Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star is a single-player action game that has been around for about seven month in the U.S. on PS4 and Vita. The game has gotten some decent reviews, nothing truly horrible but nothing stellar, it’s basically been judged as an okay game on both consoles. This month, the game makes it’s official worldwide release by being published on PC and the Nintendo Switch (sorry Xbox One users). We got our hands on a PC copy and decided to see how it fairs.
The game continues where the first story, told in Fate/Extra, left off in a virtual reality world during The Holy Grail War. While knowledge of the original game isn’t necessarily required in order to play, this one doesn’t really go out of it’s way to explain anything. It would have been nice to have a bit of backstory before everything kicks off, maybe even just dedicate a good two minutes to bringing us up to speed in text cards. That being said, you’re not really missing a lot and it is pretty easy to navigate the game without it.
The story follows various characters through the game, sixteen in all who act as servants while you act as the master. You can choose from various classes like Archer, Assassin, Saber, Lancer, Caster, Rider, Berserker, and more each one giving you a new piece of the storyline as you progress through the game. The story elements break up the constant fighting, which at times can be tedious as you’ll spend about 70% of your time in combat and about 30% following along with whatever is happening.
Speaking of the combat, Fate/EXTELLA is straight-up hack-n-slash material. Hordes of enemies coming at you, even more than you’d experience in a standard Dynasty Warriors game, simply charging at you to deal damage. At one point there were so many on the screen I thought I was drowning. It plays much as you would expect as you have to plow your way through faceless enemies that eventually lead to some kind of boss fight. The game itself takes about 20-30 hours to complete, so I don’t recommend doing this all in a couple days if you want to get the most out of the game.
Graphics and audio-wise, the game really doesn’t stand out that much. The backgrounds and flooring look like jpg art that was pasted over a flat surface. I don’t feel texture—I don’t really feel anything beyond the levels being a collection of shapes and objects for me to maneuver around. The soundtrack becomes about as repetitive as the combat as you’ll start hearing the loop after you’ve gone through the first wave of hundreds of enemies. Everything just feels kind of “there” and not really inspired.
Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star is what it is: a hank-n-slash title with not a ton of depth and not a lot of replayability. It’s going to have it’s fans, and they will probably get a kick out of it. But when you have a game that you can beat in two days time and nothing to enhance it after that’s been finished, you have to start questioning what you’re buying. I personally would pass on this one, but I also recognize that there are a lot of people who would get a kick out of something like this that doesn’t occupy weeks of your time.
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