Faery: Legends of Avalon is an RPG for Xbox LIVE Arcade and the PlayStation Network that seemed to come out of nowhere. Traditional turn-based RPGs are becoming rarer, not to mention one that’s a download-able title. I have to admit, I haven’t played a JRPG style game in a long time because there hasn’t been one that has interested me. Yet for some reason I found myself keeping an eye on this game.
The game begins with you waking up from a stasis sleep in a crystal with no memory of what happened to you or how long you’ve been out. This does well to serve as an exposition to the game, as your character is just as clueless as you are as to what’s going on. Sure, it’s a traditional “amnesia” cliche, but it works well enough. The king tasks you with recruiting a team and heading through the magic mirrors which are portals to other worlds and saving them; you see, the magic of the world is fading and nobody knows (or seems to care) why.
Faery uses a lot of traditional devices you’ll be used to if you’ve got any experience playing RPGs. You’ll customize your character in the beginning with a surprising amount of options available considering this is a download-able game. Conversation uses a “wheel” system similar to Mass Effect (minus the morality system), you’re given various quests by characters in the world, and combat uses a variation of the classic turn based system.
Everything you do in combat uses an Action Point, of which you begin with one. You gradually earn more which allow more moves in one turn and the use of more powerful attacks. I ended the game with three which is the cost of the strongest magic in the game. Some actions have a cool down of a certain number of turns before you can use them, but there are no magic points to worry about. You also fully heal after each encounter, which is another nice thing not to have to think about.
Navigating the world is one of the most original things about the game, in that you fly everywhere you go. The controls are very simple and work well most of the time, however when the times comes for finesse or more precise navigation they can be a bit touchy and will make you wish you could simply walk for a few minutes. Your companions are all capable of flight as well and are always with you on the world map, which while this is aesthetically pleasing and helps with immersion, they can sometimes get in your way and block your view which can be aggravating.
Speaking of companions, you’ll get a very varied cast of them to accompany you along the way. Along with the first two you receive, you’ll have the option to recruit more in each world. Each character has their own unique quirks and personalities, and varying uses in different fights. While some are more useful than others, none of them stand out as the strongest or weakest and you can choose who you want to use with little consequence.
The various worlds you’ll visit after the main land are all very unique from each other with one taking place around and on a tree (Yggdrasil), one aboard a haunted ship (The Flying Dutchman), and the last a desert city built on the back of a beetle (City of Mirage). While they’re all wonderful to look at, sometimes finding the person you need to talk to can be difficult; whether it’s navigating the thicket of leaves in Yggdrasil or the dark holds of the Flying Dutchman. Thankfully each person you can talk to emits a large beacon of light around them at all times, and anything you can interact with has a similar but distinct light around it to help things out.
Sometimes there are multiple ways you can accomplish your given task which is always welcome. However your options often boil down to “Kill Everything” or “Find a peaceful solution”. The former will result in a good amount of combat, with the latter often ending up in performing fetch quests to find various items scattered around the world. For the main quests this often changes little more than the means to the solution which will be the same regardless of your approach. For side quests however you can find yourself locked out of opportunities if you started a fight with somebody which can be aggravating. On the third world I accidentally entered combat with a group by choosing what I thought would be a text option exploring their motivations, and was no longer able to talk to those three people.
Aside from the character customization at the beginning of the game there are other ways to change your characters appearance. Most of the spells and skills you unlock will change your appearance in some way. Whether it’s adding a tattoo, changing the style of your wings, or even adding a tail and horns, your fairy will look very different by the end of the game than they did at the start. Every piece of equipment in the game also changes appearance when equipped. While some of them are pallet swaps of the same design, this is a nice touch that is very welcome. Inventory management is never a concern, as there is a finite amount of items in each category available and they’re all equipped on a very easy to use management screen.
There are various things that hurt Faery a considerable amount, and may hinder your enjoyment at times. Combat is very simple and can get repetitive, but it’s never a chore. The dialogue is well written for the most part, but is riddled with spelling errors. At one point my female character was referred to as “he” continually by a few characters, and called handsome. One of the most annoying sections of dialogue was on The Flying Dutchman however, where the characters speech is written in stereotypical “pirate talk”. With no voice-overs, this can be hard to read and is off-putting.
Faery: Legends of Avalon certainly isn’t a bad game, don’t get me wrong. It sounds like there are a lot of problems, and there are; the game is far from perfect. However it’s very enjoyable and while the graphics aren’t the greatest around they’re certainly very beautiful and distinct with no two worlds looking remotely similar. The enemies are varied and have unique sets of strengths and weaknesses that you will have to figure out, and boss fights are challenging without being unfair. Never once did I have to grind or find myself under-leveled and I never lost a single battle in the game.
I have a tendency to horde items in RPGs, always saving them for when I might need them later and I found myself doing this again in Faery. This isn’t a result of the game, rather just the way I play. However I found myself with a plethora of healing items at the end of the game and since you heal after each battle this was never an issue.
Overall Faery is a very enjoyable game marred with some mistakes and shortcomings. The game unfortunately lacks a proper ending, as it ends on a very abrupt cliffhanger which is begging to be filled by DLC at some point. This lack of resolution really upset me and threw me off in a big way. In addition there are many extra mirrors on the main world which will surely be added on to as well. As it stands I completed the game in nine hours, 22 minutes on normal difficulty with probably 99% completion. I finished every main and secondary quest in the game save one, which an apparent glitch prevented me from doing (and grabbing the last achievement as well). If you enjoy traditional style RPGs, Faery is an interesting game worth a look. A little more testing and polish could have done wonders for this game however.
- Title: Faery: Legends of Avalon
- Platform Reviewed: Xbox 360 (XBLA)
- Developer: Spiders Games
- Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
- MSRP: 1200 Microsoft Points ($15)
- Release Date: November 09, 2010 (XBox 360), December for PSN
- Review Copy Info: A download code for this game was provided to DualShockers, Inc. by the publisher for the purpose of this review.