We analyze the studio game Gust based on the Hiro Mashima series, which follows the adventures of Natsu and Lucy along with the rest of the cast of protagonists.
After several delays, the adaptation of Fairy Tail finally arrives, the series created by Hiro Mashima, author of other series of certain acceptance such as Rave or more recently Edens Zero, by the hand of Koei Tecmo and Gust, the studio responsible for titles such as the saga Atelier, Ar Tonelico, Blue Reflection or the two installments of the Nights of Azure series. From the beginning of its publication from 2006 until its end in 2017, the series starring Natsu Dragneel and Lucy Heartfilia along with the other members of the magicians’ guild have been living different adventures along various story arcs where they have It has been gradually evolving and becoming more powerful. The success of the series led to its subsequent adaptation to an animated series that has covered a total of more than 300 episodes in the almost 10 years in which it has been broadcast through Japanese television, also including several OVAs and also two films.
In the field of video games, the series has had several adaptations, essentially on portable consoles, including among them the two installments of Fairy Tail Portable Guild on PSP, the fighting game Zeref Awakens also for the Sony notebook and the two installments. from Fairy Tail Gekitou! for Nintendo DS, in addition to the appearance of both Natsu and Lucy in the title of crossover fighting manga series Sunday VS Magazine, another title also from the PSP catalog. None of these mentioned games went beyond the Japanese borders to reach the West, this being the first time that a game based on the franchise has been released internationally.
For starters, the game will not encompass the beginning of the series and the subsequent arcs that compose it, but will start from the events of the end of the Tenrou Island arc, in which the group faces Hades, leader of Grimoire Heart, in a combat that serves as a tutorial to learn the basic notions of the game system controlling each of the members of Fairy Tail. After this confrontation, the members of Fairy Tail meet, but the calm becomes brief before the appearance of the dragon Aconologia that attacks the island with a powerful technique, leaving the whereabouts of the members of the guild unknown for seven years. After that period of time, Natsu and the rest of the members reappear safe and sound to resume the activities of the guild. However, during his absence, Fairy Tail has lost its hegemony, at the same time as its headquarters, and is in the lowest position in the ranking, having to gradually regain its luster under Makarov’s baton. To do this they must to participate in the impending Grand Magic Games festival that will take place in the city of Crocus, the capital of the Kingdom of Fiore.
The development of the plot will cover several chapters divided in turn into episodes in which to advance will require a series of objectives that will range from talking to a character and watching a conversation to fighting through the different moments of the game, including the fighting that take place during the Grand Magic Games arc, including some sections with high-powered bosses, and also having to upgrade Fairy Tail’s rank to a certain rank, which will include conducting missions through different areas of Fiore, upgrading guild facilities and even improve ties between members. Each chapter will provide at its end a piece of an illustration, which will be complete at the end of all the episodes of it. The development of the plot parts will mostly include conversational sequences with the game engine, as well as some cinematics, not very extensive, and also parts that will include illustrations taken from the animation series. In some cases it will be necessary to advance through special areas such as the Castle of the Royal Family of Fiore or the fortress of Tartarus, in which to explore these locations in order to reach the next point in the plot, facing enemies in the process and also with the possibility of finding hidden chests.
The guild will serve as the main base in which not only to find the different members of Fairy Tail but also to have access to different options that will help during the development of the adventure. To start with, there will be the mission board, which Mirajane will carry, in which to accept different orders that will provide money and various items as rewards, but as the game progresses, new additional facilities can be built while improving them. Some of them will provide functionality such as the item store, which Lisanna is in charge of, to buy healing objects or Lacrima pieces or the Laboratory, in which Levy will be in charge of the manufacture of Lacrima pieces as well as the recycling of these to obtain new ones, while others will offer some advantages in terms of group progress, such as the kitchen that will help increase the group’s life points or the library that will allow characters outside the combat group to gain a percentage of the experience accumulated. Additionally, each of the facilities will provide additional effects on the parameters of the group, achieving through improvements and reforms to increase both the properties of each of them and the aforementioned effects. The improvements will require special materials that will indicate their location in each of the locations from which to obtain them, marking even if it is necessary to defeat a specific enemy to obtain them, just applying them, along with the amount of money necessary for them to have immediate effect. For its part, the improvements will require common materials and easily obtainable in the field, through the lights that will be in each area, and also an amount of money. In certain cases, both options will require progress in the story in order to apply the upgrades of higher levels.
The quest board will offer commissions of different kinds, including requests to take down a powerful enemy, a specified number of monsters of a certain type, or assist a distressed bystander, among others, including in certain cases some that will require the participation of one. or several specific characters, which will subsequently lead to the appearance of character events. In principle, the missions that will be offered will be of rank D, the same that the guild will have at the beginning of the game, but as the facilities are improved and positions are raised in the guild classification, the option of reaching the higher ranks until reaching the S rank, although with the prerequisite to access the latter type of successfully passing the previous qualification exam. The areas to which you will have access will be varied including among them the cities of Magnolia and Crocus along with other natural areas that will include forests, snowy mountains, a great plain, a beach and even access to Tenrou Island. Some of these areas, such as the Boundary Forest, which will be one of the first to be available, will have a reduced area, while others will be more extensive and will include various forks and nooks that will lead to areas where chests can be found, some of them protected by enemies, or natural obstacles that will block some parts of the way. The variety of enemies will be wide including wild birds, mermaids, ogres, dark wizards and other creatures, denoted with a reddish aura those that will be more powerful than the rest. Upon completing a mission, you will have the option to return directly to confirm the completion of the mission and receive the reward.
At the time of fighting, it will begin with three members in the combat group that will increase to a maximum of five, among the members of Fairy Tail available at the beginning of the game, these being Natsu Dragneel, Lucy Heartfilia, Wendy Marvell, Erza Scarlet and Gray Fullbuster, counting in certain cases with phases in which invited characters will join that will fight automatically. The engagements will consist of turn-based combat against groups of enemies divided into units or groups located across an area that covers a range of 3×3 squares. In each turn, each member will be able to select an action among several commands such as attack, magic, defense and use of objects, assigned to each of the buttons on the controller, in addition to the option to escape the confrontation, by pressing the L1 button. The basic attack will have less damage compared to the magic techniques of each character, which will be different for each of them due to the fighting style, as is the case of Lucy who uses magic that invokes celestial spirits or Erza who uses his magic of space change invoking their different armors, as for the elements they use, using Natsu fire attacks and Gray magic based on ice, although it will also be possible to use other support, such as Wendy who can use magic healing and even increase defenses and attack power. It should be noted that the different magic of each character will capture some of the emblematic movements of each character.
Each technique will have a range of effectiveness that will affect a part of the attack zone of the enemies, being able to cover one or more squares, and consequently enemies, when using them. In principle, each character will have a reduced number of low-power techniques that will increase as they level up to learn new ones and also strengthen each one, which will translate into an improvement in power as well as a growth in quantity. of magic points needed to use them. Depending on the type of enemy, they may be more effective to the point of infusing different altered states (such as break, fear, freezing, poisoning, etc.) when using them and also be resistant to a type of attack or have no effect at all. about it, something that will be denoted when selecting them when using each character.
Another of the techniques that can be used as the game progresses is Awakening, which will allow the characters to temporarily increase their stats and recover life and magic points, in such a way that their performance in combat will be greater. To activate it you will have to fill in a bar located at the bottom of the character’s icon through the attacks made and press up on the digital crosshead. For certain characters this option will allow them to change shape, as in the case of Natsu to select between their Dragon Force power or the Electric Dragon mode, which will affect their appearance and the power of the techniques, only, unlike the Normal way of this technique, there will be no recovery of life or magic. At certain times during combat and after executing an attack, you can choose the option to execute a follow-up attack, so that after a first attack an indication will appear with the portraits of the characters and assigned to each button of the command of such so you can choose who will execute this movement, although it will be at the cost of a portion of the character’s Awakening bar. In other cases the option will be given, through a small Quick Time Event in which to press the circle button, to use a counterattack during the attack of the enemies, thus being able to cut off the achievement of their turns and begin the offensive against them. .
With each turn, the Fairy Gauge bar at the bottom right of the screen will also be filled, which can be activated once filled by pressing the R1 button to use the Magic Chain option. This will allow chaining character techniques through command selection, in principle limited to the X and circle buttons, automatically when selecting the command, progressively accumulating damage against enemies to the maximum allowed by the technique, in start 5 attacks, may end up exhausting but losing offensive power in the process or end with a finisher, which will cause additional damage to the attack and cost few magic points. This technique will serve not only to facilitate complicated combats, combining the power of the characters to cause greater damage, but also to eliminate the natural barriers of each of the areas of the game, which will require very high amounts of damage to be destroyed, especially in the biggest obstacles. As you advance in the game, the possibility of executing Makarov’s Extreme Magic technique with two different types of it will be added, in the first case becoming a giant that will launch a devastating final attack against the enemies while in the second it will protect the group with support and healing magic.
Through the fulfillment of missions and the established objectives of each rank of the guild, you will earn Fairy Points, which will allow you to increase the rank of the characters to a maximum of ten levels, achieving in the process to unlock combat improvements, including commands more power for the Magic Chain, increased damage from follow up attacks, use additional equipment slots and several other perks, including also being able to unlock alternate versions of each character’s costumes. Initially, it can only be increased to rank 3 but it can be unlocked by completing the character events, which will allow, in turn, to add new members to the combat group.
Each character will have three equipment slots at the beginning, reaching a maximum of five by leveling up the characters and also increasing their rank, from which to equip Lacrima, magic crystals that will have the effect of improving stats while increasing the success rate when applying a status effect. These crystals will, in turn, have different levels, increasing with them the effect of these improvements the greater the same, which can be gradually achieved by completing orders or manufacturing them in Levy’s laboratory in the guild.
Through combat and completing missions, the members of the group will increase their friendship level, which will be denoted on the status screen with a three-level bar marked with musical notes, at the same time that will lead to conversational events between the members off base. Leveling up will provide abilities that will improve the Magic Chain’s performance, including increasing the maximum number of the chain, reducing the magic points needed when executing them, and also the option to continue despite having failed one of them.
In Magnolia you can visit Lucy’s House, which will serve as a place where you can access the extra game options, including the option to change the characters’ costumes, including costumes unlocked during the game, and consult the gallery of the game, including viewing illustrations, watching video clips, listening to music, and even re-watching friendship events. You can also talk to Nikora, who in exchange for giving him candies, located through wooden boxes or barrels, will give some objects in return as a reward when reaching a certain amount. Finally, at certain moments, you can see comic cut scenes in which Lucy is surprised by the members of Fairy Tail hidden in her house.
Other options that the guild includes will be the option to challenge the guild characters to a 1 vs 1 duel among the options when talking to them. Depending on the character, a certain level, in some cases quite high, will be recommended to face them in conditions, obtaining rewards for defeating them the first time. There will also be two interesting options that can be unlocked in the guild that will help facilitate progress in the game. The first of these is the Link Battle, which is unlocked by building the pool once the original guild base has been recovered, which will allow to summon a large number of enemies in a single combat that, when defeating them, will greatly increase the experience obtained in combat. With each upgrade, the number of monster chains of anger will increase so that more enemies can be summoned at once. However, keep in mind that in high-level areas, using this option will make defeating enemies a greater challenge, although the rewards obtained will be equally great. The second option is the Link Party, unlockable by building the stage in the guild, which will allow you to summon the characters to meet at a party, make movements or make funny comments, although it will be necessary to pay an amount of money previously to proceed with their use, causing the friendship level to increase dramatically. Both options will be executed by holding down L1, which will increase the string number, and pressing square.
In the playable aspect Fairy Tail is simple, not too far removed from a formula that shows a lot of drink from what is seen in the titles of the Atelier series. The development of the plot is interesting through the different events and the subsequent combats while the secondary tasks offered by the game, such as the board missions or increasing the guild rank, keep the pace not slow, especially highlighting the Combats, addictive both for the simplicity of their system and for the different techniques of each character, capturing the most emblematic attacks of each of them with respect to the manganime series. Although in certain cases the action at certain points may sin of being repetitive in the development and in some of the missions.
In graphic matters, the game offers a simple section, especially through the design of the different areas which, despite their large size and some details, are hardly interesting. The design of the models of the characters faithfully recreates each one of them, being the most remarkable aspect, especially with regard to the combats and the use of their different attacks while also due to the different expressions of those who make gala at some points in the game. Regarding the development of the story, this section mixes the use of sequences with the game engine together with cinematics and also static illustrations taken from the animated series.
Regarding the sound section, the game offers a wide variety of tracks with varied styles, some of which have that peculiar touch of the Atelier series while others have a more rocky touch and some than others, such as the combat theme, evoking a certain Celtic style. In general, most of them perfectly accompany each of the moments of the game, but few are the ones that stand out. As for the dubbing, the game only includes voices in Japanese.
In general, Fairy Tail draws heavily on the development of other Gust games, printing the particular style of the series through its history and characters characteristic of the animated series, achieving an overall result that will be liked by both fans of the series and to those of the study. Its combat system and fidelity when it comes to capturing the atmosphere of the series are its strengths, accompanied by good content and extras that will delight fans. Among its shortcomings is the language, which will be a stumbling block for those not proficient in the English or French language and that at certain points the game sins of being repetitive and boring.
- The recreation of the style of the series, something palpable both in the character design and in the scenes and also in some of the characteristic attacks of each character.
- Fighting is addictive, both for its simplicity and for the different options it offers.
- Wide variety of content, both for secondary activities and for different extras.
- Texts only in English and French.
- In certain sections the game can be a bit repetitive and boring.
It meets the expectations of what is a good game, it has quality and does not have serious flaws, although it lacks elements that could have taken it to higher levels.