on April 3, 2013 by Kitsumeda
Fate/Extra is a RPG for the PSP made by Type-Moon and Image Epoch. The game is based on the popular visual novel Fate/Stay Night. Fate/Extra doesn’t exactly try to make an RPG adaptation of Fate/Stay Night but rather a spin off. It has similar concepts and characters including those from other type moon works.
The story starts innocently enough. You are a high school student living out your everyday life, but you soon start to realize that not everything is as it seems. Not wanting to give away too much of the plot, the game takes a 180 degree turn and you get caught up in a tournament for the holy grail against other students, all while having no knowledge about your past. The story never becomes stale, because interacting with other characters is always interesting. All the main characters are fun to talk too and each one of them has their own specific characteristics.
Fate/Extra borrows heavily form Atlus’s popular Persona series specifically Persona 3 and Persona 4. During the day you explore the school and talk to the other contestants of the holy war. Contestants only battle each other at the end of the week in a battle to the death, so you must try and collect as much information about your opponent before the final battle against your opponent. Not collecting info about your opponent is a death wish, because even if you find everything you can the boss battles are no pushover. Considering this is a tournament where contestants fight to the death, every week half of the students will disappear, making the once populated hallways empty. One day you might be talking to a person in the hallway and the next he might disappear forever which gives you the feeling that death is always near.
The dungeons are bland and have a very simple visual design. Fortunately there will often be special missions or obstacles that change the pace of this segment. In some events you will have to kill more enemies than your opponent or gather all the treasure on the map, on others you will be poisoned and have to constantly watch your HP as you explore the dungeon. These missions also tend to give you more information regarding your opponent. But even this change of pace doesn’t break up the monotony of the dungeon too much. The player walks in the same digital corridors and rarely comes upon different looking sections or hidden passages. The backgrounds look slightly differently depending on the dungeon but that’s it. The collectible items and even enemies are reused from one dungeon to the next which makes the repetitive dungeon sections even worse.
Battles in reality are a rock paper scissor game. You choose the order of your servant’s action for the next 6 turns and then see them played out. Once your servant is killed it’s game over. The more times you fight a specific enemy the higher your chance is to see what their moves will be during some of those 6 turns. Additionally you can cast magic or use one item during those 6 turns. Because of the random nature of battles you will often die accidently and then it’s back to the loading screen and since you can’t save during your dungeon exploration every step is potentially lethal. You can equip two pieces of armor, but the equipment system is a lot simpler than that found in other RPGs. Armor can give you a specific skill but the only stat they influence is your max MP.
The game has branching paths and multiple endings and also includes dead ends. You will have to pay extra attention to the choices you make or you could end up having to load your last save point made over and hour ago, because you can’t save while in a dungeon. At the beginning you will get to pick from three servants. Depending on your pick the dialogs throughout the game playout differently. During the dungeon your servant will make comments when you find an item, level up or defeat enemies. This is nice touch because it keeps the player emotionally tied to his servant even when he is just exploring the dungeon.
The graphics are a mixed bag. Some things look fabulous while others are ugly. The school looks ok, but it’s a shame that you can’t enter any of the classes except your own. Even the better looking dungeons are bland considering you just keep walking in the same hallways throughout the whole game. Enemies have little variety and aren’t imaginative at all, even worse their design doesn’t seem to fit this game at all. On the other hand the characters on campus can look really good. Characters that are important to the plot look really impressive while those that aren’t look generic. Characters from other Type-Moon games make their appearance such as Aoko Aozaki, Touko Aozaki, Arcueid Brunestud, Ryogo Shiki and many others. Animations are nicely done and the battles are entertaining to watch. Unfortunately the entire game is littered with dithering problems which doesn’t help the presentation at all.
Despite all its flaws I had a great time with this game. It has some elements I loved from the Persona series. The characters are genuinely interesting. Additionally the branching paths and selection of different servants at the beginning of the game add a good dose of replay value. With that said this game definitely isn’t for everyone. It has a few major flaws that the average gamer couldn’t simply overlook. But if you have the patience and want to experience different kind of RPG or are just a fan of type moon games in general definitely have a look at this one.
Fate/Extra is available for the PSP and can also be found on PSN for the PlayStation Vita. The sequel and companion game Fate/Extra CCC was released in Japan last week, you can read more about it in our article here.