Title: Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star
Available On: PlayStation 4, PC, Nintendo Switch (reviewed on)
Publisher: MARVELOUS!, XSEED Games
Official Site: Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star
Release Date: July 25th, 2017
Where to Buy: Steam, Nintendo Store, PlayStation Store, Microsoft Store, Local Retailers ($49.99)
Say what you will, but there’s nothing more entertaining than a good hack-and-slash button-masher. It is extremely satisfying when enemies start flying as your combo counter steadily rises higher and higher. Combining the with the Fate animes world and servants, I was beyond excited to get my hands on this title. As much as I wanted it to, it just didn’t deliver in the way I was hoping for.
Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star takes place after the Holy Grail War in the land of SE.RA.PH. The winner of the war finds themselves and their servant as the leader of this land, however, the Grail War was just the beginning. Servants, familiar and new, are forced to make unlikely alliances in order to keep the peace in this new world. When an unnamed servant appears, holding their master captive, it is your job to figure out their identity while keeping SE.RA.PH in one piece.
Fans of the Fate anime series will really enjoy what this game has to offer. However, they do take a few liberties when it comes to the rules of the world. While it’s clear that there is definitely some fan service happening, all in all, this title adds a fun story to the universe of one of my favorite animes. Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star is host to some fan favorite servants, like Archer and Iskandar, while still making the new servants interesting. For example, your Saber servant is none other than Emperor of Ancient Rome, Nero. Historical figures like Joan of Arc also make an appearance; and probably best of all, Elizabeth Bathory makes an appearance as a demonic pop princess. Are you beginning to see why I adore this series so much?
The servants are great, but is it fun to play? Absolutely! Not only does the game control really well, but it is super satisfying tearing through groups of corroded AI. The fluid combat allows transitions between attacks to happen almost seamlessly. With a game like this, the controls and combat are so important, and the developers totally nailed it. The only control issue I had was with the camera. The combat is so quick that a lot of the time, the camera is just a hinderance. It is easy to lose track of targetted enemies because of this, which can be kind of frustrating. Other than that, the game controls really well, however, there just isn’t a lot of actual game time.
Before I talk, more like complain, about the amount of exposition, know this: at least it is good exposition.The story is definitely an interesting one and it is written really well. Each of the characters has their own bright and unique personalities that come to life in their dialogue. It’s witty and fun while still portraying the seriousness of the situation at hand. However, there is just too much of it. Most of the game time is spent scrolling through text; at times, it feels more like a visual novel than an action game. For the time spent actually playing the game, you’ll spend twice as long in conversations before returning back to a fight. Sometimes, so much information is dumped on you, that it is hard to keep up. At the end of the day, I would have liked to see more levels in between the cut scenes (mostly because the game is a lot of fun to play).
All in all, I enjoyed Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star with its fun, fluid gameplay and interesting story and characters. However, about half way through my playthrough, I found myself wondering if I would enjoy the game as much if it wasn’t based on one of my favorite animes. With that thought in mind, I’m not sure if gamers outside of the fan base would be able to make it through the endless cutscenes. But, if you’re willing to make it through the excellent writing of the cutscenes, you’ll find a fun, challenging experience awaits you. It’s a perfect game for the Switch; the game looks great on screen or on the game pad. So, if you have a Switch, love the Fate anime series, and need a little button-mashing in your life, Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star is something I would recommend.
Verdict: Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star is a fun hack-and-slash that fans of games like Dynasty Warriors and Hyrule Warriors will love every moment of. Fans of the Fate anime series will also enjoy the familiar faces and atmosphere that the experience provides. Although the story is interesting and well written, there is just way too much exposition versus actual gameplay.
- Fun, mindless gameplay
- Brings back some favorite servants from the anime
- Interesting story
- Good Writing
- More reading than gameplay
- Little enemy variation
- Camera angles can make it hard to target enemies
Shelby loves all things horror and anything even remotely nerdy. She has been playing games for as long as she can remember, and one of her first memories of gaming comes from playing Super Mario World on the SNES with her aunt. She has a real passion for literature and the indie gaming community.