A spin off to the visual novel/anime series. ‘Fate/Stay Night,’ which takes place in an alternate world, Fate/Extra has players choose a nameless male or female character who at first seems to be a regular high school student. In reality, the high school is just the preliminary round to the Holy Grail War, a tournament where each participant’s servant battles other servants to win the Holy Grail. The world itself is inside a virtual reality destination called the SE.RA.PH. One thing about the main character is that they have no memory, no identity and does not under stand why s/he’s in this war.
The story is actually interesting and possesses a cast of colorful characters. Some may have the typical anime clichés, but they are so well written that you don’t really notice them. Each character has their own unique personality and the creators went to so much trouble developing them that even the random NPCs are more PC than NPC. Basing the servants off of real life and mystical characters was an interesting concept with even more interesting results.
This game is labeled as an RPG. In reality, it’s more of a visual novel with RPG elements thrown in for flavor. This means that this game is a bit story heavy, but if you can open your mind to this type of game you’ll get a good story. Here, your character will talk to various characters and investigate certain parts of the school to find out more info about your opponent in a calendar style gameplay. There are certain parts where you need to make a choice as to what you want to do.
Some of these choices can make your character die and cause a ‘Dead End” (game over). The game warns about these dead ends and advises you to create multiple save states. The only times you need these extra files is if you did not find out all about your opponent or forgot to gather the two keys needed to enter the week’s battle. As long as you’re diligent in talking to everyone, looking everywhere, and finding the keys early, you won’t need multiple save files.
The RPG section is not as good as the novel part. Here you’ll train in the arena by fighting random monsters to gain levels in order to improve your servant’s stats. The battle system can be best described as rock-paper-scissors. Attack beats break, break beats defend and defend beats attack, with certain spells and abilities thrown in. Each round, you need to choose six of these and a servant’s or one of your own abilities to attack the enemy. You can only use one servant ability and one of your own per round. This is basic grinding 101 and breaks the flow of the game.
It’s not a bad system, it just feels out of place in a game like this. Good thing battles are short and your servant levels up pretty quickly if you know what you’re doing.
Fate/Extra is a very good visual novel game with some added RPG flavor that any anime fan should play. The battle system may not be anything extraordinary, but the great story, characters, multiple story choices and three servant choices with different personalities and lines give this game high replay value if only to see all three servants. Just breeze through the battle parts and you’ll enjoy this game more.