Fated but forgotten.
I’ll be completely up front, I have heart for some of the more mindless hack and slash games out there. Though this comes with a caveat. I usually have to understand or at least be able to appreciate the story or setting the game is set in. Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star is colorful, and apparently based on a popular anime and visual novel series I know little to nothing about. This made things extremely off putting to me, and did ultimately affect my thoughts. Can I look past it though?
So there is some holy war, some cyberspace moons, heroes and other stuff I can’t even fully remember or grasp. There is the typical normal anime tropes and other story beats, but it all surrounded a setting and story that utterly confused me from the get go, and it never got much better either. This is one that seems directly aimed for the fans, and if players follow the franchise, they are bound to appreciate everything the game does offer in terms of story and presentation.
Would pay $19.99
How long to beat: 12+ hours
Hack, Hack, Hack
For everyone else, what’s left is a typical “dynasty warriors” style gameplay that has come before, but without any really huge variations or additions that some of the other games have added over time. Moving the various characters from one battle ground to another one, it ends up repeating itself far more often than even these games usually do. It’s fast, it’s flashy, and it is fun in sporadic moments. Yet without a compelling story to keep me hooked or unique gameplay variations to the genre to keep me playing, I grew rather bored and almost immediately.
Presentation along with the anime graphical presentation works well, with long dialog moments, and tons of enemies on screen. Looking up some reference material for the franchise, it appears they did a great job to capture the same look and feeling. That, along with a decent soundtrack and lots of dialog spruce up the moments during battle, though as I find with most games without an English dub, it’s hard to fight and keep track of the subtitles during the more stressful moments in the game.
For the fans
Here we have a franchise, put into the “Warriors” mold and relying entirely too much on knowing the series already to get the most out of it. It’s entertaining, but doesn’t do anything these games haven’t done before. It’s the epitome of being a game for fans and only for the fans “if” they like the gameplay loop, otherwise all that’s left is a story to follow and if that’s all the fun, the game might as well have been another visual novel.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.