When hearing about licensed anime games coming west, I typically assume it’s going to be a Musou style game. The gameplay elements are already there, so the developer can focus on telling a few arcs of the story. Sure, I’m okay with playing through this content, but I’m always ready to experience a new interpretation of a manga or anime IP. It’s no surprise that I am looking forward to the Gust-developed RPG based in the universe of Fairy Tail. Surprisingly, this is the first real Fairy Tail game released outside of Japan on consoles, which might be a lot of pressure for the Atelier developers. That said, after playing over an hour of the game, I’m discovering why they are the perfect developer for this project.
During the demo, I was able to explore the town of Magnolia. Interestingly, Gust has created a reasonably lively city with locals going about their daily lives and characters to talk with on the streets. In this early build, I wasn’t able to explore too much, but I was able to peek inside Lucy’s house, which triggered a silly event. What I took away with me while exploring is that the load times from walking in and out of the various structures were speedy. Only when traveling to a new area, did I encounter a loading screen, which wasn’t long at all.
During gameplay, players will choose missions that they wish to accept from a quest board to complete alongside story missions. During the demo, I was on a mission to show off my strength to Jellal Fernandes. On the way to meet him, I was able to explore the environments and get into a few battles. The environments are selected from a map that expands as you discover new places. Luckily for me, I was able to experience a beach scene, which is all I could have hoped for. There were a few moments of graphical errors, but being this early of a development build, I’m sure they will be smoothed over by launch.
Battles are turn-based. Enemies line up on a grid, and players can execute magic to a specific grid. Some magic affects multiple squares, which encouraged me to use different magic that fit a particular situation. Each magic ability was animated nicely and made the battles fun. There’s a layer of strategy to the fights that might emerge in the later parts of the game, but during my time with the game, I was having fun just exploring each of the character’s magical abilities.
During the fight with Jellal, I was able to experience the “Awakening” feature. During a crisis, players will be able to power up for a robust elemental attack. This also allows characters to execute a combo attack against the enemy. Natsu, on the other hand, shows a glimpse of his Dragon Form and unleashes some powerful fire magic. There are a few layers of the battle system that I’m eager to explore more of, but right now, the team seems to keep it approachable, but with layers that fans of the genre can dig deeper into.
Fairy Tail is a gorgeous looking game, which is something I kept thinking about while playing. I’m curious to see how the developers handle the mission structures and balance those systems with the story arc, but from what I played, I think fans have a lot to look forward too. There’s also a crafting system offered that I wasn’t able to explore, but I did collect a few materials during my adventure. Gust was the right developer for this job. They are taking their crafting and mission-based knowledge from previous titles and applying it to a whole new IP. We can rest assured that Fairy Tail is in good hands.
Fairy Tail is coming to PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, and PC in Spring 2020.
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