Middle of the road games have a certain difficulty attached to them it comes to critique. Calling them the worst is disingenuous while lauding certain quirky aspects can sound like undeserving praise. Faery: Legends of Avalon is the quintessential example of this.
The game can best be described as a JRPG-lite about adventures in the fairy realm. There are plenty of generic elements that, while not exciting, are easily digestible: you’ll engage in quests and dialogs with binary good/evil paths, meet a few new companions, collect simplistic gear and fight in straight forward turn-based JRPG-like battles.
But the how and why is not of importance, but rather the where.
The plot revolves around an ever increasing magical cast of beings that goes journeying in curios places – the World-Tree Nordrassil, the haunted Flying Dutchman, an Arabic city on top of a giant beetle and, of course, the titular Avalon. On top of all of this, there is simple feature which adds tremendously to the exploration aspect: flying.
Being an enchanted fairy has its perks, one of them being able to travel by wings across the land. There is a primal kinetic delight to zig-zag left and right while going about with questing and combat.
Given how much of the time is spent on going from point A to B in RPGs, you would think more thought would be spent on how to make it more interesting. Faery: Legends of Avalon is one of the few games that actually tries to change this vital part and succeeds.
The only other feature worth mentioning is the visual aspect of the game’s progression system. When the main character gains a level, they must choose between exclusive spells & abilities, each with different visual representations – horns, wings, tattoos, tails, auras, etc. Thus the player might have a cat’s tail, dragonfly wings and antennae on one playthrough, but look entirely different in the next, adding a lot of personality.
The fact that Faery stands out so much reflects horribly on games. Mystery is one of the driving forces of fiction and the fact this title impresses so much in that department just shows how saturated with Tolkien-esque fantasy the industry is. But even in a world of gaming with endlessly diverse settings I would still recommend Faery, even for a short while, just for its flying and visual level up representation.
In the end, Faery: Legends of Avalon is a simple 6-8 hour game that shows players something new, and that’s already more than can be said of some RPGs that are ten times as long. Ludo Lense