I’ve yet to come up with too many complaints about Idea Factory. I guess a few of their initial Western releases were kind of iffy; Generation of Chaos and Spectral Souls on the PSP could have used some more time in the oven, for instance. Still, it seems like they’ve caught their stride when it comes to localizing solid, interesting games on a regular basis.
One great example is Idea Factory’s Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force, which we saw on PlayStation 4 last year and now has made its way to Steam.
Advent Dark Force is essentially a “director’s cut” of Fairy Fencer F, a fantasy RPG where we follow Fang the fencer and his fairy friend Eryn. Fang’s not really into the whole “adventure” thing and would prefer to just eat and sleep his life away, but destiny has other ideas. He’ll team up with other fencers on a quest to find all the scattered Furies, magical swords that can be used to revive a slumbering goddess…though in Advent Dark Force, it’s equally possible to use them to revive the goddess’ also-slumbering evil counterpart, the Vile God. You can take the plot in different directions based on your choices in this regard, which is a nice touch. Advent Dark Force also adds new playable characters and generally fleshes out the game, throwing in dungeons where only cutscenes existed before and so on.
Exploration and combat are similar to the modern releases of the Hyperdimension Neptunia series; the gameplay in original Fairy Fencer F could be seen as the first draft of those games, and Advent Dark Force feels like a revision on the original formula. You run around exploring areas, seeking treasure and encountering monsters when you bop them with your weapon or run into them. In combat, you move within a limited radius to approach monsters and attack with combos or special moves; in times of need, your characters can Fairize into more powerful forms, with an associated goofy animation and theme song.
None of this is especially complicated or innovative, but there’s a lot of polish put into every aspect of Advent Dark Force that makes it a pleasure to play.
This release doesn’t differ significantly from the PlayStation 4 version and much of what I said in that review still applies here, though you’ll find the game generally runs better – if you’ve got a beefy PC. Everything’s nice and smooth, characters are bright and colorful and the writing is enjoyable for what it is. The game’s animations are nice and crisp as well, though I’ll admit that my favorite feature in this game is the ability to selectively skip any animation with the touch of a button; level-grinding becomes much less painful when you don’t have to watch the same attacks over and over!
If you’ve already played through the entirety of Fairy Fencer F: Advent Dark Force on PS4, then there’s no pressing need to pick the game up again on Steam. If you haven’t checked out this new and improved version of a classic RPG, though, you could certainly do worse than trying out this PC port. I’ve mentioned that I’m a big fan of Japanese developers making their games available on PC, and it’s really encouraging when the ports are as well done as this one is.