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PS4 Game Review
Like a lot of Japanese anime, manga and games, there is a tendency to drop the audience into the middle of highly complicated world building, which can be a bit disorientating. Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star does just this as you find yourself in a world where a spiritron computer, the Moon Cell Automation, based on the moon, is powerful enough to grant its owner any wish.
The previous game covered the Holy Grail War which had three factions battle to win this prize. Here the game pick up with the war won and the computer and the virtual reality world that it contains. With SE.RA.PH masters, through their servants, continue their ceremonial battles... Well that was about as much sense I could cobble together from the dense narrative.
One thing to bear in mind is that the original story started as a light novel, so be prepared for those long cut scenes so beloved by the Japanese. These are always a love or loath event, depending on how much previous time you have invested in this world. If it’s a lot then you get to hang out with some of your favourite characters, if not you might find yourself fast forwarding these.
You get to play the game from the perspective of three of the heroine servants, who do battle with a large number of characters garnered from previous Fate products. The three main servant protagonists are what you will use to play through the main story, but there are a number of side quests which use different characters.
The gameplay itself is manically fast as you have to defeat waves of menial grunts. In common with this type of game you’ll find yourself hacking and slashing through the grunts dumping combos or blocking, waiting for your special bar to fill so you can deliver the final denouement.
Your usual goal is to fight through a number of sectors, picking up keys along the way, gain all the keys and you win the sector, a sector which is then passed to AI characters who are not that great at protecting your progress, so you might find yourself having to double back to reclaim territory already won. It would have been nice to have been able to have more control over the AI companions.
Win through allows you to rank up and as you go along you can unlock different combo attacks which you can fine tune in the Free Battle mode. The game also contains a gallery where you can view various things which have been unlocked through your progress including music, servant, events etc.
Overall there is a lot to like with this game; the environments are crisp and bright, although the quality of the characters can vary. Combat is energetically fast and there is a wealth of content over and above the main game.
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