Fate/Extella Link is the latest FATE title to reach consoles, following on from the previous release Fate/Extella The Umbral Star, LINK hopes to further that Musou like experience with its own brand of history changing characters. Does it make history or should it just be forgotten? Read on to find out.
Following on from the previous release, FATE/Extella Link takes the already laid out formula of Visual Novel meets Musou, mixes it with even more of the FATE lore and tweaks it just a bit to feel fresh and exciting.
At the start you’ll name a character who gets to control the characters called “Servants”, these are roughly based on historical figures. Much like the original, this game is riddled in technobabble, I haven’t seen any of the anime and I only played The Umbral Star, while I struggled initially to keep up with the story I didn’t feel it knocked the experience too much. The writing was legitimately great in places and I did get sucked into the tale even if coming out the back end of it, none of it really stuck with me. Much like the original game, it’s certainly more for FATE fans but certain aspects of the writing have made it a little more accessible.
The music is an eclectic mix of J-Pop & Rock, it certainly isn’t for everyone but there are a few tracks here which become toe-tappers. The game also features Japanese only voice acting which much like its predecessor, is always good but can make reading the mid-battle comments more of a strain than it really should be.
Graphically the game is a step up from Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star but not by considerable leaps and bounds. The game runs a lot smoother than the original title and it certainly isn’t an eyesore due to gorgeous art design, but in technical terms, it’s a mid-range PS3 title.
New to this title is the ability to run around the Hub area and talk to the characters, learn more about them and further a friendship meter which unlocks new scenes and abilities within combat. You can go into a first-person mode and see the character models in all their glory rather than trying to keep up when on the battlefield.
When I say that FATE/Extella Link is a musou game, it’s essentially the “Best of” the genre in the most direct way. Rather than having giant sprawling battlefields, Fate’s are segmented into areas you transition between, meaning you’ll never spend a lot of time just wandering to your next objective. The objective in the game are also tight keeping you on your feet going from battlefield to battlefield rather than standing in the middle of nowhere, wasting trash mobs, it does a sterling job of keeping the tension and flow of warfare.
The graphical style, speed, and movement of the game are in a league of their own, I have never played a game in this style that felt so free flow and fast, I was literally flying across the battlefields, on my way to the next fight ready to bust out a 200 hit combo with ease. The controls are incredibly refined here and air dashing into combos is a must. My only issue with the gameplay is there seem to be a lack of feedback when you hit, this is something that plagues the genre and is rampant in this game, it isn’t a dealbreaker by any stretch but is just one of the little things that help with immersion, especially considering the repetitive nature of the game.
The game features a giant campaign along with the ability to do free missions which are standard for the genre, there are many, many collectibles, equips for the characters and different costumes to really bulk up your play time. Fate/Extella Link also included local multiplayer but unfortunately, they still haven’t managed to add online multiplayer, this isn’t so much an issue on a console like the Nintendo Switch where local is king.
I didn’t enjoy Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star as much as I really wanted to, Fate/Extella Link felt, looked and played much better in my honest opinion and was an utter joy to play through. The story still didn’t fully engage me but it wasn’t quite as full on as the original but the writing and characters were quite well done, either way, the action more than makes up for any downtime the game has.
Do I recommend Fate/Extella Link? Yes, 100% if you are a fan of the series and/or genre, obviously if you like both then it’s a double winner for you. While it’s not the most impressive title around and the gameplay is marmite, there is a lot to like with this game and it’s one that sees frequent rotation on my Nintendo Switch.