Fate/EXTELLA: The Umbral Star - PlayStation 4 Review

fateextella-ps4-game

The fate is certainly in your hands. Control your territory!

Game Info

  • System: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
  • Publisher: XSEED Games | Marvelous USA
  • Developer: Marvelous
  • Release Date: November 12, 2016 [JP] / January 17, 2017[NA] / January 20, 2016[EU]
  • Pricing:$49.99 [Regular Edition] $69.99 [Noble Phantasm Edition] (DLC extra)
  • Rating: T
  • Genre: Action, Hack and Slash
  • Players: Single Player
  • Official Website: http://fateextella.com/

Who it Caters to

Devoted fans of the Fate franchise will most certainly be jumping for joy with the latest hack and slash title from Marvelous Games because it incorporates much of the Fate story along with cool new surprises along the way. The wonderful aspect about Fate/EXTELLA is that it creates a fun experience for anyone regardless of whether you follow the Fate story plot, or are just looking for something fresh.

It does a wonderful job of detailing each character and ensures that no elements are missing from the entire gameplay side of things. If you’re looking for an action packed ride filled with plenty of replay value tucked away in side missions, free battles and collecting all the trophies, then Fate/EXTELLA is most definitely for you.

What to Expect

fateextella-the-umbral-star-capture-2
Fate/EXTELLA takes a lot of what you know and love from the popular musou genre and combines it very seamlessly with the Fate universe. It does need a few tweaks here and there pertaining to the camera and its functionality, but aside from that, the game serves its purpose well.

With Marvelous Games really encouraging players to take advantage of new DLC content, there’s a lot more to actually look forward to and it makes playing feel more rewarding. You can choose from up to 16 servants, many of which you’ll need to unlock through playing the very fun story mode, and through completing story mode you’ll open up other arcs in the story with a different character. With a plethora of different items to choose from ranging from install skills to magic cores, you can craft them at any time to really strengthen your character in battle.

Fate/EXTELLA is flashy and electrifying to watch because everything is visually sharp and vivid, with every color popping out at you. Each story arc takes about roughly 4-5 hours depending on how fast you are, so in total, you’re looking at around 15-20 hours which is most certainly enough. Once you tie in the side story mode along with trying to collect trophies and special items, that number increases to around 30-40+. Whatever your plan of approach, Fate/EXTELLA manages to keep you entertained and on the edge of your seat for hours on end.

Fate/EXTELLA - The Umbral Star Announcement Trailer

Story

fateextella-the-umbral-star-capture-3
Fate/EXTELLA’s story takes place after the events that transpired during the Holy Grail War from the first game Fate/Extra. The game starts off with Nero and her master, who have just come out victorious in the war giving them full control over the Moon Cell Automaton computer. This computer allows anyone with it to fulfill their wishes. The two have also obtained the Regalia Ring which grants them the power to have full control over enemy servants. However, a mysterious enemy has appeared who also wields the Regalia and now the two must confront this new enemy and take them out before it’s too late.

Gameplay

Introduction - Story Mode

fateextella-the-umbral-star-capture-4
fateextella-the-umbral-star-capture-5
As stated in the story section, this mode acts as the main plot where you’ll be able to take control of three characters, each with their own respective story. Nero, Tamamo no Mae, and Attila are the characters you’ll be controlling for each arc, each with their own unique gameplay aspects which bring more fun to the game. Nero and Tamamo no Mae are able to take control of five servants during battle, while Attila’s arc allows you to manage only 4. The other two are independent and we’ll let you discover them on your own once you’ve completed all three arcs.

fateextella-the-umbral-star-capture-6
Throughout this mode, you’ll take part in huge battles where you’ll need to capture what’s known as ‘Sectors’ before the enemy does. Each story arc comes with at least 5 chapters, with each chapter having their own boss servants that you’ll need to defeat in order to progress. Once you defeat those chapters, a final chapter is revealed where you’ll need to take on a much more formidable enemy and when you’ve completed that you’ll unlock some nice goodies.

What’s truly awesome about Fate/EXTELLA’s gameplay is that it totally reminds us of the Dynasty Warriors series, where you essentially to take over territories as fast as possible, without letting your team die. It’s totally fast paced and at running at a full 60fps on PS4, it felt incredible to rush through each sector trying to fend off enemies, collect install skills and take out enemy servants who stand in your way.

After finishing chapters, you’ll be able to look through all of the items you’ve collected and craft them to equip stronger Mystic Codes which are extremely pivotal in battle. Some Mystic Codes come with some cool perks such as being able to resist flame attacks from certain enemies, while other Mystic Codes like ‘Flag of Guidance’ allows you to obtain extra treasure. Whatever your playstyle there’s certainly a Mystic Code available for you to craft and use. Depending on the level or sector that you’re on, your Code Cast, or Mystic Code buffs will come in handy. For example, in the second story arc with Tamamo you’ll encounter a lot of ‘Sector Traps’ which are placed in certain areas, and when they go off they do a ton of damage to you if you aren’t well equipped with the right Mystic Code.

So while the game is all about hacking and slashing your way in style, it does encourage you to play with a strategic approach and not get killed. Each chapter comes with side missions that you can also try to complete, all of which reward you with extra skills and buffs once you’ve completed the main objectives. We can’t stress enough how much fun Fate/EXTELLA actually is, especially when you’re able to constantly modify and buff your characters up, using your powerful EXTELLA Maneuver to destroy a horde of enemies in style. We loved the cut scenes that came along with the Extella Maneuver, and once you managed to pop your Moon Crux/Moon Drive the satisfaction of killing an enemy boss with little to no health is heavenly.

The game does a stellar job of really hammering home all the details pertaining to how to play the game, with tutorials coming at you left right and center to ensure your experience is truly worthwhile.

Side Story Mode

Side Story Mode is where you get a chance to use the other 16 servants, all of which come with their own unique story but somehow still connect with the main plot which is nice. Our favorite servant would have to be Lu Bu the Berserker just because he reminds us of the powerful Lu Bu from the Dynasty Warriors series, and hits just as hard.

It’s great being able to take a servant into battle that normally wasn’t able to be used during the main story arc, so side story mode is perhaps where the real fun happens in Fate/EXTELLA. All of the perks that you received from the main story are still there, allowing you to power-up your servant with install skills which come in handy during hectic situations. You can certainly tell Marvelous Games and XSEED did a remarkable job on the localization, along with creating an incredibly beautiful game to look at while playing.

The variety of characters to choose from is splendid since you can always go back and try your hand at the game from different perspectives and play styles, so we encourage you to play through the game with your favorites.

Free Battle Mode

Free Battle Mode is what you’d expect where pretty much anything goes, and you don’t really have to rely too much on certain criteria to have a good time. This mode is where you can simply let off some steam, and perhaps use some characters that maybe you never spent enough time with, in order to get used to their mechanics. It’s a nice little-added bonus for anyone who doesn’t want to worry too much about all the fluff and just have a good time.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

fateextella-the-umbral-star-capture-11
Now here’s where things go wrong, unfortunately. While the selection of characters is vast and colorful, and gameplay is certainly fun, the camera in the game is perhaps what saps a lot of the enjoyment out of everything. Often times we’d be engaged in heated battles and the minute we get caught in the corner by the enemy boss servant, the camera would lock us in the corner while the enemy pummels us into oblivion. There’s nothing we could do because we’re locked in hit stun and so the majority of our health bar is sapped away before we can make an escape.

It was truly disappointing and at times just horrible to even deal with, and we found ourselves sometimes just allowing the enemy to kill us so we could use our command seal to respawn out of the corner. Another major gripe is that while you can auto lock enemy servant bosses, you can’t lock onto aggressors or plants and it seriously became such a pain because the camera is already horrid enough, to begin with. We had to muster up enough patience to just get through the entire ordeal, but this is something we shouldn’t even have to deal with especially during the most integral section of the game.

In spite of there being options to alter the camera movements in the options menu, they simply didn’t help to ease the pain by any means and destroyed that very thrilling experience that we’re fond of.

fateextella-the-umbral-star-capture-12
Aside from that major issue, Fate/EXTELLA is honestly worth every penny especially if you follow the franchise heavily and want a nice fast-paced action experience. Even for those who aren’t very familiar can still find fulfillment in the game because it does a great job of introducing important characters from the story, and giving you a large chunk of detailed information throughout both the main arcs and side arcs.

Overall Fate/EXTELLA is one title you don’t want to sleep on if you’re an anime junkie like us, with enough frantic hack and slash gameplay to keep you playing for hours. With added DLC content implemented as well, it encourages you to play more and take advantage of all the perks. Plenty of replay value in the game to keep you coming back is also another huge plus. We didn’t get an opportunity to throw it down on the Vita version, but we can definitely say that your overall experience will fair better on the PS4 due to performance power at 60FPS, and crisper detailing.

Honey's Pros:

  • Extremely detailed tutorials for those unfamiliar with the game mechanics.
  • Very solid main and side story arcs.
  • Huge variety of characters to choose from and play.
  • Visually stunning and runs flawlessly at 60FPS [PS4]
  • Well over 40-50 hours of gameplay if you tie in collecting all trophies, completing every mission 100%, etc.
  • Great assortment of items to buff your character throughout the game.
  • Amazing dialogue and voice acting.
  • DLC content is an added bonus which throws more content into the mix.
  • TONS of replay value if you’re a completionist.

Honey's Cons:

  • The camera controls are well below par and truly takes away from the experience at times.
  • Will get repetitive at times simply due to the overall structure of the game. [Dynasty Warriors influenced.]

Honey's Final Verdict:

We certainly had a blast with Fate/EXTELLA and will certainly be playing it for many more hours. With a plethora of trophies to collect especially the ultra rare platinum one, we’ll be slashing our way to perfection without a doubt. Again you don’t have to be an aficionado when it comes to the Fate lore, you simply just have to enjoy the fast paced action it provides and everything else will fall into place naturally. If you had a chance to try out Fate/EXTELLA let us know in the comments section below, and be sure to tell us who your favorite servant was! Also follow us on twitter to know about any other major game giveaways that will take, and share our articles to keep the community growing!

As always, for all things sweet, with news straight from Japan, be sure to keep it locked here on Honey’s Anime.

Rob

Editor/Writer

Author: Rob "NualphaJPN" B.

100% Vegan. A passionate fan of gaming, writing, journalism, anime, and philosophy. I've lived in Japan for many years and consider this place to be my permanent home. I love to travel around Japan and learn about the history and culture! Leave a comment if you enjoy my articles and join me on Discord! Take care!

Previous Articles

Top 5 Anime by Rob "NualphaJPN" B.