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Friday, April 7, 2017

Fate/EXTRA (フェイト/エクストラ)

If you're a long-time reader of this blog, first of all, you have excellent taste and second, you may have noticed just the slightest hint of fondness for Imageepoch. It's not like I planned things that way. I only noticed much later that many of the games I really dug and enjoyed just happened to share the same name.
You may be gone but your spirit lives on... I hope. Sigh...
I was super bummed when the company disappeared (whatever happened to the CEO btw?) but thankfully other companies are picking up the slack. Fate/EXTELLA was just announced and even though it sounds like an action Musou clone (MEH), I'm still hopeful for a good game. At least it's a good excuse to revisit the first game.

Hopeful Fate/EXTELLA will be OK at least story-wise despite this action bullshit
When I first played Fate/EXTRA, my only exposure to the Fate franchise was the Fate/stay night anime and I thought it was boring as hell. Shirou was one of the most whiniest, annoying characters only a bit better than Shinji from Evangelion (aka "the crying masturbator") and Saber was like that super annoying straight edge girl in college who probably should've gone to a dry campus. So you won't hear me raving and drooling over this game just because of the franchise. In fact, I actually came in a bit skeptical but I was quickly pulled in by the very unorthodox premise.

Wha-? You calling ME the NPC?? THE NERVE! Sure, my avatar is super generic but I HAVE FEELINGS!
What I really liked about this game is that you're not some super special hero destined to save the world AGAIN. Ok ok, you start off with amnesia (oh that's a new one) but I loved how everybody just treats you like NPC trash (aka mob-chara if you ask some fucking weaboos). Everyone assumes you're going to die in every battle and it was awesome to see their shocked faces every time you come out alive. They're all like, "WTF?? You're still here??"

Gameplay-wise, the boss battles are definitely the highlight. The regular battles are very simple, pretty much rock-paper-scissor. The environments and regular enemies are super low-budget, very generic and often recycled. You level up very quickly at each new dungeon but there's a huge drop off so you can't grind really. This makes the later boss battles fairly challenging. Between just plain luck, trying to anticipate the boss's moves as well as timing your own special attacks, and making good use of your items, the boss battles are what makes this game fun. Yes, you actually need to use ITEMS in this game!

The music is smooth as hell... just like yours truly

You can choose between 3 servants and so far I've only played through the game with Saber. But man, she's SOOOO much cooler than Fate/stay night. She's deliciously decadent and is totally the opposite of the annoying, straight-edge, frigid Saber character from the anime. I am replaying the game with Caster and there's a couple boss battles and options that you can choose differently in a second playthrough so there is some replayability. A 3rd playthrough is stretching it a bit though.

UPDATE: Since it's been a while and I forgot a lot of the story, I went ahead and beat this game a second time with Caster and it was just as much fun as I remember. I even beat the secret hidden boss that only unlocks on the second playthrough and boy was that fight TOUGH! If you want to win as Caster, you pretty much have to cast a spell almost every turn as the boss can and WILL kill you with one devastating move. However, the battle won't end early enough for your MP to last so that's something you have to figure out. Anyways, great game and I'm sure I'll play it for a final 3rd time a few years later again.

Caster, you're the only waifu for me! Really!

Score: 3.5 Ha, paper beats rock! Wait, why is there a sword in my chest?? GAAAAAH! out of 5 (80 hours to beat twice with Saber and Caster)

I think Fate/EXTRA could have really used some more budget. Despite being a very story heavy TYPE-MOON game, there are far too few voiced lines. I actually had to read or something. (WTF is this "read" shit??) The environments are extremely limited and while the regular battles are kinda relaxing in a way, paper-rock-scissor isn't something to get excited about.

However, I really enjoyed the story despite all the reading and the boss battles were fun as hell. The music was good and overall, I had a great time with the game. I'm going to enjoy replaying it now it's been a few years and a bit more fresh.

Fate/EXTRA is available in English but not dubbed. Even though non-Jhipsters have to read ALL the text, with the large volume of unvoiced dialogue, I guess this time I can sympathize... a bit. LOL, you poor non-Jhipsters.

0 - Awful
1 - Bad and not worth your time
2 - Has some flaws but still enjoyable
3 - An average enjoyable experience
4 - A great game
5 - Masterpiece of a caliber only found very rarely

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