Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star is an action styled musou game originally released in Japan on November 10 2016 and is set to be released in the west on January 17 in the US and on January 20th within the EU.
The Umbral star is set after the events of the Holy Grail War from the first game originally released for the Playstation Portal, Fate/Extra. Within the title you can choose from one of two main protagonists, Male and Female. Throughout my playthrough I had played as the Male protagonist; I would imagine that if you were to play as the female there would be minor changes to the script but nothing too drastic.
While we have previously covered the prelude of the game and this can be found on our YouTube channel here. The game begins with you waking up from a nightmare, or a faint memory of what has actually happened. You spend the rest of the game expanding the territory that you and your servant own and unlocking the mysteries of SERAPH.
The game provides what you would expect from a musou game, you pick a character from a large roster of varied characters and go defeat waves upon waves of enemies in the field. What makes this game different is a link to the digital world. The environments are made up of data, which aren’t connected by paths. There are points on the map where you teleport from section to another – it makes for an interesting travel system, but doesn’t offer anything special.
Each level ends as you have control over the majority of the map, each location has a different level of strategic importance and all have a numerical value assigned to them. Once you have controlled enough, you will summon the levels boss. The bosses themselves aren’t anything too special as they’re just one of many characters which you unlock.
There is a lot of content that comes with this game including; Main Story where you play as three main protagonists and see the game from their perspective. Side Story where you are able to play as the supporting cast and see the story from their perspective and while it’s not as long as the main campaign, the writing does offer insights into your favourite character. Free Battle, where you can pick any of the characters you’ve unlocked and pit them against any chosen leader you want.
There are a large number of passive skills and equipment which you can unlock throughout your playthrough. Skills are varied as they include different abilities such as “Plus % Damage”, “Instantly Kill Minion” and “Change to deal fire damage on hit”.
Equipment does not necessarily increase the amount of damage or increase your defense, it mostly changes executable abilities that your character can person. As you are the Master and the actual character which is fighting is your servant, you can provide buffs or heal their wounds. These abilities are linked to D-pad and can be seen in the top left of the screen.
I’ve spent a good 30 hours with Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star and I will be honest, I have thoroughly enjoyed the aesthetic and the combat that is offered within this title.
This title feels that it has been developed for fans of the series and previous games set within the FATE universe as well as for Japanese VO purists out there, as there is no English dub available for the game. The only time I found myself crying out for an English dub was during gameplay where characters are providing you with tips or just general banter and there is a lot going on at any given time so I find myself missing out as my attention is elsewhere.
On top of the above you also have your Encyclopedia to fill which chronicles all of the characters, events, equipment and skills you collect through your journey.
There is a lot of dialogue in this game, looking through the development blog for the publisher we can see that there is a enough dialogue for a small scale role playing game and for those that are interested in story and expanding upon the world of Fate/Extella that’s brilliant. However I personally found that after 6 hours I began skipping through this content as it’s presented to you in such an outdated way.
With the above said, this isn’t anything to do with the localisation of the game as it’s been done fantastically. I believe that the issue with me and this game is that I am comparing it to other musou games, specifically Hyrule Warriors where the narrative was presented through a series of fully animated cutscenes.
The game offers a fair amount of fan-service of specific characters, this is in terms of dialogue between them or in ways that the the game portrays them, for example while there isn’t of action or dynamic cutscenes, there are close up and up skirt views throughout the game campaign. I’m not necessarily bothered by this but this is become common ground for anime games and there are players out there who aren’t interested by this sort of content.
Fate/Exella: The Umbral Star is released on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita on January 17th US and on January 20th EU.
Overall I would give Fate/ Extella a 6/10. While I have enjoyed the experience especially the fast-paced and hectic combat, the dated method of storytelling lets down this game.