by Chris Priestman
reviewed on X360
Earning Your Pocket Money (cntd)
Unfortunately and perhaps expectedly, the game falls into the usual trap that many RPG’s tend to, and that is to send you on far too many errands rather than actual quests. Sorting out love affairs and collecting ingredients for a cake are light-hearted fun but lack a sense of achievement, especially when you have no visual evidence of a cake being made for instance. The game sends you on quests that involve talking to people, constantly traveling back and forth and essentially not changing anything at all. And to add a cherry on top, when you are attempting these quests you will meet frustration when you cannot possibly navigate the environment – whether it is the overcrowded, unrecognizable canopy of a tree, or the under lit hold of a ship.
With One Hand Tied Behind Your Back
Of course being an RPG, Faery will have you face foes along your adventure that can only be dealt with through battle. The combat system is easy to use and does not crowd players with too many options. In fact, keeping in line with its target audience, the combat system is very similar to the many Pokemon games and other Japanese RPG titles in general. In the turn-based combat you have the option to use a simple attack or a magic offensive or defensive move. In your combat menu you also have an items list where you can find your health and combat-enhancing potions. Largely the combat is kept minimal and simple, thus making the game an excellent introductory title for players new to the RPG. However, it is made too easy due to the lack of an actual threat and an over abundance of health potions. On my initial play through of the game on normal difficulty, I completed the game without dying at all, and I would not exactly class myself as an RPG combat guru.
Luckily the combat excels in combination with the leveling up system and when an entourage of companions is added to the mix you are given a wide choice of maneuvers to experiment with. You can have up to two companions with you to battle, with the rest of them always waiting to be swapped if desired. Being able to choose how they upgrade as well as yourself makes all the choice quite outstanding. On completing quests you are often given items of clothing alongside experience.
Each of these items has an elemental power attached to it and will often give you new fighting moves or enhance certain abilities such as your resistance to magic. This also makes up for the inability to not design your character from the neck down as you can change their clothes, wings, tail and other parts that are all tied to your abilities. You can also find extra clothes and items in chests scattered and hidden around the worlds. One problem is that you do not need all of this choice, as you will probably find one set of clothes and stick with them the majority of the game. And I never even used some of the items I collected, as I never had need to, and gaining magical healing abilities makes even healing potions unnecessary most of the time.
The Straight And Narrow Path
Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of this RPG title is that it has little to no replay value. The game is extremely linear and encourages you before completing the game to do all of the side quests, which will take you on average two minutes to complete each one. The game will take you at least 10 hours to complete which I guess is quite admirable for an Arcade title, but this will probably be the only time you spend with the game. The reason being that there are not a huge amount of quests and all of them are quite easy and can be done on your first play through.
All of the battles are scripted in a timeline so you literally fight the same battles on every play through. The only exceptions to this is when you are sometimes given a choice to complete a quest through violence in battle, or a more humane but time consuming way. The only difference this makes in the game though is that one of your companions will moan or praise your choice and will like or dislike you more. This is also another pointless feature in the game – whereas your moral choices in RPG’s often affect relationships or limit certain playable paths, they have no real consequence in Faery at all.
Childlike Charm Included
Despite the ongoing list of criticism I hold for Faery, there is something about it that comes through that prevents me from completely writing it off. Do not get me wrong, as a game Faery disappoints in many ways. But there is a childlike charm that shines through. The imagination and character that the game contains is superb and the creative team at developer Spider should be acknowledged for their efforts. The concept art is truly exceptional and the soundtrack acts as the duct tape that holds together the many fragments this game is delivered in.
You also have to bear in mind that this is quite a unique game on Xbox Live Arcade with not really many competitors in its genre. So I would recommend Faery: Legends of Avalon to those younger players who enjoy casual RPG’s or if you are completely new to the genre. I would like to add that the whole genre should not be judged by this title alone as it is quite a poor example overall.
Impressive character customisation, rich and imaginative worlds, companions add depth to combat, easy to grasp.
No voice acting, very linear, repetitive quests, easy combat, sometimes lacks guidance, pointless moral choice system.