Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star is the sequel to 2010’s excellent PSP JRPG, with a name so weird we had to crank out the old dusty Latin dictionary (AKA Google) to once and for all crack Type Moon’s cryptic but catchy naming convention. What I got was Fate/Star: The Shadow Star… yep, it still makes no sense.
Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star takes place after the events of Fate/Extra. The Holy Grail War is over and the remaining Servants fight for the territory within the virtual world of the Moon Cell. You soon find out that there are multiple versions of you, each supported by a different Servant. The story can be quite complicated at times. It expects prior knowledge of the series and throws you headfirst into meaty story segments. Thankfully, the game has an imposing encyclopedia noting all the events and terminology from the series’ rich lore. There are actually three different campaigns here, one for each of the Servants. You have Nero Claudius the saber, Tamamo no Mae the cheeky magician and finally one more mysterious saber who wants to foil everyone’s plans.
After the lengthy but engaging visual novel Fate/Stay Night, and the tactical and story-driven JRPG Fate/Extra for the PSP, Fate/Extella was brave enough to try something completely different. This time the series enters the realm of hack-and-slash with very accessible Warriors-like gameplay.
Dynasty Warriors has always been a fast-paced series, however it is nothing compared to Fate/Extella’s blazing fast combat. While in battle, the game has absolutely no down time. Even when running from one territory to another, the game simply warps you there at supersonic speeds.
If you have ever played a Warriors game before, you will feel right at home here. It feels unbelievably satisfying as you tear through hundreds, if not thousands, of enemies in a matter of minutes. The special attack Extella Maneuver literally sees you cutting through countless enemies with one explosive attack. As you progress, you will also expand your combo roster as well as equip instant skills and items.
The twist in Fate/Extella is that you will be occupying enemy territories and slowly pushing them back, all while defending your own. It makes for some interesting back and forth gameplay. Once either you or the enemy acquire enough, you will duel it out for total supremacy of the map.
There is somewhat of a dating sim element in between the long story segments and exciting battles. Depending on your decisions, you will deepen your bond with your Servant. You also have a number of officers ready to lend you a hand. At the beginning of each battle, officers give you quests and if you complete them, your bond with the given officer will grow.
The game is available for both the PlayStation 4 and Vita. We had the opportunity to play the PlayStation 4 version and, while the visuals may not be top-notch, the game looks stunning in motion, as the game never drops a beat. The digital world of SE.RA.PH, looks absolutely amazing, with glowing cyber-cubes, Japanese pagodas, Roman architecture and modern skyscrapers. This medieval-meets-futuristic aesthetic is something that really makes the game stand out. The game also has some of the most stylish menus we have seen to date, clearly influenced by those from the Persona series.
Unlike its predecessor, this time around the game is fully voiced, save for the main character. The voice acting is some of the best out there. As expected, the game has English subtitles, but no dub to speak of. Generally, this wouldn’t prove to be much of a problem, however you are bound to miss out on some of the of conversations that happen during the hectic battles.
The game offers hours upon hours of content. Aside from three distinct campaigns, you have a total of 13 playable officers each with their own side missions. The only downside is that some of it can get repetitive since the game offers only 6 levels in total.
While Fate/Extella doesn’t actually break any new ground, it has a lot to offer. Newcomers will be able to enjoy its simple but engaging gameplay, while fans can dive into its shockingly complex story written by non-other than Kinoko Nasu himself. If you are in search for a unique Warriors game, don’t look any further.