Official Review - Faery: Legends of Avalon
Faery: Legends of Avalon is a great role playing game packed with a unique atmosphere and graphic style. Play as an elf or a fairy and discover the fantastic world of Avalon as well as the fantastic creatures that live there.
Hero of Avalon, you must understand why this world is dying and save the kingdom from an inevitable disappearance. In a thrilling adventure where your choice will shape your fate, you will make your character evolve as well as his powers and his equipment, through victorious during battles and completed quests.
Many dangers await you, and some fights against certain creatures and monsters of the game promised to be formidable. To overcome all the dangers, you will gain power in experience but also ask for the support of some companions you met during your journey. Each partner has his own characteristics, strengths, weaknesses and especially his own character. Be sure you chose the best combination of talents, and enjoy the incredible experience of fighting with a dragon, a troll, fairies and other fantastic creatures.
In order for you to better immerse yourself in the Faery universe for all the hours you’ll invest into this game, you can customize your character thanks to an included editor. Choose from a male or female avatar to start things off and then go on to change the skin color, eyes, hair, ears, nose and so on, until you’re pleased with your newest creation in the gaming industry.
How does this tale start? You’ve been trapped in stasis inside a crystal for a long, long time and Oberon, Faery king during these “ancient” times, has called upon you to restore the kingdom back to its former glory. It’s a case of “you are the chosen one, an eternal being of incredible potential”, and how exactly can you say no? Downloading the game pretty much means you’ve made up your mind and are definitely “pro-prophecy” right?
Your first task is to find two companions to join you in your quest since taking on such an important affair by yourself would be too big of a responsibility and a burden (or too much of a remake of Dragon Quest/Warrior from the NES) that no one should bear alone. Depending on your choice of a male (my pick) or a female avatar, your first companion will be Azziele (of the “she” variety) or Aziel (it seems that having one less Z is enough to change the gender of faeries… makes sense since the difference between an X and a Y would do the same to any of us. Think about it, I’ll wait), and it will be at this point when the tutorial kicks in, showing you how to take care of a turn based RPG. You pick your action, choose your target and repeat for your whole party as needed. Nowadays, most people frown upon turn based RPGs, saying they’re too repetitive and, therefore, suck, but that’s a lazy non-argument since the same can be said about any game genre (FPS come to mind, for instance).
Unlike old-school, turn based RPGs that favored random encounters (still charming to a certain degree), Faery: Legends of Avalon takes a page from Chrono Trigger (yep, that’s a link to Wikipedia. Do enjoy.) and shows your enemies well in advance so you can know what’s coming. To streamline the gameplay, Hit Points (your energy bar) are recovered after every fight so you can focus on the fight itself in full. Recovery items (in case you’re running low on Hit Points), spells and abilities are also available for your use, and knowing how to balance their affects is the key to live another day.
During your travels, you’ll meet many of this world’s inhabitants and their help will be needed for you to advance. Some will actually join you and fight by your side, thus giving you the option of selecting two companions (out of a total of six) to form your party. Pretty much every one of the characters you meet (Non Playable Characters, or NPCs for short) will also need your help as well, and the side quests they offer to you will reward you with experience points (the daily bread of any RPG) that will allow you to grow and tailor your avatar to your desired gameplay style. Should you pick some extra hit points, that new fire spell, or extra defense against physical attacks? Completing the side quests will also reward you with more equipment options, and it is here that an extra element is presented to us: every piece of equipment will be of a specific variety (iron, healing, water, etc.), and placing said item on your character will grant you bonuses on your abilities or skills. To make things even better, if you equip a full set of armor (all items of the same variety), it will give you an even better bonus, which can make it easier to complete some of your quest later on depending on what element is the weakness of your enemies.
To find out what needs to be done, you can talk with everyone to better understand your surroundings, choosing from a dialog tree for your questions AND your answers, which can make them like you, or just plain hate you. Blue choices are the nice, or good, responses and Red choices are the naughty, or bad, responses… but don’t be fooled into thinking that blue all the way will make everyone be your best friend. The odd character here and there requires a bit of Red in their life, and knowing when and how to act can determine what options are available in your near future.
To go along with the good and bad dialog choices, every quest can also be completed with good or bad actions. To give you a better idea of this, here’s an example of an early quest:
You need to call on a mermaid to request her help in finding a page that is missing from a book. To call on her you need to use a special conch that is in the possession of the local fisherman.
Now, you can choose to help him so he can lend you the conch… but you could also choose to distract him and steal the conch. What’s the consequence of this? A bit later, you’ll need to find some fish to complete another quest and WHO could have some fish for you? Why, the fisherman, of course! Did you steal the conch? Then no fish for you! It’s an interesting system that rewards and punishes you along the way because of the actions you take, and it gives the game an extra layer of depth.
There’s a total of four areas in the game. The main one (Avalon) is where you’ll start your adventure, and it is from here that you’ll access the other three once you repair the mirrors that take you to them:
First up is Yggdrasil, the world tree of ancient tales, that is slowly dying from an unknown ailment, thus tasking you with the obligation of finding out what exactly is wrong with this majestic tree. Most of this areas inhabitants are set around the base of the tree and they will be the ones providing most of the help that you require. Birds, ants, bees and other animals also make this their home, and interacting will all of them is a requirement to complete the chapter before you.
Next, we have the Flying Dutchman, a ghostly ship most of you might easily remember from the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise (sure, the F.D. is actually from an old legend from the the 18th century but Disney’s take is better known by now). The ship has washed ashore near a small island, and the ghosts that live in said vessel aren’t too happy about it. To add up to it, some of the inhabitants have been locked up after going a biiiit crazy from an unknown plague-like disease that haunts the ship.
The last area is the City of Mirages, a take on Arabian Night’s lore and culture of days past. The city is actually carried around the desert on the back of a scarab (a giant one considering faery standards for size ratios) who is also, of course, considered a god by some of the local inhabitants (can’t have an RPG without a cult of some sort, now can we?). You’ll mingle with rich home owners while, at the same time, helping those in the poor district, which is located below the belly of the scarab.
[spoiler]Once your adventure is over, you’ll get to make a final dialog tree choice that will (hopefully) play a big part tin the sequel. How do we know a sequel is planned? Well, thre are still more mirrors available in Avalon, and the game tells us this tale is “to be continued” so…[/spoiler]
It you like turn based RPGs (we need more of these!), then Faery: Legends of Avalon will provide you with a fun adventure that will be in the 10 to 15 hours range for most of you, and is available on the PSN store right now for a very reasonable price. Trophies aren’t hard to obtain, in case you’re wondering (but are rewarding once obtained, which is always a welcome addition).
Graphical Style” cons=”Some bugs here and there that might make you load up your last save
No full on voice acting
Published by Focus Home Interactive
Cost – $14.99
Available on PSN
– Game was completed and all trophies were obtained.
– Total amount of time played: 11 hours.
– This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of Faery: Legends of Avalon provided by Focus Home Interactive.