Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star (PS4) review
Fate/Extella is an overall fun experience that is somewhat hampered by the game bombarding you with a long stream of visual novel style conversations. However, if you endure the stream of information, you are rewarded with hack n’ slash combat reminiscent of the Dynasty Warriors franchise.
In terms of story, Fate/Extella is told through the eyes of three servants spread across four arcs. The story takes place after you won the war, and received the Regalia, a ring that grants you control over the Moon Cell Automaton computer, which has the power to grant a wish. The ring also allows you to rule over former enemy servants. However, after acquiring the ring, a series of events sees you and the ring split in three, with the ring and parts of yourself going to three servants: Nero, Tamamo and Altera.
On the surface, the main objective is to restore the ring and your body, but when you learn what caused the separation of your body, mind and soul, you find yourself in a battle to save the solar system from destruction. As Velber, the Umbral Star is returning to finish the job he started 14,000 years ago, wiping out all life on Earth and the Moon.
The game’s four arcs offer four different endings as each arc has you attempt to save the world with a different servant. The final two arcs are by far the most interesting with the endings of each proving to be an emotional and heart-warming experience.
Moving away from the story, let’s talk about the combat, the most enjoyable aspect of the game. With the amount of dialogue you endure in the game, combat feels like a reward for all the reading you did. The combat portion of the game takes place on a Regime Matrix, a large arena split into sectors, to claim the Regime Matrix you need to obtain Regime keys by successfully claiming the most sectors in the Matrix. In order claim a key, you need to defeat all the Aggressor programs that defend a sector’s key.
Now, as I said Fate/Extella is a hack n’ slash game, but how does combat work? Well like most hack n’ slash games, you press square and triangle buttons to perform normal and heavy attacks to defeat enemies. To remove the monotony of just pressing two buttons the game has an array of special attacks known as Moon Crux, Extella Maneuver and Noble Phantasm. The moon Crux is a gauge that fills up as you damage, and when filled allows you to transform and drastically increase your attack and defence. The Extella Maneuver involves another gauge that fills up by doing damage and collecting power-up items, when the Extella Maneuver is invoked via the circle button you engulf all enemies in a closed space and perform a powerful combo attack, with the power of the combo being determined by how full the gauge was. Finally, the Noble Phantasm is a powerful area of effect attack.
While your servant does most of the work in combat you can perform code casts, which are abilities that can help your servant. In between battles you can go to your room, change code casts, and invoke install skills, which are passive buffs you can apply as you level up the bond with your servant.
Moving away from the combat, let’s talk characters. Each character you encounter has their own personality, which is built around the heroes and anti-heroes they represent. The main three: Nero, Tamamo, and Altera all have rather extreme personalities with Altera considering you a prisoner, Tamamo dotes on you and calls you her husband, and Nero showing loyalty. Their personalities also help liven up some of the more serious moments in the game, with moments of tension being broken up by one of the servants breaking the ice in a comedic way.
The main enemies in the game are a bit unfortunate; the main enemy just wants to see everything destroyed, while the second enemy acts like a comic relief character that can at times be serious.
In regards to additional features, there are side stories that involve your servant’s generals, and a free battle mode.
Finally, before I reach my conclusion I want to talk audio. The audio is Japanese voice over only, which means you won’t be able to sit back and listen to the story, but instead actively read every bit of text in the game.
Fate/Extella: The Umbral star offers a fun combat system that unfortunately only seems to exist to be a reward for wading through a sea of a dialogue.
|+ Combat is fast paced and fun||– The game constantly bombards you with dialogue|
|+ Interesting story spread across four arcs||– Japanese-only voice over|
|Marvelous||Marvelous||Beat ’em up||12+||PS4, PSVita||January 17 (NA), January 20 (EU)|
For more information on Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star, visit http://marvelousgames.com/.