Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star (PC) – Review
Follow Genre: hack 'n slash, action RPG, JRPG
Developer: Marvelous
Publisher: Marvelous
Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo Switch, PC
Tested on: PC

Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star (PC) – Review

Site Score
6.9
Good: Fluent combat, high amount of Japanese gameplay
Bad: Long conversations, repetitive gameplay
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0
(0 votes)
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After being released on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, and recently adding the Nintendo Switch to that list too, Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star is now here for PC as well. Hug your waifu pillow tight and get excited in Japanese, because we are going to take another look at this game where RPG and Hack ‘n Slash blend together for you, our senpai.

Fate/EXTELLA: The Umbral Star logo

Story

First of all, it might be worth to mention that it helps a lot if you are a fan of the JRPG genre and Manga or Anime in general. For those who are not, Marvelous and Type-Moon luckily added an option. You can either speed up all the conversations that take place in between the action or skip them as a whole. That being said, if you decide to do so, you might miss out on conversations between you and your servants or cutscenes explaining small parts of what’s going on.

You are being hailed by the title Praetor, which in this case means something like a ruler. After some all-destroying wars, the Moon’s Holy Grail wars, the future of the planet doesn’t look so good. A short introduction scene leaves you clueless as you wake up in a fancy throne room sitting on a giant red soft chair that screams ROYALTY in your face (not literally). A blonde armored girl is talking to you and it doesn’t take long before she starts to look at you slightly worried. You seem to have a bad case of memory loss and she explains to you that she’s your humble servant as you are her master. Besides that there seems to be some romance going on between the two of you, she also explains that you two are the victors of the Moon’s Holy Grail Wars. By doing so you earned the right to carry the Regalia, a ring on your servant’s hand that grants power to rule over the lands of SE.RA.PH.

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While you start to try and maintain peace in SE.RA.PH together by battling enemies infesting the lands, soon a mysterious enemy shows up. She is an old servant that you should still know, were it not for your amnesia. Tamamo, as she seems to be called, also seems to be able to use some form of a Regalia. She is accompanied by some version of you and you consider the possibility that you might be split in half. As war is being declared on you and your faithful blonde servant by Tamamo to dispute the leadership over SE.RA.PH, you delve deeper into the story and the world that’s Fate/Extella’s.

As an extra addition to the main story line, there is the option to play with different servants. You unlock this option playing the main story, as well as a few side stories that give a bit more of an in-depth view to the characters. This, however, is more of a weak point than a strong point in the game for those who are not familiar with the series. The story starts up slow with a lot of empty conversations where they attempt to establish some relationship between you and your servant which can be just as annoying as enjoyable if you are not into this. But, like it’s been said before, luckily you could skip all the text if you’d like to.

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Graphics

The graphics in the PC’s version of the game look good, and definitely better than in the PS Vita’s version, which wasn’t bad already. The fights look swift and smooth, but sometimes it’s hard to see what’s going on by the chaos in the game. There’s always an arrow pointing you to your objective in every area, but fighting against a giant gray wave of enemies that drops tons of small colors doesn’t always make it easy to see this arrow hovering about. The only real peace you’ll get in between is when using special attacks. These moments let you watch how your servant slashes up the enemy hordes with loads of fury. Since they are repetitive, however, these too can be skipped when you want to. The overall style has a Japanese game feeling as is to be expected. It’s colorful and bright, like for example the Kingdom Hearts series.

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Sound

The sound consists of several different types. This contrast has been found in many previous games such as the Final Fantasy series, Bayonetta or Devil May Cry. There’s a soft piano theme during conversations at your base of operations, and J-pop/dance music during fights. These are also clear Japanese influences which simply became part of the genre. The best about the sound though, might be the voice acting. It’s nice how the original Japanese voices were kept, instead of replacing them with English ones like it happens in many games today. Luckily there are subtitles available and for most of us, that’s all we will need.

Gameplay 

Being a hack ‘n slash game with some strategic elements, this game is a unique genre that walks beside older games such as Sengoku Basara: Samurai Heroes or the more recent Hyrule Warriors. Basically, the core elements consist of getting an objective on a map that’s divided into different areas. Fight your way from i.e. area 1 to area 5, disable a barrier, go back to area 3 because it’s getting invaded and continue your way to area 7 to confront a dangerous enemy that’s been waiting for you. The end goal is to reach a certain amount of Regime Keys, items you gain by gaining territory, to get a territorial victory. After that, you will be challenged by some boss servant who also adds a piece of the storyline to the game. This is basically every fight ever, even though the maps and the objectives vary.

Your avatar, the Praetor, does not fight himself. Instead, he somehow joins his servant in the Regalia ring to be by her side. You get to control your servant and slash up your enemies a good amount with your swift strength and magical elements. Your servant also levels up after most fights, and you get loot that allows you to alter your playstyle slightly. This means you can as an example add elemental attachments to your attacks or get slightly tankier by equipping the right loot. Also, you can craft gear which does not actually alter appearances but also increases your servant’s stats.

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Replayability is a word that for this game might only appeal to those who actually really like the repetitive combat to max out their character and stats. What helps in the game is that it also has a third game mode next to the main and the side stories. This mode allows you to freely pick and play a battle without all the story surrounding it. A good option for those who want to get away from the tiresome attempts of your servants to gain your liking, and the slight lack of choices you get for answers. The only thing your servants ever do in between battles when you talk to them is reacting slightly differently to the things you say. There is no real consequence to your choices, which, together with the repetitive gameplay, kind of ruins the argument of players who claim the game has a lot of depth.

Conclusion

Fate/Extella can be a nice game, especially for those who are a fan of the series. For those who are not, however, the repetitive gameplay can be a real downer. If not that, it might be that the story and choices in between feel like an episode of the Bold and the Beautiful. Luckily, not all of us have to watch it if we are not in the mood so that makes it a lot better. Overall it’s a good game to kill some time and just feel powerful slashing your way through some waves, but the true enjoyment lies there for the fan base.

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Pim Hoogeveen
Pim Hoogeveen


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