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Review: Fate/Extella Link (PlayStation 4)By Sasari At 24.03.2019 15:19

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Picking up after the close of the last instalment Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star, this new story sees a brand new antagonist abusing the system within SE.RA.PH to build himself an army. Whenever a heroic spirit is summoned as a Servant within SE.RA.PH a small piece of energy is left behind, and this new Servant is using that energy to summon shadow servants.

The story is okay, and there are numerous viewpoints to experience by replaying each day of the story with different choices. It helps that the scenario director of this game in Kinoko Nasu, the original creator of Fate/Stay Night and the scenario writer of Fate/EXTRA - and he promises that the story will further develop the lore of this universe.

This sees all 16 servants from the previous title playable once more, and bolstering the ranks are ten new servants, from across the various entries of the Fate franchise. Coming from Fate Grand Order, for example, is Cu Chulainn's master, Scàthach arrives to represent the Lancers, and Francis Drake represents the Riders. From the wonderful Fate/Zero comes Lancelot in his Shadowy Berserker form, and Gilles de Rais in his psychotic Caster form. Then, representing Fate/Apocrypha is Astolfo, the Rider of Black.

The new characters aren't just pulled from other instalments in the franchise. There are some completely new characters here too. For example, the new Saber Charlemagne. He's the center of this story, the counterpoint to the villain of the piece: Karl der Große. The duo are two parts to the same legend; the truth to the man that was and the legend that grew from the exploits. The battle between the two elements of Charles the Great is the heart of the story. There is a branching story path to play through, with decisions to be made on how to direct the forces.

There are seven days that the story plays out over and each day has two or more missions to choose between. The choices can block off certain missions, and require replaying missions and making different choices to see the whole story - all culminating in a final pair of missions separated by the branches, and when both these missions have been completed, a new series of missions over the seven days which gives the true story and the true ending.

Anyone who placed Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star will know what to expect here, with little deviation to that game, just with some extra features piled in on top. It's classic musou, where a map is broken up into set zones to be captured, with the addition of missions inserted along the way. It couldn't be simpler. Run to each zone, kill each "Aggressor" mob there, and turn that zone blue instead of red... then run on to the next. The missions will usually consist of heading to kill a specific enemy or destroy a particular device. Compared to The Umbral Star this has added more objectives, but there's little real variation.

There are extra layers to the game, though. Servants can be equipped with passive abilities along with active abilities that are mapped to the face buttons, with more abilities unlocked as the characters level up. In addition, the Master actually joins the battle as a mob this time, a double-edged sword as it gives bonuses but should he or she be defeated, the code casts can no longer be used.

On top of the Story Mode, there are two extra modes to enjoy. First up is Extra Battle. This free play-style mode offers up a huge list of 42 maps to play through, each with a much higher difficulty than what is found in the Story mode. This is the place to grind the Character levels and bonds up as quick as possible for the completionists.

Then there's online multiplayer. A 4-vs-4 setup where random matchmaking or personal rooms can be utilized to engage on some heavy Servant-on-Servant slaughter. These multiplayer matches work under King of the Hill style rules. Here, different sectors become designated "Score Zones", being the only team standing in this zone accrues points over time. The sectors randomly change, causing a rush and intense battle. During these matches, special "Class Towers" can appear. These are a tower of a specific Servant type that can randomly appear on the map. Only servants of the tower's type can attack them, and upon destroying them, they take control of that tower. Controlling the Towers give huge buffs to the team of whoever capture them. There are spaces in the game for two other types of multiplayer matches, but these are yet to be revealed.

A huge part of Fate has always been developing a Bond with the Servants - it's not just a way to gain a few more Saint Quartz to get yet another Mabo Tofu (Yorokobe Shounen), it's also a way to interact with all the Husbandos and Waifus, and Fate/Extella Link brings more for those fans. Each Servant has its own room in the barracks where they can be chatted with, along with occasionally be found wandering the grounds to talk. These interactions are all unlocked by increasing the Bond level of each servant, and this can be done by completing side missions for the characters. These consist of activities such as killing a set amount of enemies, capturing zones in a set time, or using a set amount of Noble Phantasms.

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Final Score
Fans of Fate will enjoy this, it's basically fanservice. The Musou style gameplay has been used for many franchises in Japan across the years, with popular series like [i]One Piece[/i], [i]Kamen Rider[/i], and [i]Gundam[/i] all receiving games that give fans the chance to play with their favourite characters. It works best when there is a decent cast of characters that fans want to see more of, and Fate has that in spades. Even with 26 playable characters here, it's barely scratching the surface of the roster available. That being said, this doesn't feel like much of an improvement over the [i]Umbral Star[/i], feeling more like a DLC - More of the same, and something only for hardcore fans.



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