Review: A. W. Phoenix Festa
There are certain things that only Japanese game developers come up with. Training for a big tournament while sweet-talking ladies and buying them presents to convince them to partner up with you one such concept, and it forms the basis of A.W. : Phenix Festa. AW: Phoenix Festa is a game based on the Asterix Wars universe. In this world (which the game doesn’t really do the best job of explaining), a major event has created people with special powers. For some reason (again, the game doesn’t really fill you in on it), these people do battle. You star as Ayato Amagiri, a thoroughly forgettable protagonist, who comes to prestigious Seidokan Academy to train. The game basically counts down the days to the Phenix Festa tournament, and during that time you’re meant to find yourself a partner and train as hard as possible. In the meantime, you meet a number of girls that are essentially walking anime tropes, and you form relationships with them.
Your first priority right off the bat is to find a partner. You learn this after a tough, no-nonsense gal attacks you because she thinks you’re a peeping tom. At this stage, the game shifts to combat mode. The game’s combat mode is simple enough: It’s your basic 3D hack-and-slash gameplay by a Japanese dev. You can dash, block and mix strong attacks and light attacks. After that, it shifted back into the story mode, and I got to learn more about the tournament and how things work.
Over the course of the game, you have the chance to train yourself and choose different weapons and items, although you have little to no motivation to do so. The game’s combat –which is easy as hell to begin with – gets even easier when they basically just hand you a sword that does literally 20 times the damage of your starting weapon. There’s essentially 4 or 5 weapons that you can buy later on that do even more damage, but after you get the super cool sword, what little challenge there was dips down.
The game does manage to keep it interesting by making it so that your health bar doesn’t regenerate after fights. Every day, you’re given the option to choose an activity. You can train, which takes your health and subtracts a day, or you can rest and regenerate your health. As such, it’s in your interest to manage your health and keep your health bar nice and full. However, as you level up more and more, fights really become much easier, so you don’t really have to concern yourself with it too much. Additionally, you get the chance to take on fairly simple jobs, and with some grinding you can get a ton of healing items.
As for the relationship aspect of the game, in between fights you meet the various anime tropes present at the academy. There’s the incredibly socially awkward girl who’s a master sword fighter, the abrasive, angry princess (who has a soft spot for our incredibly bland hero) and the hardworking, straight-A manipulator. You get points for various interactions with the girls, and you can buy the girls presents and take them on dates to bring your levels up. It feels creepy to see how much the girls fawn over you in some cases, and I think this mechanic could have been fleshed out a little bit more. I mean, the game reminded me a lot of Persona, and that game’s character development is just so much better. Moreover, this mechanic seemed to be meaningless after I finally talked one of them into being my partner, and I don’t really see why it stayed in.
While the game seems like it has a lot to do at first, you soon realize that it’s pretty repetitive. You alternate between spending health points on training and resting, there are random encounters with students (and a few duels), you take on jobs, you learn some backstory, etc. There are entirely too many days leading up to the festival, and you have more than enough time to just keep pushing your levels up without making much effort. I only struggled on one fight, and that’s because the idiot protagonist stupidly insisted on dueling a girl to prove his worth while his health bar was really low. Past that, I breezed through the fights and my partner had my back for the most part. I pretty much s-ranked the entire second half of the game, and I grinded enough to get the best weapon in the game soon enough. I will say that the game was a fun enough hacky slash title, but I pretty much took it down in two sittings, so I’d wait for a sale on this one.
A. W. Phoenix Festa was reviewed using an PlayStation Vita redeemable code provided by Bandai Namco. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• Simple and fun combat
• Mix of combat and building relationships
• Variety of weapons
• Combat gets way too easy as you progress
• Story isn’t that interesting
• Fairly short and somewhat repetitive towards the end