I introduced a bud to Fantasy Life who then peer-pressured me into picking it up earlier than I had anticipated. From there Fantasy Life convinced me to convince another coworker to pick it up and soon a whole mess of us at work were living the Fantasy Life on breaks or at home. It’s a super addictive game that can steal a good chunk of your free time if you’re not paying attention.
If Fantasy Life were to be compared to a similar type of game, the easiest parallel would be to most common MMORPG’s or TES: Skyrim. Now I know someone out there just had a heart attack because I’m comparing something as “cutesy” as Fantasy Life to the likes of Skyrim, but here me out. Both are role-playing games with a heavy emphasis on adventure, character development and crafting. You could almost (at that level of description) compare it to many other RPG’s, but most RPG’s don’t pull me in like Skyrim. In both games I found myself just wandering around and leveling up my crafts just so I could beat things up easier or craft better items… so I could beat things up easier. (After what I just said, the MMO comparison should be simple to see.)
Where Fantasy Life pulls away from Skyrim is the story telling. Unlike Skyrim, I completely enjoyed the story in Fantasy Life once I got around to experiencing it. Skyrim was more open and didn’t restrict much content to the story. (100+ hours into Skyrim I realized there was a story, but I soon realized the just running around was more fun for me.) There’s a big overarching mystery going on in the world of Fantasy Life and you are tasked with figuring it out. Also, until you progress the story, certain areas are closed off to you (lame). I got the impression that I’m kind of a nobody in the game, but you’re definitely going to make a name for yourself all without saying much (typical mute protagonist here). Your butterfly companion does most of the talking for you. The story has a great amount of humor in it and I ate the majority of it up. When you choose to live a different life(job/class) you are offered to simply get the life or go through a little story and quest.Most were enjoyable enough to have me end up choosing to do all of the quests lines.
I can’t say that I enjoyed all of the lives in Fantasy Life, but I did enjoy most of them. Some made sense for me as much as I like to play classes that hit things with sticks. Paladin ended up being my favorite just for the ability to block with a shield. I’ve already covered the crafting in another article, but it bears repeating that the crafting system in place is one of the best I’ve played with in a game in a very long time.
Overall, the only life I didn’t like was cooking. Tailoring took a lot more gathering than the other lives, but you could still go out and get the bulk of the needed materials in your adventures (it’s a close second to my least favorite professions). Alchemy was much the same with a few items that you’d have to pick up from an Oddities shop, but not with much hassle. Cooking had so many ingredients that you had to go to different towns to pick up one or ten different little ingredients and while alchemy gave you potions and tailoring gave you materials for Smithing (let’s be honest, who wears a robe instead of some wicked-cool plate?) Cooking only gave you some food. Sure they gave you a bit of health back and a small buff, but it just was so much work for so little pay-off. The whole Cooking process felt like a waste of time. It’s really the only job that I didn’t see myself raising to Creator rank.
If you are enjoying the adventure in Fantasy Life, I recommend doing that until you are basically satisfied and then finishing up the story. DLC included, but in a different note. You do need to have the DLC unlocked to get to the top tiers of your crafts which didn’t feel super useful in the end due to some spiffy loot drops. If you’re like me in some fashion, once I watched the official ending credits, that all but killed the desire to play much more. (Both endings were good by the way.) With all the distractions in my life, I don’t tend to finish games. Not finishing them helps me want to come back and play more, but if I finish a game… it’s easy to just not come back to it. Oh well, that just means that my wife can play it now!