All you anime fans out there, like me, have likely been waiting for the next big anime title. We had several strong years of Naruto dominating the charts with Ultimate Ninja Storm, then, of course, there were the Dragon Ball Z Budokai titles and now? Well, audiences in the West have their first foray into the Kingdom of Fiore as we get to play with the wizards of the infamous magic guild Fairy Tail in the appropriately titled RPG, Fairy Tail.
There’s a fire in my belly
In Fairy Tail, you follow the infamous guild of Fiore through several key arcs in the anime/manga. You play as a whole host of members in the guild and for the most part, it’s simple, dumb, fun. That is until you realise, and you realise this quite quickly, that this game was created with the bare bones of knowledge required to make a Fairy Tail game.
When I started Fairy Tail, I immediately noticed that the developers had decided to skip the first 12 arcs of the adored manga/anime. What did this mean for me and any gamer? It meant that unless you are a big fan of the anime/manga you will not care about any of these characters when the story decides to skip 7 years within the first 5 minutes of the game because you’ll have no prior knowledge to what all these characters have gone through up until this point.
Another immediate element that took me out of the game was the graphics. The visuals of the game from the characters designs to the locations are a generation behind. This title is a middling PS3 game not a game in the wind-down years of the PS4. This was a key element that the developers needed to nail down because what Fairy Tail excels at are the visuals in their battles. When a fight is happening in the anime or manga there is frenetic energy. It’s a visceral experience and this game barely hits those highs.
This is not the vehicle for Fairy Tail
I suppose the biggest frustration is that the combat system chosen for it is wrong. This is a turn-based combat system where a five-man team fights against any number of foes. This restrained combat system where you strategise to take on your foes simply does not convey the over the top action of Fairy Tail.
Even if the combat is restricted the design of some of the “spells” is still ridiculous and fun. Seeing Lucy summon Virgo and watch as Virgo washes away Lucy in her attack along with the enemies is quite hilarious. It may still be lost on you if you’re coming in as a non-fan as their relationship is barely explained save for a few scant lines of dialogue scattered across the game.
The Dragon Slayer wizards are given the most devotion because obviously they are the coolest characters. Natsu, Laxus, Gajeel, Wendy, Sting and Rogue are all playable characters and all have visually engaging abilities, even if one or two of the moves seem like copy-paste choices by the developers (looking at you dragon roar).
While the combat is somewhat engaging at times the rest of the game is padded with side quests to make the main story drag out as long as possible. You can’t progress at certain points of the game if your Guild Rank isn’t at a certain level so you have to complete menial tasks, these range from boring fetch quests to kill a certain amount of a particular type of enemy. It’s infuriating, especially when the game takes a considerable amount of time to actually stop holding your hand and kick into gear.
I’ve seen this before and I’ve seen it done better
While I was playing Fairy Tail all I could think of was Naruto Shippuden: Ultimate Ninja Storm 3. This game was the peak of the Ninja Storm franchise. It allowed players to travel the world of Naruto and you also got to engage in frenzied battle unleashing your Jutsu of choice. This could easily have been implemented in Fairy Tail with battles that have equally as dramatic visuals.
I will say in defence of the action RPG when the battles did reach a certain level I did feel the fervour. This, however, may have been due to the fact that I had an audience who were cheering and jeering me on.
I’ve been streaming on the GamEir Twitch channel and as I played through this game and discussed my issues with it I’ve enjoyed the back and forth with the obvious fans of Fairy Tail who have picked this title up and have also felt some of the failings of this game.
Fairy Tail is a fun game. Uncomplicated, straightforward and at times enjoyable, but I cannot recommend anyone buy this at its current price unless you are a hardcore fan, even then it’s a tough sell.