I haven’t updated in the last two weeks as I’ve been traveling a bit on my weekends. It gave me time to mostly finish Fantasy Life though. I’ve put 100 hours into the game so far, and I’m still enjoying it. It’s the sort of game that won’t appeal to everyone, but if you enjoy games with lots of crafting and fishing I think you could really enjoy this game.

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There is a story to Fantasy Life, but I mainly progressed along the story to unlock new areas in Reveria. The main point is to master the 12 lives (or jobs) open to you. There are 4 fighting based lives – Paladin, Mercenary, Hunter and Wizard, 5 lives related to crafting: Blacksmith, Carpenter, Alchemist, Tailor and Cook, and then you can also be a Miner, Woodcutter or Fisher. Each life has different equipment and skills, and the goal is to level them all the way up from Fledgling to Legendary. You can use the skills you learn in one life in another life (i.e., once you become a Woodcutter you can cut down trees as a Wizard, or anything else), but you won’t earn any points towards the quests you need to do to level up your life.

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The crafting based lives all use the same mini-game, and the woodcutting and mining minigames are also very similar. The differences between the crafting lives are more to do with the materials you need and what you can eventually make – the Blacksmith makes armor, tools and weapons, the Carpenter makes tools and weapons for the Wizard, Hunting and Fisherman lives, as well as furniture for your home, and the Tailor makes Wizard armor, as well as clothes and carpets for your home. The alchemist can make accessories, potions, bombs and healing items, while the cook makes food that can heal you, and also raise your stats temporarily.

I started out as a cook and didn’t try one of the fighting-based lives until I was about 3/4 of the way through the story. You can stick to one life, but it will help if you try out others as the resources or items you can get in one life are needed for the other lives – i.e., the Cook needs fish that the Fisherman can catch, the Blacksmith needs materials the Tailor and Carpenter can make, as well as ore from the Miner. You can buy a lot of the basic materials from the shops, but its a lot cheaper and more fun to switch lives and find your own materials. Shops outside of the cities usually sell special items you can’t find anywhere else, which can be really helpful so you don’t need to grind to get a lot of rare items, though it can be quite expensive. You can also upgrade shops using ‘Bliss’, which you get from achieving goals such as reaching a certain level, or progressing with the story. Once you reach the ‘Master’ level with a life you’ll also unlock new items in the shops.

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I really enjoyed switching around the different lives. I’d revisit areas as an Alchemist, and notice flowers and herbs that weren’t important to me as a Woodcutter. I’d keep note of the good fishing spots and come back later as a Fisherman. I felt like it added a lot of depth to the locations. There are also quite a few different areas to explore, as most areas have at least two hidden caves or dungeons in them. Traveling around the world was made easy by the fast travel options. You can go straight to the Guild Office, where you can change your life, your Master’s location (which for the crafting lives, also includes your workshop), and to your home. You can buy homes in other cities, which speeds up travel, but you can also travel by horse/camel/turtle within areas, or take a plane to particular locations. Considering the amount of traveling you need to do, this made the game much more fun and enjoyable.

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The story is fairly standard, however I was surprised at how amusing I found some of the dialogue. It got a few chuckles from me. I was particularly fond of Sizzle from the cooking life and Tad the Paladin. As you complete the story and meet new people and advance in your various lives, you’ll be able to invite characters to join you. I didn’t start doing this until around 80 hours, when I was trying to get my Wizard to legend. Since most of my stats are in strength and focus, my Wizard kinda sucks. Even so, the game isn’t hard enough for most of the time to make adding party members necessary.

It took me about 70 hours to get all 12 lives to the Master level and above, so there is a lot of content to the game. Some of the Hero quests required a bit of skill grinding, which hadn’t been the case previously, so I didn’t enjoy the Hero quests for Cook and Tailor that much (you need to max out all your cooking skills, and reach level 15 sewing skill… I got to Hero with level 9 sewing skill, so that took a while…), but the other lives weren’t as bad.

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Once you finish the story and pass level 50, you can also download the Origin Island expansion pack. This adds another rank to all the Lives, and gives you access to Origin Island, which is really quite big. It will also unlock new quests from the people of Reveria. If you’re still enjoying the game once you reach Hero and want more content, I’d say it’s a good purchase.

Overall, I really enjoyed this game. I can’t remember the last time I spent so much time with a game and was still having fun. It’s not terribly difficult, at least not until you get to the later ranks, and most of the fighting is more a test of patience than anything, however I really enjoyed re-exploring areas and finding new depth to them, collecting items, crafting and climbing up the life ranks. The games which are most similar to this are probably Harvest Moon (which isn’t really that similar…), Rune Factory, and the Atelier games. If you hate those sorts of games you probably won’t like Fantasy Life, but if you do like them I’d highly recommend giving Fantasy Life a go.

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