.
Speaking of convenience and fun…
Top-notch Quality of Life.
This game is revolutionary when it comes to Quality of Life settings. I played this game on a PS4 Pro, but it felt like the game was running on a PC with good SSD. The loading time was unbelievable. There are local fast travel points within a city and traveling between them is done in an instant. Traveling between maps takes less than 3 seconds. The developer did not even bother inserting any Game Tips on the loading screen because it’s just unnecessary. In the event where the game needs a little longer to load, it does so in 10 -15 seconds and just to be cheeky about it, the dev added a MINI-GAME in the loading screen. You would use Happy (the cat) to smack a marquee of ‘Game is Loading’ with a fish and watch the letters fly away.
Returning to your Guild House automatically replenishes your HP and MP. I have lost count how many times I’ve fast travelled back to the Guild House just to enjoy this service and save myself some money on potions. Most of the side quests within the city are also conveniently placed near a fast travel point, making it an unforgiveable sin if you still left them untouched.Being able to fast travel around without having my mood and rhythm interrupted by slow loading is such a wonderful and addictive feeling. I bet this is how gaming on the PS5 would feel like
At the end of every quest, the game would ask if the player wishes to return to the guild and by clicking yes, you would be teleported back almost instantly. Once there, you don’t even need to walk your way to the NPC to hand over the quest, the game would then ask if you wish to turn in the quests and selecting yes would just clear your quest logs automatically.
One of the things I despise most is having to dig through multiple sub-menus just to check on one thing but thankfully, the UI interface in this game is friendly to the eyes and easy to navigate. You can easily find most of the things you want without going through more than one sub-menu. Again, this game triumphs when it comes to convenience.
Character Building and Upgrades.
There isn’t much for anyone to think about when it comes to character building in this game, in fact, I was quite disappointed when I found out that there was no skill tree and stats building involved in this game. The game would handle those in the backend, automatically unlocking new skills after certain levels are met. There are no equipment and accessories your character can don. The only thing closest to character building in this game is how your character can equip up to 6 Lacrimas. Lacrima is a type of crystal in the fairy series that contains magical power within them. Equipping them grants passive bonuses and they come in different grades. Though useful in the gameplay, they hardly qualify as a character-building feature. This resulted in all characters in this game being exactly as they are in the Anime, including their strength and weaknesses. The player has no control over their builds.
However, the developer did include other upgradeable elements in the game that provides more sense of progression on top of just basing it on character levels and story chapters. The Guild House is one of them. The house as several upgradeable sections that when upgraded, would provide passive bonuses to all your characters. There is also an Adventure Rank levels specific to each character. Raising their rank would unlock perks and more powerful abilities. The game also has an emphasis on character to character interaction where players would often find dialogues available between certain characters from time to time. Engaging in them would deepen the bond between them, therefore unlocking bonus passives. It looked like a chore at first considering how many characters there are in this game, but over time I have learned to enjoy their humorous dialogues that are often heart-warming.
By the time I completed this game’s Final Chapter, my gameplay hours stood at 25-hours. You could get it done sooner if you did not grind as I did. This was 3 days ago; I wasn’t expecting end game activities and I thought the game would just allow free-roaming (just like other games do) so that we can pick up unfinished quests for trophy hunting. Then it came, the ‘Epilogue’ with multiple hours filled with end game contents. The game now has new and tougher missions unlocked. Players who already maxed their characters at level 99, now have the choice to revert them to level 1 again while retaining their previously maxed stats. This process is repeatable until the player maxes all stats at 999. As I write this review, my gameplay hour stands at 40 and I am 2 trophies shy from the platinum, which I intend to get.
What I liked –
– Superb loading speed
– Simple and straight forward turn-based gameplay that constantly involve the player
– Great qualify of life settings.
– Humorous dialogues
– No noticeable bugs and glitches
– Game Size – 6GB
What I wished was better –
– Story pacing could be done better.
– More playable characters
– More contents because I want to play more of this game.
Fairy Tail is a basic JRPG game with many elements the hardcore RPG fans would miss, however, that didn’t prevent it from pleasantly surprising me in many ways. Although I have pretty much completed everything there is in the game, the top-notch quality of life settings and flash speed loading time left me wanting for more even now. This game may be simple but it has got so many things done right to the point it’s so hard to complain about it.