Version tested: PlayStation 4 Pro
In recent times Fairy tail has become quite a popular franchise. With a rich history that has almost gone through 300 anime episodes it's a manga successful, it was only a matter of time before the shōnen manga of the fantasy genre written and illustrated by Hiro Mashima got its first videogame adaptation. Developed by LIKE and published by Koei Tecmo, Fairy Tail is a great fan service title, but it will hardly be appreciated by newcomers.
A must for fans of the franchise
Fairy Tail takes place during the story arc of the Grand Palio of Magic, which is about halfway through the anime and manga and ends with the Tartaros arc, although a surprise epilogue is also included in the game. This means that many of the characters and their backstories have already been explored extensively and, unless you are a fan, you may be confused. The Grand Palio of Magic It is considered the best arc in the franchise, but where the story begins in the video game and where it ends, players will wonder what the hell happened before and what happens next.
It's like reading a book from the center for a few chapters and trying to connect the dots and guess how it will turn out. The game provides a little explanation of what happened in past arcs, but it doesn't really go into detail. It does the same thing with the characters too. Why is Jellal so hated by so many people from other guilds? Why is everyone obsessed with Zeref and what exactly is Acnalogia?
These are just some of the questions that are not really answered in the two narrative arcs that the game follows and only fans of the franchise will be able to really follow and better understand the narrative plot. While Fairy Tail is not very attractive to new fans, it is instead a must have for those who know the work of Mashima. The writing of the game is top notch and goes hand in hand with the source material.
Many combat options seem overly complicated
Fairy Tail is a JRPG in turns. The system adapts perfectly to the game and allows you to try out a large amount of characters and their unique moves. Enemies appear on the various maps you explore, so battles are not random and can be avoided, which is great because there are a lot of enemies and not all of them are worth fighting with.
Combat takes center stage in Fairy Tail and that's what you'll be doing most of the time. So it's a good thing that the system not only works well, but is also fun. Battles are turn-based and enemies appear on a grid. Magic is your main attack and it is what you will use in every battle. You have a normal attack but it is so weak that you will only use it when you have run out of magic points, which does not happen very often. Each attack requires a certain amount of magic points and is based on a grid. Some abilities can be used in a horizontal line up to three spaces, while others will hit enemies positioned in an X position on the board.
Finding which attack to use and when to use it is quite fun and allows you to constantly ponder different attacks and strategies. Sure, one move can cost more magic points than others, but that doesn't mean you'll do more damage, rather you'll hit more enemies. Each magical attack also has a power level between one and five. As your character levels up, his attack will increase as well. Most of the abilities also add various effects, such as dealing defense damage or stunning enemies. The most important ones will allow you to beat the enemies on the grid by moving them to optimal positions in order to hit them with better attacks.
The power of teamwork
In addition to the "classic" JRPG bindings, Fairy Tail offers many different options and features. Chain Link is one such skill where you can link attacks between all party members to perform a final combo attack. It also allows you to summon an unplayable character such as Master Makarov or Kanna who possess the most powerful Fairy Tail abilities.
Each character also has an awakening bar that fills up during combat. This bar when full will allow you to awaken a character. At first you will simply get a buff for an attack, but later the characters will transform giving them new abilities accessible only in the awakening phase.
The Awakening bar has another important use. While filling, you can choose to use part of the bar to call an ally to perform a subsequent attack at no additional cost to that character's magic points. While there are many tools to help you in combat, many of them seem overwhelming as you don't need to use them. The game itself is not very difficult and features only a few encounters that will challenge you. Especially by carrying out some collateral activities, it will be possible to quickly increase your level. This will facilitate you in different fights.
Side activities reward you in several ways
The Fairy Tail side activities are available in the request board, which will constantly update with various missions to complete. Most of these are simple: you kill X amount of monsters, but some of them actually have some funny cut-scenes and humorous dialogue. The missions almost feel like anime filler episodes in which guide members try to stop a smuggling tour in the town of Magnolia or retrieve mailing packages that contain delicate female undergarments that a pervert has stolen.
Fairy Tail will reward you for everything you do. Completing requests will not only grant you currency, but will also increase your guild rank. Another advantage is that you can increase the bonds of guild mates. Increasing bonds will not only unlock character-specific side stories, but will also allow for longer and more powerful chain links.
Increasing the character rank will unlock alternate costumes to wear, but above all passive abilities for individual characters. Lucy will unlock the ability to enter a seductive position before a battle begins to give his teammates an edge in battle (something he tries to do a lot in the anime) hoping he can distract the most perverse enemies. While Gray has a five percent chance to take off his clothes during combat to increase his speed.
Rebuilding the guild offers many rewards
Rebuilding the guild is one of your goals. There are various parts of the guild that you can rebuild and upgrade, such as the Item Shop and the Lab. The lab allows you to create Tear that acts as game gear, altering a character's stats.
Upgrading and restructuring the guild will also grant you a permanent increase in EXP that members of the reserve group receive or lower shop prices. Rebuilding the guild is an integral part of the game and the better the guild looks, the more requests the guild will receive.
The classic setting from JRPG
The various locations in the country of Fiora are quite standard for a fantasy RPG, forests, snow-capped mountains and tropical beaches are fully explorable. The game itself isn't a graphics powerhouse though. It's not a bad game at all, but it clearly doesn't go beyond its limits and for large parts it almost seems to come from a past console generation. in fact, GUST's past titles look much better. The world itself isn't all that exciting either. The NPCs simply stay in one spot mostly alone and it is possible to meet several of them with the same features.
A huge amount of missing characters negatively affects the story
The main character models look great with GUST's signature art style, but there's a catch. Not all characters are actually present in the game. It's incredibly frustrating to watch and listen to a conversation with a character who doesn't exist. The comic appears and you can see their illustration, but they don't actually have a real model through which they talk to us. It wouldn't be a problem for the minor characters, but most of them are high level criminals and allies. It's awful to join the guild and see it populated by random NPCs instead of our real guildmates.
Fairy Tail does not feature a Spanish dub, only a Japanese one (with English subtitles) and the music, while not licensed, really strives to recreate the atmosphere and sound of the anime.
Fairy Tail is a good first attempt to bring this massive franchise to home consoles. GUST does a good job of not only recreating the world and characters of Fairy Tail, but also in terms of writing and character growth. It's not every day that you play a game that rewards you for every task you complete. The combat is a highlight and works well but the exploration, as well as the lack of different characters, leaves a lot to be desired.