Mousou games have always had a special place in my heart, while many shun them as boring and repetitive trash (how dare they?!) I and of course many others have enjoyed games like Dynasty, Samurai, Gundam, Hyrule, “Dragon Quest” and many other Warrior games, but these titles are games by Tecmo Koei. However, that’s not the case with”Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star”, because it’s the new kid on the block by developer “Marvelous”. So the big question is, how does it hold up?
The story to “Fate Extella” is a chuffing mess; while it is based on the Anime, it pretty much just borrows its characters and rolls with it. Between battles, you’re allocated to a bedroom where you’ll spent much time with your servant Saber (or the two other characters unlockable in story mode), this is where things seem to get a bit mental. While you’re treated to a brief lowdown that the worlds in grave danger and only a handful of heroes can save it loses steam pretty quick.
Well, that resulted in having me wait for nearly 10 minutes just reading text before I could do anything…I mean, it wouldn’t have been bad if it was presented better. However, the big blue ugly text box which appears to express your characters thoughts or dialogue is plain awful. Furthermore, as you scroll through reels of text things can get a bit boring. Because it’s not a fun way to tell a story, and the game lacks any decent cut scenes or animations to draw you in. So it’s not until you spot Saber in a hot tub (yep) that things start to get interesting, as your character verbally thinking out loud that he/she can’t take their eyes off her. I admit at this point I hadn’t a bloody clue what was going on, other than the end of the world was near and there’s a massive war on, but there’s always time for a sexy Hot Tub chat!
The gameplay is where things get a little better, it’s fast and frantic and simplistic as you calve your way through hundreds of enemies with some stylish moves. Each level has a handful of sectors to take over which in turn unveils the final boss to take down. However, you need to keep your sectors safe from invasion else it’s game over. This keeps the combat flowing as you dash from place to place slaughtering enemies and pulling off ultra-moves killing hundreds at a time.
The frame rate holds steady with little stuttering even in handheld mode. Of course once you start unlocking characters, things start to open up more with extra stories and sub quests (and yes, the ultimate bad ass Lu Bu makes an appearance in this game as well as Joan of Arc). There is plenty of content on offer with the three main campaigns, free stages and bonus missions. There’s also a decent leveling up system which keeps things moving nicely.
There are some redeeming qualities to “Fate Ex”, although few. For example, the soundtrack and visual design is at a good standard. Stages are bright and colorful, which make for great arenas to hack down pathetic whelps by the hundreds. There is plenty of content to play through, and it feels nice to play on the Switch whether it’s docked or in handheld mode. Character move-sets feel powerful and varied, and it can be quite fun as well as stress relieving. It’s just a shame the story is hard to follow. However, fans of the Anime might appreciate it more but as an outsider, it just seems a bit silly at times.
Well to be brutally honest, Marvelous have tried to make the best out of “Fate/Extella”. Even so, they did only manage to get a few things right. So it’s not enough to recommend as an instant purchase. In the matter of fact, Fate/Extella doesn’t even come close to Tecmo Koei’s refined Musou games; Fate/Extella‘s gameplay is fun fast and frantic but the camera struggles to keep up. As for the story, it’s like jumping into a swimming pool full of LSD. However, it’s fun enough to keep you busy play in small doses when you’re out and about with your Switch, especially while we wait for “Dragon Quest 2” and “Fire Emblem Warriors” to arrive.
+ Fun Combat
+ Lu Bu
+ Plenty of content
– Poorly presented story
– A lot of reading
– Wonky Camera
Replay value: 4/5
You know, “if “you can get past the weirdness in “Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star”, then it’s not a half bad Musou game. However, the story and presentation hold it back from being anything more than a tenant of Tecmo Koei’s shadow.
Title: Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star
Developer: Marvelous Inc./XSEED Games
Genre: Musou (action/hack-and-slash)
Release date: 2017-07-25
Spent time: +6 hours
Average grade internationally: 70% Gamerankings.com
PEGI age rating: 12+
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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