Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force
Welcome to the Normie Channel and today we will be talking about Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force (FFF). How this is going to work is I am going to rate a game on a scale of REEE’S with each extra E being a higher rating. Ten E’s being: “this game is the shit and I recommend it” and a hard R being “it’s shit and you should stay away from it.” I will also give ratings from both the perspective of the typical gamer and from that of a typical weaboo. That way, I can determine which demographic I’d recommend this game to. So let’s get this started with the basic premise.
Your name is Fang and you follow the trope of the chosen hero via the Excalibur rite of passage. You pull out a sword and you become what is known as a Fencer: a fighter that harnesses the power of a fairy to fight against the Vile God and revive the Goddess. To do that, you must find other Fairies and their swords.
Along the way you’ll meet several characters:
Tiara, the refined and elegant woman with a deep, dark secret.
Harley, the curvaceous and busty researcher that loves researching fairies to the point that it’s “borderline” sexual.
Pippin… the green thing.
Ethel, who’s edgy and socially challenged for the sake of filling the tragic backstory trope.
Sherman, the ultimate social justice warrior gone full Civilization Ghandi.
Apollonius, the stoic pretty boy that’d totally be the top in a yaoi ship.
Lola, the greedy, opportunistic, money-hoarder and token loli.
And Galdo, the guy who’s such a bro, you’d suck his dick and still claim “No Homo”.
So now that we got the premise and the cast out of the way, let’s talk about the good things.
Holy shit, this game has the most memorable characters just because of their unique personalities and humour. I would have to say this is arguably the best part of this game, mainly because the amount of time you spend chatting with the characters makes you really invested in their lives and interactions. The most notable would be Fang, the protagonist. Over the course of the story, he changes from the most gluttonous and slothful piece of shit into a man of conviction and justice. He starts off not wanting to do anything and just wanting to eat and sleep.
Time and again he hints that he is under that façade a genuinely nice guy by the way he saves his friends and the way he follows his beliefs to a T. The ultimate turning point was at the mid-point when he experiences a tragic loss. At this point, he becomes fully aware of how precious life is and faced with the newborn sense of mortality he sets off to always do good and, after some plot events, do his best to save lives. This is evident when he tries to spare and redeem even the most sinister of people by inviting them to join his cause to revive the Goddess.
But we get a slow transition as Fang character changes dramatically alongside Fang’s, showing that Fang’s maturation into a hero has a positive effect on his teammates. Eryn slowly begins to fall in love with Fang despite hating him at the beginning and, in the end, sacrifices herself so that Fang may continue living.
Although a fair chunk of the characters have no evident character development, you can’t help but love them all (except one) due to their quirky personalities. Harley is “borderline” sexual with her research on fairies and that’s always some fun and steamy dialogue and, to be honest, it is hilarious. Apollonius is a stoic and powerful male character but has a complex about being a pretty boy. It is hilarious when he gets defensive when someone calls him on it. Galdo is straight up a bro; he is a devout follower and will back you up on anything you do. He is the ideal best guy friend. He is the type of friend that you would invite over to watch Hentai while drinking a cold beer. It’s fantastic the way Fang and Galdo interact, always bumping fists and locking arms out of companionship. Ethel is one of the adorable token loli that every weaboo trash game needs except now it comes with a 100% more edge. She speaks only with the word “Kill” and her fairy interprets her. Once you get her in your party, you find out that she is actually the most adorable thing and that she is in fact, capable of regular speech.
This leads me to my next positive thing. BUT HOLD YOUR HORSES. I will talk about this from two perspectives since it isn’t for everyone.
The writing (for the most part)
The writing is funny and doesn’t take itself seriously. However, when stuff does get plot heavy, the writing does a good job of making all the characters feel natural. It is because of the writing that Fang’s character arc isn’t abrupt. The writing shows you that after he makes a change in his personality, he is still not perfect.
Now if you’re a weaboo, then the dialogue is exactly as you’d expect it. Funny and immature and very, very anime-like. Because, to be fair, it pretty much is an anime. The girls have their must-have breast size jokes and the guys have their slap-stick comedic bickering. You’ve got that one guy that’s so serious and stoic that it’s a fucking joke how many things go right over his head. The dialogue is as anime-tropey as it can get. For an anime fan, this is completely fine. In fact, it is a plus because it works well and it’s something that an anime fan is comfortable with.
This topic is so broad, that I will have to touch on it again during the negatives sections. There are narrative pieces that I am REALLY not a fan of in this game. But for the most part, I give it a good score on its humour and engagement.
The gameplay (part 1)
The gameplay is exactly as you expect from a CompileHeart game: flashy and repetitive. We see this kind of gameplay ingrained in Japanese video game culture as Japanese games tend to focus on grinding and pulling out MOTHER FUCKING HISSAAATSSSUUUU (final attack).
But, as a reviewer, I am inclined to put my own opinion in this piece and I will say the gameplay is a lot of fun. The way it works is that you have 5 stages of attacks for each button and you can map a different attack to each button such that you can press any order of buttons and you’d have a different combo. This lets you customize your combo depending on the enemy.
There is also a guard break mechanic that causes an enemy to take extra damage for some set amount of time if you attack their weak point enough times. The combat is also pretty menu based like most JRPG’s where you open up a menu and you pick a special attack to use. The way you use them involves the way you move around the map. Each character has an area that they can move in defined by their MOV stat. Each attack has an orange bar that dictates what gets hit. Thus, you would position yourself right, line up the orange box to highlight the maximum number of enemies and then pick your attack.
Then you get yourself a fancy cutscene to showcase the attack. Finally, we have the ultimate ability.
It is called Fairize. If any of you guys have ever played a CompileHeart game, there is always a transformation move. Fairize involves combining with your fairy to increase your stat parameters. To transform, you need to fill your Tension Gauge by attacking. So, with that in mind, this game is exactly as you’d expect when watching a Shounen anime: tropey and super flashy action.
Okay, so we’re done with the positives. Now we finally move onto the negatives and boy is there a lot to nitpick. I might remind you that, despite all this, I still had a great time with the game but for the sake of objectivity, I will state some negative points for the game.
The story starts off pretty weak as you’re slowly eased into the responsibility of the new King Arthur-esque character and simply told what to do and what not to do. It picks up when you receive subtle hints at an underlying plot element via the character. Spoilers, it is the character, Tiara. The plot thickens as you get an overall sense of mystery and suspense stemmed from the hints Tiara has been dropping. The story hits its first climax with a tragic death and the characters are thrown into a time-loop. This is when the story peaks and then begins to fall apart. A character named Sherman, who I will get into detail in another paragraph solely dedicated to him simply due to his offensiveness as a plot element, haphazardly decides that everyone needs to die. You replay a lot of the same things with the same event unfurling, albeit with some differences because Fang retains his memories. So no, it is not as bad as the infamous Haruhi Suzumiya Endless Eight. It is at this point that I became a Nihilist. Nothing you do has any weight, because the stakes make no sense. The story literally falls apart into a pitiful mess, not unlike a pile of vomit and diarrhea. The only thing that does this half justice is a really cool final boss fight.
Remember what I said about Sherman. Let’s talk about him.
Sherman is the saddest excuse for a plot-twist character I have ever seen. Let’s start with the way you first get introduced to him. You meet him at a gala and mildly embarrass him but end up starting a fight with him in public. You quickly get the sense that this man is probably the nicest guy with the purest morals. Sure, that’s dandy and all, but that makes for the most 2-Dimensional character to ever exist. His dream is to achieve a world of peace, okay, that’s a reasonable goal in a world dominated by good and evil.
Cut to the middle of the game and BOOM plot-twist, he wants to merge with the Vile God and kill everyone because obviously that is the best way to achieve world peace. Hah, more like a world of peace and quiet. There is seemingly no concrete basis for why he developed this way. I wish I was joking but he, in the most essential way I can describe it, went: “I want world peace, so I will merge with the Vile God, and kill everything that stands in my way because everything is evil.” You can argue that it’s just twisted morals, but that doesn’t really roll when he decided to kill a child and her father, making his newly painted character very inconsistent.
What makes this bad is that there is no lead-up to this development, it was a snap decision. Additionally, it also completely trashed the character that was already made for him. It would have been infinitely more serviceable if he had a mini-character arc to show his slow descent into utter depravity and injustice. What makes it even worse is that, despite clearly being a character simply for the sake of being a plot device, it doesn’t even do its job well. The plot-twist is sudden and not subtle whatsoever. It’s unexpected in a bad way, and it doesn’t leave much to the player’s interpretation. To contrast this, let’s look at a plot-twist done right, without spoilers. A game called Trails In The Sky achieves the best plot-twist by subtly revealing a plot-point at the end of the game that makes you question the true meaning of everything that transpired. It leaves you in absolute awe as you can only imagine what the implications of this reveal are. Cut back to FFF, Sherman makes this plot-twist and it doesn’t make you question the events that transpired because everything that did transpire is set in stone. Add that to the fact that it is sudden, gives you the feeling that this Sherman guy was shoe-horned in as villain.
Having this plot-twist blow up in your face is kind of like watching JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure and you think it’s the Vile God but in really IT WAS ME, DIO!…. except it was Sherman.
And the way this was all done was like being cucked, being coaxed into snafu, having a ruined orgasm. It is simply unpleasant, harsh and ultimately does the story and character injustice.
I swear there is more to be said but I, as an amateur writer, simply do not have the prose to convey it, but I want you, the reader, to understand that I feel a lot of anger by the way this was handled in the game.
*Ahem*. With that now out of the way, let’s talk about:
The gameplay (part 2)
The gameplay, despite having a lot of mechanics, is actually very two-dimensional and shallow. The combat is repetitive and is pretty much transform and spam you’re most powerful moves. There is not anything strategic about the game and there is definitely nothing that stands out about the gameplay. Battles end up taking up to, no joke, a couple seconds to complete due to the inclusion of the L2 Skip button. The combat cutscenes take awhile and, due to the lack of variations, can get quite monotonous to watch over and over again.
I am not joking when I say that my strategy for the final boss was simply have everyone transform and spam their ultimate move while smashing L2. The final boss literally took, 1 minute to beat. So for the typical gamer, expect to be extremely underwhelmed around your fifteenth hour of gameplay.
Related to gameplay is Difficulty Scaling. The difficulty seems to be all over the place. One would expect linear difficulty increases but, for some reason, every location, no matter how late in the game, seems to have their own difficulty meter. Some early-game locations are hard as fuck and some late-game locations, which require you to be level 200, can be completed at level 60. The lack of consistency makes this game feel disorganised, as in you never know how to prepare for the next location. Some bosses have incredible difficulty spikes as well, with some being able to one-shot your party on the first turn. You can see why it is necessary to transform as soon as possible. Again the lack of coherency regarding the boss power scaling makes it difficult to really prepare for any boss fight.
Overall, despite the glaring flaws, I am inclined to say that I still enjoyed the game. Mind you, not because of innovations and story but because of style. I enjoy mindless grindy games with very anime-tropey development and dialogue. In that regard I feel it is necessary to distinguish between to demographics when reviewing this game.
For the typical videogamer, this game rates: a hard R.
It’s weaboo trash, its repetitive, uninspiring, possibly misogynistic, boring, and incoherent. Nothing about this game speaks to the regular gamer because simply, it wasn’t made with the regular gamer in mind. This game is directed towards a set group of individuals that live and breathe weaboo trash games. As a result, I would NEVER recommend this game to a regular gamer and, from their point of view, the game is utter shit.
For the weaboo, this game rates a solid: REEEEEEEEE
It is almost perfect for the common weaboo. Everything is included: the tropes, the breast jokes, the anime waifus, and the typical anime story. This game, to the typical weaboo is a very RAW experience, the very barebones of what makes a game barely a JRPG, and I use the term JRPG to coin games specifically catered towards the subset of Japanese otaku via their tendency and culture. The game is very grindy, very arcadey, very anime, and very full of lewd imagery. I don’t mean to disrespect the JRPG genre as a whole because describing JRPG as this formula is absolutely discrediting some extremely fantastic works out there. However, what I really mean to say is that the typical low-budget, almost shovel-ware JRPG produced en masse in the Japanese gaming market usually follow this formula. Since those games are especially popular and prevalent within the Japanese gaming community, I had to describe this game as RAW. Nevertheless, if you enjoy anime and have body pillows, in your room, I would definitely recommend this game, the reason why I wouldn’t give it a full 10 E’s is because of Sherman.