Oct 112012

Who doesn’t love the 360 Arcade? Arcade games are often hidden gems, offering great gaming experiences for a lower price than those big budget new release titles, and they’re also available for direct download, meaning you can play right away. In my Arcade reviews, I’ll focus on what games give you the most bang for your buck, so to speak.

Journey to Avalon, where the inhabitants are anything but dull.

One of the games I picked up a while ago was Faery: Legends of Avalon. Faery is an RPG set in a world composed of various mythological characters and stories, and despite some bad reviews that I ran across, I really enjoyed playing the game. It has a lot of classic RPG elements, and the world of the game is fun and exciting to explore.

Early character customization is a little lackluster, but gets better later as you level.

Faery uses a lot of recognizable RPG conventions in its gameplay. Players can create their character, a faery from the island of Avalon, defining their gender, facial features, hair color, and eye color. This customization seems a little lackluster at first, but soon it becomes clear that more is coming. Loot found throughout the game usually consists of various outfits and weapons that not only boost your abilities, but also change your look, and as you increase in level, you can change aspects of your faery’s look to give them new abilities like magic spells. So, for example, giving your faery a certain type of wings gives them access to a certain type of spell, which makes the leveling process not only practical, but also fun on a visual level. In addition, you don’t have to choose every single element of a faery’s appearance, so if you don’t want a tail or horns, you can spend those points on increasing the level of your other spells instead.

The game also uses a basic dialogue system reminiscent of RPGs like Mass Effect and Dragon Age. Blue dialogue is nice dialogue, and red dialogue is bad dialogue, to put it in the simplest terms. These dialogue choices really represent extremes – a faery who uses blue dialogue will be as sweet as sugar, while a faery who uses red dialogue will basically spit fire. Other RPG elements include a variety of party characters to choose from, the possibility of romance with another character who comes to respect you throughout the course of the game, and several decisions to be made throughout the game, culminating in a decision at the end of the game that is supposed to lead to a sequel, although that seems doubtful at this point, since Faery was initially released in 2010 and there has been no news since.

Faery certainly isn’t perfect, but I don’t think it’s as bad as a lot of people seem to think. While the elements of the game are very basic and seem watered-down compared to games with a bigger budget, it is still obvious that a lot of care went into designing the world that the game inhabits. The characters are interesting and fun, and the worlds are great for exploration, especially since you can fly. Worlds aren’t very wide, but they are tall, and there are lots of characters and items hidden in these vertical layouts. Battles are turn-based and pretty basic, but the game does have three difficulty levels for those who want a challenge, and it also features enemies with both physical and elemental resistances, requiring a bit of strategy when you do fight.

A giant tower is one of the many places you’ll explore in this game.

One of the game’s flaws is a lack of voice acting. Characters move as if they are talking, but they don’t, which is a little disorienting. The subtitles are full of typos, which sometimes makes them hard to follow. A few quests in the game could use a little more direction, but for the most part, they are pretty straightforward. It won’t be the best game you ever play, and it honestly doesn’t offer a lot of replay value, because the decisions you have to make aren’t massive enough to really make a huge difference, even at the ending, but it’s an enjoyable romp through a world constructed with great care, and worth a try, especially if you’re a fan of the RPG genre.

Grade: 8/10

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