REVIEW: ‘Fairy Tail’ a Nearly Perfect RPG but Falls a Little Short (PS4)

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Fairy Tail

Hiro Mashima’s best-selling manga and anime series, Fairy Tail, is now the latest action-role-playing game developed by GUST Studios and released by Koei Tecmo for the PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and the PC. The highly anticipated JRPG takes players on a magical adventure as they play through the series’s most popular and beloved storylines. Allowing players to experience and re-live exciting episodes as their favorite characters.

From dark wizards and demons to dragons and flying talking cats players find it all as they set out on a magical journey in the land of Fiore. In the game, players follow the adventures of Fairy Tail mages, Natsu Dragneel and Lucy Heartfilia, as well as other lively members of the Fairy Tail mage guild, on a  thrilling quest packed with adventure.

Koei Tecmo’s Fairy Tail marks the first time a Fairy Tail game is available on major consoles in the West. This new game allows long-time fans of the series and newcomers alike to experience the popular narrative that has captivated millions of people for over a decade.

The game opens at the climactic end of the “Tenrou Island Arc”. While the whereabouts of core members of Fairy Tail guild are unknown for seven years the once great Fairy Tail guild loses their standing as one of the top wizard guilds in Fiore. However, as if by a miracle the missing members return to their guild alive. Now they must band together with their fellow Fairy Tail wizards to rebuild the reputation that their guild once had.

In order to do this Fairy Tail decides to participate in the Grand Magic Games tournament to restore their guild’s former glory. However, the competition is fierce with the likes of the current number one guild, Sabertooth, and the former Dark Guild, Raven Tail, seeking to crush them. What’s more, a mysterious power seems to be lurking around the tournament grounds.

Fairy Tail Lucy Natsu

I loved the setting the game during this time in the series. A majority of the game is set during the “The Grand Magic Games” story arc. An arc, that in my opinion, it is one of the best and most well-known arcs in the series. This arc as the setting of the game has so much opportunity to include a variety of characters and experience some of the best moments of the franchise. However, it also pretty accessible for newcomers to not feel lost in the story. I felt the developers did a great job of incorporating a story without it feeling like long-winded cutscenes filled with exposition.

If anything the cutscenes made me feel very nostalgic as a long-time fan of the Fairy Tail manga and anime. I was really impressed with how close they were to replicating the scenes from the manga and anime. Especially with the cutscenes that were more emotional than others. I think these scenes would be something that long-time fans, like myself, will really enjoy in this game. Additionally, players can also experience and enjoy never before seen story and quest elements only available in this game.

Another thing I enjoyed about this game was building out my team. Fairy Tail is a franchise that is known for being packed with colorful and unique characters. And I’m glad to say that this game did not disappoint with the ability to build out my team with so many awesome characters. As you play through the Fairy Tail you can team-up and add a variety of characters to your party. You can customize and build your team from over ten iconic characters. Playable characters include iconic Fairy Tail members such as Natsu Dragneel, Lucy Heartfilia, Gray Fullbuster, Erza Scarlet, and Wendy Marvell.

Something else to keep in mind is that the game doesn’t limit you to only building teams with your own guild members. You can add characters from other magical guilds to down common enemies. Other fan-favorite characters available for team-ups and support include Ultear Milkovich, Lyon Vastia, Flare Corona, and Minerva Orland. I especially enjoyed trying out different team combinations with my favorite characters in my battle party.

An interesting feature of the combat system is a Unison Raid. Unison Raid is an extremely powerful magical ability that allows two characters to unite their two kinds of magic together, this results in creating an even stronger attack. Unison Raids in the game activates when a Magic Chain, a powerful magic attack used in succession by team members working together, whiles several characters have changed modes. I really loved that the game included this feature with the characters because it helps with planning out your team to make more powerful special attacks.

Teamwork and comrades are the heart and soul of the Fairy Tail franchise. So it makes total sense that developers chose to make it one of the key elements of the game, especially in the combat system. When you build out your battle party there are opportunities outside of the battle environments to strengthen bonds between characters. By strengthening bonds with another character outside of battle this can result in special moves and increased “chain” combos. I thought this was a cool and genuine way to reinforce the importance of comradery in the game, just like it is held in high regard in the franchise overall.

Speaking of the battle system, I will say I was less than thrilled to learn that GUST decided to go with a turn-based combat system for Fairy Tail. In my opinion, this game would have been perfect with a hack and slash combat system. The Fairy Tail franchise is filled with awesome magic, weapons, powers, and unique characters that wield them. So it would have been great to battle with more freedom over the characters and their abilities.

However, while I wasn’t thrilled with the combat system in the beginning I did eventually come to appreciate the battle system’s strategy and other features. It also makes complete sense why the developers went with a turn-base system when they want to include the option for so many playable characters in a team setting. Additionally, the combat system is super easy to approach and get the hang of fairly quickly. The real challenge in the game comes from planning out attacks on the grid battlefield. Each character’s attack moves are mapped out on grids that the player chooses whichever will deal the most damage to the characters spread across the battlefield.

Fairy Tail Magnolia

Beautiful architectural design and detail…I was completely blown away by the gaming environment City of Magnolia, Corcus, and other areas across the magical kingdom of Fiore. The sheer size of it all if impressive alone, however, what really blew me away is all of the amazing detail. This game has some of the most beautiful and massive open world to explore that makes you feel like you are really able to relive some of the best moments from the franchise.

From the buildings, landmarks, and more you can tell that the developers put in a lot of heart and effort into designing the game to be as accurate to the world of Fairy Tail as possible to bring the experience alive for fans of the series. In addition to the beautiful design of the gaming environment, the developers also did an awesome job overall bringing the world and its colorful cast of characters of Fairy Tail to life.

Lastly, throughout the journey players can collect a variety of items that can be used to craft into lacrima. Lacrima are magical crystals that can allow different spells. Equipping your characters with Lacrima can help increase their magical energy, attack power, defense, and more. The crafting system in my opinion is pretty approachable and simple for gamers of all levels.

While it isn’t a very intensive part of the game, it is vital to your success on the battlefield. More than a few times it was thanks to the items I crafted and equipped that made the biggest differences between me losing in a big boss battle. So i highly recommend spending the time to gather and craft materials. You never know how much they will come in hand.

Overall, Fairy Tail isn’t a perfect JRPG but it comes pretty close! Every part of Fairy Tail is beautifully designed and well thought out. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of the combat system at first, I did see the appeal and fun challenge the turn-base combat system brings to this game. I especially loved how the developers incorporated in key elements from the franchise such as teamwork and comradery into the game. Long-time fans especially will enjoy the experience to relive stories previously told in the manga and anime. In addition to being able to able to enjoy never before seen story and quest elements. And while I think this game will be well received by long-time fans, it is also very approachable and welcoming to newcomers too.

Fairy Tail is available for PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch and the PC July 31, 2020.

'Fairy Tail' a Nearly Perfect RPG but Falls a Little Short
9.5/10

TL;DR

Overall, Fairy Tail isn’t a perfect JRPG but it comes pretty close! Every part of Fairy Tail is beautifully designed and well thought out. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of the combat system at first, I did see the appeal and fun challenge the turn-base combat system brings to this game. I especially loved how the developers incorporated in key elements from the franchise such as teamwork and comradery into the game. Long-time fans especially will enjoy the experience to relive stories previously told in the manga and anime. In addition to being able to able to enjoy never before seen story and quest elements. And while I think this game will be well received by long-time fans, it is also very approachable and welcoming to newcomers too.