Faery: Legends of Avalon by Focus Home Interactive is an RPG that tells the charming and delighful story of a magical land called Avalon, where a long time ago magic once poured into the land and nourished it. It was a land that inspired stories and was home to some fearsome creatures. Unfortunately, the magic is waning, the island is dying and the magical mirrors that it once housed are nearly all down and would soon disappear. Your task is simply to save the kingdom.
As the hero of Avalon you gracefully fly around the island, where youâ€™ll meet several endearing characters of the land. This is where youâ€™ll meet Oberon who is the king of fairies. He reigns over all the worlds from the high tower of Avalon which holds his court. He wants you to restore the magic which once was set upon the kingdom. As you progress around Avalon youâ€™ll bump into Marylou and Marylis who are twin fairies that sometimes find it hard to perceive others. These two are the magical messengers of Oberon and they will guide you on your adventure. They stay in front of the high tower where the king reigns. You can interact with them throughout the game and they will slowly introduce you to flying and giving you clear instructions on where you need to be heading within the game.
The rocky coastal sea cliffs of Avalon are filled with characters who require something from you. This generally means that youâ€™ll be participating in the task of collecting and gathering items that are needed. Flying around the island takes a little while to get used, but with some practice it becomes easy to move with the L stick.
Players will meet Bron the Fisherman who resides in the village on the outskirts of Avalon. He has a great deal of information on the islands and holds a special item that you need to get access to when playing the game. Deep in the caves of the island live the evil trolls who want to cause harm and chaos. You have to defeat them and gain access to the treasure chest that lays dormant in the cave. There are a selection of treasure chests scattered all over the island.
In this game, there is always someone to lend a helping hand, such as Marsyas who once lived on the disapearing land of Aracadia. Although friendly, the faun is consumed by the nostlgia of his world, where he skirted nymphs. Flying around the island I soon discover Mr Mustard Seeds who seems to be very disappointed that his seeds have been stolen by the two trolls called Tom and William. These two mischievious trolls are always getting into trouble or trying to goad you into a fight. Either way, avoid them like the plague as you will be in battle with them a lot. During my adventure I encounter Bert who is a kind hearted troll, a poet and a very sensitive soul. He likes to learn and wants a great adventure. His knowledge of the exterior world always proves useful in my journey, as does his earth magic. Throughout the game he will have you flying around the island gathering his lost pages that have fallen out of his poetry book.
The gameplay is easy as you fly around the island, completing tasks, gathering information and interacting with the locals. You simply get close enough to them and press the A button when the dialogue message appaears. In dialogues there are several answers possible, so you have to be careful what you answer, the reactions of the character you are dealing with depend on this choice. So your answers may be hostile or pacifying, which is represented by red and blue text.
Some characters you meet may become your companions if you choose to help them. Among those that you do help, some may choose to follow you and take part in combat, while others may wait for you at the portal to the world. Players can allocate skill points earned through experience, which can be used in the Ex- Libris page of your special book. To allocate a skill point, players should first select a body change. Each new change costs players one skill point, while some have level requirements.
During turn based combat each player chooses an attack and target before carrying onto the next enemy. Enemies will take advantage of a group in stasis. They can attack unexpectedly and may wound you. When your wounds reach a critical level and your life gauge on the right of the combat screen reaches zero, your character enters temporary stasis. The combat is then lost and your group is teleported to the nearest mirror. If your health goes down a great deal, you can use potions to heal yourself or one of your companions. Players can develop healing magic with which you can restore life points to yourself or others that have been wounded.
When I first started the game up, I wasnâ€™t very taken in by the graphics, but that was soon to be overidden by the enchanting gameplay that this game provides. As you flying through the sky and encounter the neighbours of the island, you begin to piece together the story of this wonderful island that is dying. Characters personalities unfold in front of you and youâ€™re soon faced with decisions and actions that require your immediate attention. During battle mode, the turn based fighting, which is similar to classic Final Fantasy, allows players to feel absorbed in the fight against the enemy. Experience is gained throughout each mission and the battle system is simple and consise.
As you explore each land of Faery: Legends of Avalon, you soon begin to realise that youâ€™re required to talk to every character and may have to backtrack many times. Faery: Legends of Avalon doesn’t have amazingly fancy graphics, but did visually look interesting as the sprites were cell shaded which gave the graphics a unique feel. Some tasks have you flying back and forth to the same place, because certain conversations and interaction was triggered by events. I spent a long time engaging in quite long text based dialogue, which can become tedious at times. I’m really surprised at what a good, well balanced RPG this is considering it is an XBLA game. The simple combat and battle system enabled me to enjoy the experience, even though there seemed like an awful lot of backtracking. As a casual RPG, I think it will appeal to a certain type of audience.
Faery: Legends of Avalon is not without it’s problems though. The lack of any voice acting makes the game feel hollow and lifeless. There is also far too much dependence on the same type of gathering quests, which certainly makes the game drag as it lacks variety. There is very little threat in Faery, with the combat leaning towards very easy.
That being said, Faery: Legends of Avalon is a charming and whimsical game that will appeal to casual RPG gamers and those who have never played an RPG before. It is a good introduction to the genre on the understanding that there is better out there. RPG games are known for being epic in scale and the casual audience may not have the time for such an undertaking. Faery will only last around seven or eight hours, which is a good deal for an XBLA. My time in Avalon has been a pleasant one, if not really exciting. Pick up this game if you are bored with all of the action in your life and fancy something a bit more easy-going.