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Review – Fate/EXTELLA: The Umbral Star

In the aftermath of a war-torn battle on the moon, all is not well. The survivors of the battle must now undergo another battle in the digital realm known as SE.RA.PH to regain control for their side. However, not everything is as it should be. How will the situation be resolved? Find out in the war depicted in Fate/EXTELLA: The Umbral Star.

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Fate/EXTELLA: The Umbral Star
Developer: Marvelous
Publishers: Marvelous and XSeed Games
Artist: Aruko Wada
Writers: Kinoko Nasu and Hikaru Sakurai
Platforms: Playstation 4 and Playstation Vita (reviewed)
Release Dates: JP – November 10, 2016; NA – January 17, 2017; EU – January 20, 2017
Genre: Action
Other Features: 1 player, Cross-Save between PS4 and Vita

*Review code was provided by XSeed for the PSVita version

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Intro/Story:

The Moon Cell Automaton is a spiritron computer, which exists on the moon and has the power to grant any wish. All across the spiritron-constructed virtual world, SE.RA.PH, Servants and the Masters who control them fight for the right to be the Moon Cell Automaton’s one owner in a ceremonial conflict known as the Holy Grail War.

Now, the Servant Nero Claudius and her Master have won the Holy Grail War and have obtained the universal wishing mechanism, the Holy Grail.

They also obtained the Regalia, a ring that proves their kingship. With it, they rule over their once-enemy Servants and start a new beginning on the moon’s new world.

But a new enemy has appeared before them. And this enemy has something that shouldn’t exist: another Regalia.

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In terms of story, this would take place after Fate/EXTRA in an alternate history. Things do not play out as they normally do. As the player realizes this in their experience, it does provide a good amount of story in this alternate history. It is delivered well and keeps you engaged the entire time as the game develops.  The player is told the narrative from three different factions as they aim to achieve their goal. In addition to this, there are several side stories as you learn the motives and the stories of the supporting servants (characters) in the title. I also want to state that the series writer of the Fate/Stay Night, Kinoko Nasu is on board this project. Fans of the franchise will appreciate this as it stays true and faithful to the Fate franchise.

I also want to state that the series writer of the Fate/Stay Night, Kinoko Nasu is on board this project. Fans of the franchise will appreciate this as it stays true and faithful to the Fate franchise.

Intro/Store score: 5/5; the game set out to deliver a great story and it did.

Gameplay:

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Gameplay will seem very familiar if you have experienced a Dynasty Warriors game. This is the same formula as the vast majority of the Dynasty Warriors games with a few tweaks. It is not necessarily a turn off by any means. However, if you are not a fan of this type of combat and gameplay, it is safe to say you may not like it here as well.

 

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To briefly go over gameplay formula for Fate/EXTELLA, it is as follows:

  • You are dropped into an area. You have to take over said area to fight the aggressors.
  • You are to defeat a number of aggressors (dictated on top of the screen) in order to achieve complete victory.
  • Aggressors come in different variations, which includes other characters from the Fate franchise.
  • There are also side missions to achieve as you play if you choose to do so, it builds the bond meter between the player and the character.
  • After the full takeover of the area via defeating required amount of aggressors, a boss servant appears.
  • The player must defeat the boss player to complete the level.

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This formula occurs on every single level. The battle inputs for the gameplay is also very simple and accessible to any player of Fate/Extella. The layout is a normal attack, power attack, special attack, jump, guard, powered up form, the major powered-up form, and ultimate attack. It can be mastered during the first level of the story.

While this is all simple, it has a con in this aspect. It can become very repetitive, especially if you do not like this type of formula. Another con is the camera of the game in certain aspects. If you are backed into a corner, the camera goes all over the place so you have no idea what is going on. It is ideal to stay away from the corner, but sometimes it will happen (especially against a very powerful boss servant).

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Another aspect fo the gameplay is in the intermission sequences ( or hub areas) with the master ( the equipment player character which can be male or female) and the head of that faction. You are given different options to choose from which can build the bond between you two, build new gear, equipment/settings, and rest for the upcoming battle. At anytime you can back out to the main menu of the game and proceed to unlocked side stories which do the same things from the main story but provides a different story of that character.

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This is welcomed as the story is very engrossing and will open up more with twists and turns as the player progresses. Once again, though, the major flaw is the actual combat system which can get very repetitive very quick. After slaughtering over 1000 enemies for the third time, you may get bored quickly.

I can also report that load time on the PS Vita is not long at all (less than 5 seconds) at any given time.

Gameplay score: 3/5; easy gameplay that can become very wearing with issues.
Visual and Audio:

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Visual:
From a visual standpoint, the game looks impressive on both PS4 and Vita. There are most definitely better-looking games out there, but this game can hold its own in the visual department.

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^ PS4 Screens

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^ Vita Screens

For the PS4 version, it looks very well done. Vita version looks like it toned down a bit, but considering the difference in the hardware, it makes sense.
Visual Score: 4/5, very impressive visuals for the type of title it is across both platforms.

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Audio:
In the audio department, the game does very well to deliver on no matter what platform that it is played on. The game is fully voiced over in Japanese dubs with English subs. All the original characters from the franchise reprise their roles in this game.

In addition to this, the music in this game is very well done. I liked it quite a great deal.

Fate/Extella OST – Altera (Black) Theme

Fate/Extella OST – Gilgamesh theme

Audio score: 5/5; kicks of 2017 with being an amazing audio score.

Fun Factor:

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Is this a fun game? For me, I enjoyed this game a great deal. I am still enjoying it as well as current as of this writing. I can see how it can be very off-putting for others in the terms of the combat. However, I can see those very same players enjoying it up to a point before the repetitive factor sets in.

Fun Factor score: 4/5; can be very wearing, but very fun at the same time depending on the player.

 

Replay Value:

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When you wrap up the story of one character faction, you unlock another. This happens a few times over. In addition, there is side-stories in the game, as well as a free battle mode. There is a ton to play and a ton to unlock. Simply put, there is a ton of replay value in this game.

Replay value score: 5/5; very high replayability, even in terms of the genre

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Conclusion/Wrap up:
Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star is a welcome entry to the Fate franchise. In addition, I personally feel the release for the game was well timed in the US and EU regions. If this game came out one week later, it would have been buried with the huge amount of release titles next week and probably not have been looked at by anyone except Fate fans. The gameplay is simple, but the story is very engrossing and will keep you coming back to find out what happens. New fans of Fate, as well as old, will appreciate this. If you can get passed the issues of the game (if you personally consider them issues), you will find a wealthy amount of content, as well as a great story.

Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star is a welcome entry to the year of 2017. It sets the prelude of several hit titles to come this year from Xseed/Marvelous and others.

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Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star Recap:
Intro/Story score: 5/5; the game set out to deliver a great story and it did.
Gameplay score: 3/5; easy gameplay that can become very wearing with issues.
Visual score: 4/5, very impressive visuals for the type of title it is across both platforms.
Audio score: 5/5; kicks of 2017 with being an amazing audio score.
Fun Factor score: 4/5; can be very wearing, but very fun at the same time depending on the player.
Replay Value score: 5/5; very high replayability, even in terms of the genre.

Overall score: 26/30; Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star kicks off the year in a good manner.

About Mgs2master2

Mgs2master2
A gamer and jack of all trades. I enjoy many things, but overall just enjoying life. Hopefully, I can add enjoyment to your life through my articles or interactions.

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