I can’t say enough good things about Fantasy Life or its addiction-inducing combination of Action RPG and Life Simulation class meticulousness. After spending 60 hours slaying sentient trees, sewing shark hats, fishing for prawns in molten lava, and running all over town at the behest of characters too lazy to pick a couple of apples while standing five feet from an apple tree, I can confidently say: it’s good.
But even better is its wide array of clothing, armor, accessories, and general customization opportunities. Every item that you equip changes part of your appearance: this includes your weapon, shield, hat, shirt, pants, gloves, shoes, and accessory. If you want to wear a Paladin’s helmet with a princess dress and a pair of mules, you can do so. If you want to run around in your underwear with just a cape fluttering behind you, you can do that, too. On top of that, most items can be “dyed” to a different color than their base, making the opportunities for personalization nearly endless.
The majority of armor in the game is gender neutral, while clothing tends to be designated male or female-only. Men can’t wear skirts or dresses, women can’t wear tuxedos or diving goggles (that last one is extra perplexing). The gender fashion divide is most obvious in the uniforms you’re assigned each time you start a new “Life,” which is the name given to jobs/classes in Fantasy Life. There are twelve total, ranging from Paladin to Alchemist, and every Life comes with an accompanying outfit that you’ll change into upon first starting, although you can ditch it at any point after that.
The Life uniforms, while similar, are different for a male or female character. And like other gender-specific clothing, you cannot wear the uniform of the other gender (even though the items will be available in-game). While this might offer an extra incentive to replay as a different character, it’s mostly frustrating because certain uniforms are definitely better than others. Let’s compare, starting with the battle classes.
There’s not a lot of difference in the Paladin outfits, and this is one of the few uniforms that actually fits the female character properly. Her cloth skirt, connected spaulders, and royal blue pants add a bit of pizzazz to an otherwise toned-down set of armor, which is mostly ho-hum for the guys. He does have a bit of hip-jut going on with flared faulds, but they’re oddly placed and way too short, making them equally useless as both armor and a fashion statement. They’re both wearing the tiniest poleyns imaginable, but characters in this game don’t really have knees, so they probably just took a random stab at what normal human anatomy looks like.
I love and hate the Mercenary class. Love because it’s a great example of the subtle differences between the two genders’ clothing: at first glance, we have essentially the same color scheme and collection of items. But there are tiny changes all over the place. The boy’s helmet has an extra Corythosaurus ridge for some reason. The burnt orange shawl he’s wearing has been tied around the girl’s upper arm. He has no armor on his upper torso while she has a lone spaulder and metallic bra. Which is where the hate comes in: what is the point of that thing? Besides the fact that it’s essentially just an iron bikini top, one of the breast plates is twice the size of the other. Is this a distraction technique to catch boob-ogling monsters off-guard?
The first obviously divergent set, and it’s really not beneficial to either gender. The girl’s ridiculously oversized hat is two bulbous eyeballs away from being a Mario frog suit. Meanwhile, the boy is trying to pull off the classic “wizard beekeeper” look in the shade of expired mustard. I’m still going to give him the slight edge here since collecting honey actually is a recurring task in the Hunter Life. I’m also confused, yet again, by the girl’s randomly Extra Small-sized shirt. Maybe the Hunter’s Guild used all their clothing money on the boy’s thigh-length tunic, but they could have borrowed a few bolts from that absurd hat to make a top that won’t ride up every time she reaches into her quiver.
These are only separated by a handful of tiny differences, but enough to award a fashion victor. The girl’s dark purple robes go along with the game’s strange choice of never dressing her in black, but it’s also more of a classic wizard hue. She has a taller hat with the crooked point more befitting a “witch,” while the boy has a short and straight top (best compared in the profile view). Unfortunately, with my choice of black hair on top of the black robe and hat, I picture this as a Bashlyk and cannot unsee it. The other biggest difference is, somewhat randomly, in their collars: the boy has a higher, pointed collar that almost looks like a fratty popped dress shirt from behind. The girl’s collar is softer and rounded, more “robe” appropriate. On all three of these, I give the advantage to the girl: and she knows it, too, from the look of her jaunty stance.
Next time: Miner, Woodcutter, Angler, and Cook.