The Nintendo Switch library is slowly getting up there in titles, almost reaching the 100 count in just a few months’ following its release. And while we wait patiently for bigger titles to arrive (looking at you, Super Mario Odyssey and Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle), we can enjoy some of the smaller, quirkier games available for the system.
Amongst the offerings available is Fate/Extella: The Umbral Stars, something that will be a welcome sight for long-time fans of the series. It’s seen its fair share of products over the past few years, including role-playing games and fighting games, as well as plenty of anime to draw more players into the story. Now, the saga takes a turn into the “musou”, or the Dynasty Warriors formula as it were, as you guide a series of characters through a number of challenges, using a variety of characters and a storyline that ties them all together.
Now, since this is a “musou” style of game, you should probably know about the setbacks up front. First of all, the gameplay does get repetitive. You can try to mix up a few different combos with each character, but, eventually, it’s going to be them executing the same style of attacks repetitively. If you got used to that with Hyrule Warriors on the 3DS and Wii U, however, you’ll feel right at home here.
Digging Into The Story
Also, the AI isn’t very challenging. Occasionally, you’ll run into a boss that gives you a run for your money, but for the most part, hundreds of saps are just standing around like your tackling dummies, awaiting you to come in and beat them to a pulp. You can try to crank up the challenges a little bit, but, essentially, you won’t be challenged as much as you’d prefer.
Finally, the game doesn’t really seem too adaptive to newcomers. It’s easy enough to figure out, but you can tell that something like this was really built for fans. You’ll soon understand who Nero Claudius is all about, as well as the accompanying characters, heroes and villains alike, that come into her life. Fortunately, the team behind the game did a good job with its storytelling, so you can ease your way into Fate/Extella, provided you have enough patience with the battle system.
There are three main playable characters in all, each with different techniques. They provide a decent amount of variety, even while repetition sets in. And some of their attacks look absolutely devastating, as you unleash supers that could literally send hundreds of guys flying across the screen. While that’s nothing original from what the other Warriors games have done, Fate/Extella still does it very well in a way, something that anime fans are sure to appreciate.prevnext
The Gameplay Is Pretty Sweet, But A Bit Repetitive
The key system utilized within the game is cool as well, as you’ll eventually earn keys that are unlocked in sectors, where you clear away rooms of enemies and eventually get to the main boss of each one. It’s a systematic process that requires a little bit of grinding to get through, but it works properly enough, given the game’s structure. You’ll do quite a bit of warping between sections, but each new area looks interesting enough to plunder through.
Story plays a pivotal part here, and the folks at Marvelous did a pretty good job keeping things convincing. At some points, it even seems like a fanciful relationship system, with the different conversation paths you’ll take. Fate/Extella fans will feel right at home with the way this game unfolds – and everyone else may get a kick out of it as well, depending on your tastes.
Its gameplay is entertaining, if a bit on the repetitive side, and watching super attacks explode can be really something. That’s mainly a credit to the game’s design, which is pretty good. Not amazing like Hyrule Warriors mind you, but certainly not bad for a debut Switch entry. The character models look great and provide a heaping amount of personality, and the stages look like fun as well, like something taken out of the Fate/Extella playbook. It’s definitely anime-inspired, and fans will flock to that with ease. I just wish there was more creative liberties taken with enemy designs – it seems like you’re facing the same old folks again and again, save for the bosses.prevnext
Wrapping It All Together
I also enjoyed the music in the game, though, really, it’s very “musou” like with its electronic mix and some interesting rock tracks. It fits the mood of the Fate/Extella series, though, so I won’t complain. The voice acting is also great, mostly done in Japanese so to fit the tone of the anime. Some fans probably will prefer an English option, but I’m right at home with the way the characters sound now.
One other note – Fate/Extella doesn’t have any sort of co-op support option. I suppose that’s not a shock since Marvelous doesn’t dwell into this territory as much as, say, Omega Force. But it would’ve been nice to have something there for local Switch players to hook up with here. Luckily, Fate/Extella has enough going for it content-wise, including three story modes to dig through, as well as plenty of Side Stories with additional characters to play as. You’ll still get your money’s worth here.
While Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star could possibly be overshadowed by Fire Emblem Warriors when it debuts later this year (depending on how the final product shapes up), Marvelous still does a pretty good job here. The game is very anime themed and has a lot going for it in presentation (even if it’s rough around some edges), the controls are solid if slightly shallow when it comes to variety, and the end game content is pretty well stacked, even without a multiplayer option. If you’re seeking some good hack-and-slash fun on the Nintendo Switch, look to this Star.0comments
RATING: 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Disclaimer: A review code was provided by the publisher.prev