No one is going to judge you for always wanting to be a fairy....
And you can't judge a book by its cover, either. The same can typically be said of role-playing-games. As a genre, RPGs have the biggest pay-off when the player invests enough time to become emotionally involved with the characters and story. All those linear levels at the beginning of Final Fantasy XIII was about easing players into the game until they cared.... at least one could hope Square Enix had a reason for betraying everyone so heinously for half the game, right?
[image1]Unfortunately for Faery: Legends of Avalon, getting the player involved is a difficult battle and one that, if lost, makes the rest of the game completely pointless. This proposition is even more stringent and difficult when developer Spiders launches their RPG as a downloadable title with a limited amount of playtime.
Faery does accomplish a lot of connection-building in the first 15 minutes with an extensive level of character customization (at least for a downloadable title). Changing the way your character looks is carried throughout the game by the "Metamorphosis" system. Every time a character levels up, you'll assign a skill point that alters the character's physical appearance and adds new abilities.
Of course, how you and your character look alike is only one part of connecting with an RPG. I shudder to think of the sharp spike in hair gel, belts, and zipper sales if that were the case. Faery's plot is your standard fantasy affair where the hero has to prevent the end of the world. That's never been done before, right?
[image2]Sprinkled throughout Faery is some clever writing and interactivity aplenty, with branching dialogue trees a la Mass Effect. Unfortunately, the entirety of text in Faery needs to be edited more than my reviews for Game Revolution. I sure Nick would have an aneurysm playing through a game with this many grammatical and spelling errors in it. [Aell yaer baese aere baelong tae aeus. ~Ed.]
Any connection created by the admittedly crafty visuals and thorough character customization is completely done away with by the plot and writing. Faery's unfortunate mess leaves the game-saving effort to the combat systems, which largely fail to impress. The turn-based fighting against all manner of typical fairy-fodder seems better suited to an old-school 8- or 16-bit RPG which probably did it better way-back-then, anyways. While you couldn't call Faery's combat systems bad, you could call them bland, derivative, and boring.
Still, Faery is commendable for being among the first foray of the core RPG genre in the downloadable space dominated by twin-stick shooters and bite-sized platformers. With a price tag of $15, Faery's total playtime of anywhere upwards of 10 hours makes shelling out Microsoft's funny money worth it, even though you shouldn't expect to be completely blown away by what you've just bought.