Sunday, June 2, 2013

Fate/Extra Mini-Sort-Of-Review

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I finally found enough free time (something I am usually extremely short on) to beat Fate/Extra, after all this time.



And I must say, it has one of the more deep and engaging stories I've ever seen in an RPG. That is the reason to play it, while the gameplay is, well, not bad but average, so okay.
That's not to say the battle system is just your standard turn-based RPG, it's actually incredibly unique, but it isn't really any BETTER in and of itself than your standard turn-based RPG. Whereas Persona, especially Persona 4 (which a lot of people tend to compare this game to, but the comparisons are in reality extremely thin [it's mostly due to the advancing date system, which is used in a totally different way]), did an amazing job of taking the classic turn-based RPG mechanics and evolving them into something truly engaging (although that mostly extends to just the regular battles, the boss fights tend to devolve into the same old affair from turn-based RPGs past), Fate/Extra takes a completely different approach. It isn't really trying to revolutionize RPGs, but it's trying to make a battle system that reflects and fits the story it is a part of, and in that it definitely succeeds. The battle system feels like an extension of everything you're doing outside of the battles, like what you do in the story actually matters once a battle starts. So, while the system is average on its own, it's pretty good when taken as a whole together with the game it is a part of, it just fits. It's a system where you can never brute force your way through but have to read your opponent and think how to counter them. After all, with no grinding, your Servant will consistently be about even in power to one regular enemy at whatever part of the game you're in, and the enemy Servants/bosses are crazy stronger. You have to win entirely by studying your opponent, predicting his moves, and forming a plan to lock them down and put the entire flow in your favor. And the story reflects that, with tons of the story events mainly being about investigating and studying your opponents.

Now, the story, as I said, is where everything is at. It's incredibly deep, even for a modern jRPG. It's very philosophical and is heavy in things from existentialism and life and death all the way to socio-political reform and the philosophical side of wars in general. Now, there are two routes, and I've technically only done one of them, but the routes don't make a HUGE difference to the story, in fact you end up at the same ending either way. All it changes in the end is which character between Rin and Rani is alive and with you during the ending, which makes close to no difference to the ending as a whole. Now, CCC apparently remedies that with actual multiple endings, but hey, that isn't here. Regardless, the story sucks you in and really makes you believe the main character's struggles and emotions, as expected of a story written by Nasu himself.

I give the story a 9.8/10, the battle gameplay (taking into account its place in the story) a 7/10, the out-of-battle gameplay an 8.9/10, the visuals an 8/10 (although it pushes the PSP to its limits, and you have to learn to look past the foreground and into the background to really experience them fully, something a lot of modern gamers are unable to do), and overall an 8.4/10.

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