I learned there is quite a following of the Fate/whatever universe when I received last year’s Umbral Star release by XSEED. I hadn’t heard of the anime and was a newcomer to the series at that time. I wouldn’t call myself a seasoned veteran of the series by any stretch, however I was excited to see that they came out with a follow up to this solid and fun title. While Umbral had some issues, I felt that it was a good title for those who liked the hack and slash style of gameplay like Dynasty Warriors.
With Fate/Extella Link we pick up the story where Umbral Star left off and that doesn’t bode well for those who are new to this series. They don’t assume that you played the last one and give you an overload of ways to brush up on what has happened so far. It will feel a little overwhelming in the beginning. There are still some small issues with every voice being in Japanese. Yeah, it’s subtitled, but when you’re hacking and slashing your way through thousands of enemies, you don’t really have the time to read the blurbs of text at the bottom. I find that I miss a little bit of what’s going on because I don’t speak Japanese. Honestly though, it feels like the story is just kind of tossed in there to give some context and reasons for doing the fun part of the game, which is slicing and dicing through all those enemies to win each battle.
Just like Umbral Star, the battlefield is separated into sections that can all have some kind of conflict going on all the time. They give you cues to let you know that one of your allies are struggling and you may want to stop what you’re doing and go give them a hand to turn the tide of the battle. I found that it was rather intuitive to know where to head next since I am familiar with how it works from playing the last one. There are plenty of tutorials to aid you in how to play and the game does a nice job of explaining your power-ups, specials moves, and combos. The repetitive battles from Umbral still plague this game, and it’s unfortunate they don’t seem to spice these up in any meaningful ways as the game progresses. However, it’s still fun to mow down enemies by the hundreds and if you like the Warriors series you’ll probably enjoy this game’s mechanics as well. One of my favorite parts of the game is when you dispatch the boss of the area many of the enemies turn into tokens to pick up at the end, which is always satisfying!
New this time around is the ability to use money to level up your characters that you don’t use as often to keep them all competitive. The highest level character is your max, but to have this option is nice if you want to try someone new but don’t want to just play past levels for the sake of leveling up. You may have to anyway to get the cash to do it, but whatever, it’s a nice addition. Depending on how well you do in each battle, you get a grade at the end of it with the maximum being EX. If you clear a level with the grade of EX, you will get extra super special (read more powerful) skills to equip on your character.
Costumes – oh the wonderful Japanese RPG costumes. You want to see a little more of the legs or breasts of Nero? Go ahead and play through some extra levels to unlock something sheer and see through or maybe a nice piece of lingerie. Personally I don’t care about that sort of thing in games, but it might help create some interesting cosplay at Comic-Con or something like that.
Overall, Fate/Extella Link is a solid release after Umbral Star and a lot of fun to play. There are a plenty of added features and power upgrades and it’s a worthy purchase for those craving a game with high doses of action and anime.
Fate/Extella Link Review
- Graphics - 8/108/10
- Sound - 7/107/10
- Gameplay - 8/108/10
- Lasting Appeal - 7/107/10
Final Thoughts: GOOD
Fate/Extella Link features lots of improvements over the previous release, but it still suffers from some of the pitfalls the last title had and does have a steep learning curve for those unfamiliar with the franchise. Hack and slash action aficionados will find a lot to like here!