Fate/EXTELLA LINK Review

Fate/EXTELLA LINK Review

Reviewed on Sony PlayStation 4

Also available on PC and Nintendo Switch

The Fate series has been through an incredible journey, from budding indie visual novel Fate/Stay Night, developed by Type Moon in 2004, to a global multimedia phenomenon that seemingly prints money with every new spin-off, movie, anime, manga, and, of course, games of all kinds. Just like every good franchise (apparently), it needs its own take on the Musou hack-n-slash genre in the form of Fate/EXTELLA, which was met with mixed reviews back in 2016. Fate/EXTELLA LINK aims to correct some of the rough spots of the previous title and achieves its mission well enough in this fun and simple Warriors-styled game.



I must confess, right off the bat, that I’m not at all versed in the Fate series of late, with my only real experience being the anime adaptation of the original Fate/Stay Night visual novel. Fate/EXTELLA LINK has a lot of established lore from its prequel which itself is also a direct sequel to the PSP RPG Fate/Extra. Unless you’re willing to spend some time looking into what happened in both of those games, a lot of nodding away with patience is going to be required on your part. The way I understood it, the story takes place in a digital world where both humans and sentient AI lifeforms coexist in harmony. Amongst these intelligent programs, there are those known as Heroic Spirits which are digital incarnations of historical and mythological figures, such as Nero and Robin Hood. Each of these heroes has a class - which harks back to the original Fate/Stay storyline - which they're known by until their true name is revealed. Beyond that, being bombarded by Moon Cells and SERAPHS really didn’t help me get into the spirit of things. That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by how the main campaign managed to balance some proper story elements with some genuinely hilarious moments and a toning down of the usual anime fan-service such games often opt to include.



The real meat and potatoes of Fate/EXTELLA LINK, though, lies in its Musou-esque gameplay and combat. Just like every Warriors game worth its salt, you will be hacking and slashing through massive hordes of enemies that cower at the mere sight of you. There are approximately 24 characters to unlock and play as, each with their own unique spin of their respective class. Each character has a normal and a heavy attack which can be used in different sequences to perform combos. Active Skills are special attacks which help deal heavier damage, control crowds, and devastate boss type enemies. Instant Skills are minor buffs and stat improvements that are acquired through playing the game and by levelling up characters. Yes, there is a levelling system and thankfully the dev team included a currency system that can be spent to level up other characters so that your entire collection is caught up. No need to grind for levels for 24 characters. Fighting in Fate/EXTELLA LINK is fun and addictive. Even after completing the campaign, I wanted to experiment with different Active Skill load-outs as well as other characters. One of my favourite parts was activating each character’s Noble Phantasm, a powerful over-the-top cinematic attack that eradicates all enemies on the field. That also goes for the online portion of the game, where players choose their characters and are assigned into two teams, both of which must battle for control of different points on a given map. After several matches, there didn’t seem to be much of an imbalance between different heroes as they all feel quite overpowered in their own way.



Overall, Fate/EXTELLA LINK is a button-mashing good time and an excellent introduction to the Musou genre for those who have yet to take the plunge. The controls are responsive and easy to pick up. Pulling off combos and using all of your character’s skills feels simple yet extremely powerful. Clearing up the bland arenas from hordes of enemies is exhilarating and addictive. What would have been nice is if the dev team added some way for players not well versed with the Fate universe to catch up that doesn’t involve walls of text and info dumps. Maybe that will come next time but if you’re looking to play a good ol’ fashioned Warriors-style game with RPG elements, look no further!

Overall

Good old fashioned and accessible Warriors-style action wrapped in a story full of pre-established lore from the Fate series. Particularly great for those new to Musou.

7

out of 10

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