Some might say that Fairies are an underrepresented species in the world of videogames. Everyone always wants to be a Mage, or a Warrior, whilst the poor little Fairies are reduced to bit-parts, sprinkling magic dust as they go. That’s not the case in ‘Faery: Legends of Avalon’ though, as you take control of the butt-kicking, bow and arrow wielding type of Fairy that would rather give you a bloody nose than shake your hand (probably).
As is usually the case with the fantasy genre, the game’s story isn’t a bright and cheerful one. A long time ago the world was filled with magic, and Fairies and men peacefully co-existed under the reign of King Oberon, who resided on the island of Avalon. We men are fickle creations though, and soon began to turn against the Fairies, considering their magic to be childish or in some cases demonic. King Oberon took his Fairy people and retreated into the enclaves, far away from the human world. Soon magic became a distant memory, allowing the Fairies to live in peace – that is until the magic realms started to disappear.
That’s where you come in; awoken from stasis you take on the role of either a Fairy or Elf and are tasked with the unenviable job of passing through the magic mirrors to find out the source of the problem. To start with you are asked to create a character using a surprisingly in-depth customisation tool. Gender, colour, size, eyes, and even make-up are catered for, allowing for some interesting looking creations if you are willing to put the time in. Once this is done, and the opening cutscene has finished, you are asked to go and speak to King Oberon.
Bearing in mind you have a mighty strapping set of wings, walking is a big no-no in Legends of Avalon, and you are forced to fly everywhere. Flying feels slightly stilted, and appears to suffer from a lack of animation as you essentially remain in a similar pose no matter what manoeuvre you pull off mid-flight. It’s not a major problem, but can feel a little jarring bearing in mind it’s the only way you can traverse the land.
The game is split into four very different worlds, and it’s here where the scale of Legends of Avalon really shines. ‘Avalon’ is the home of King Oberon, although very few people remain there now; ‘Yggdrasil’ is the world tree, which is dying; ‘The City of Mirages’ is a city on the back of an enormous scarab, and’ The Flying Dutch’ is a ghost ship. They are all impressively large, emphasising the fact you’re an itty bitty Fairy, although they can feel a bit empty.
Taking a leaf out of Mass Effect’s book, when you engage in conversation with an NPC you are presented with a dialogue tree giving you several options. Normally this is broken down into either asking more questions, providing a positive response, or being a bit rude and giving a negative retort. This influences how people react to you, and in some cases they might “love you a little bit more” based on your response; although they never call, or even text you back – it’s been several days now, why hasn’t Azielle got in touch?!
This desperate act of virtual loneliness brings me nicely on to ‘Companions’ (or team mates to you and me). Whilst there aren’t that many team mates in the game, they are certainly varied and each has an interesting reason for joining your quest. It’s just a shame that there isn’t any voice acting in the game, as it is all text based. In my opinion this really does make a negative impact as the witty dialogue is somewhat lost without a voice to accompany it. The text also suffers from a number of translation issues, which can occasionally break the flow of the game.
The turn based combat throughout the game serves its purpose, but feels decidedly old school and those used to ‘Gambit Systems’ and other such trickery may feel disappointed. You are presented with the option of a physical attack; offensive spells; defensive spells; switching your position on the field, and selecting an item. Once you have levelled up you are given the option to chain together a string of moves which can be unleashed in one go, which sounds great but you need to think tactically as each attack uses ‘Action Points’, of which you have a limited amount. Do you use a powerful spell that can only be cast once, or a weaker attack that can be used twice in a row? That’s for you to decide.
Defeating enemies (as well as fulfilling set objectives) earns you experience points which go towards you levelling up. When you do level up you unlock a ‘skill point’ which can be spent on upgrading your character. I quite like the system used in Legends of Avalon, as each skill you buy also has an affect on your appearance. For example, you can buy the power to electrically infuse your attacks, but this replaces your standard Fairy wings with butterfly wings. As is standard with probably all RPGs ever made, you can also upgrade your various bits of kit, with the addition of gaining a bonus if you are wearing an entire set of a certain type of armour (e.g. wearing the healing type bracelet, headband, boots etc).
It’s not the deepest system ever, but there is more than enough to sink your teeth into.
- Interesting story
- A fair bit of content
- Good upgrade system
- Nice sense of scale
- No voice acting
- Some translation issues
- Levels can feel empty at times
- Sometimes looks a bit ropey
- Maybe too old school for some?
Overall I’m finding it difficult to assign a score to Faery: Legends of Avalon because for every good point there is a bad. It’s definitely an opinion splitter, and some will absolutely love it and forgive its problems, whilst others will pick it to pieces in a matter of minutes. Personally I enjoyed the story and could live with its old school origins, add in the fact it’s a rather lengthy affair for a downloadable title and you have something that is worth playing. If TSA did half points it would get a solid seven and a half.