Fate Extella The Umbral Star (developed by Marvelous Inc.) is what you get when you take the Dynasty Warriors gameplay formula and slap on the dialogue from a romance visual novel. Fortunately the gameplay shines through more than the dialogue does (although the latter can be quite painful at times), and fans of the Dynasty Warriors style of games will find a lot to enjoy. It doesn’t hold up as well as some other recent entries into the genre, such as Dragon Quest Heroes and Arslan: The Warriors of Legend, but if you have already gone through those and are looking for something new to bite on this is certainly going to meet your needs.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you have not been following the various Fate media over the years, particularly Fate/Extra on the PlayStation Portable in 2010, you probably should just assume that the story will make no sense. I enjoyed the game a lot more once I realized the plot was largely incomprehensible without a Fate wiki open. That said, if you have been following the various Fate stories then by all means jump in and enjoy the ride.
From a technical standpoint Fate Extella The Umbral Star is a solid, but unexceptional game. The graphics would look dated even on the PlayStation 3, let alone the PlayStation 4, but in the area that truly counts — frame rate — it stays rocksteady. That is fortunate because enemy designs, level textures, and special effects all seem to have been sacrificed in the name of frame rate and smoothness. On the flip side Fate Extella The Umbral Star is extremely colorful, which helps it standout. The music is likewise unremarkable, but does get the job done. The voices are entirely in Japanese with English subtitles, and they sound exactly as you would expect from an anime in the same genre.
Between missions you get to talk with the various heroes, and pursue a romance storyline with the main hero of whichever story you are following regardless of your character’s gender. These romance segments can induce quite a bit of cringing, but at the same time it is hard to look away. That makes a little more sense once you realize that the original Fate/Stay Night was originally released as an adult-themed visual novel. Just keep in mind you can skip most of the dialogue if you want to, though honestly the train-wreck aspect of it is quite compelling.
Fate Extella The Umbral Star Review Final Thoughts:
Ultimately games like this are going to be made or broken on how well they replicate that one-man-army feeling of the Dynasty Warrior games, and Fate/Extella does that well. I keep referring to Dynasty Warriors since it is the most well known in the genre, but it actually plays much faster than that and is closer to Samurai Warriors in play style. The added speed does help separate it from the crowd. Additionally, between the three story modes, each of the 16 characters having their own side missions, and a free battle arena there is a lot of bang-for-your-buck to this package.
Fate Extella The Umbral Star does the Dynasty Warriors formula well enough that I can recommend it to fans looking for something new to play, but if some of its competitors are still in your backlog then waiting isn’t a terrible idea unless you are a fan of the Fate storylines or looking for something even faster than the normal Warriors fare. For myself, this game will be one that I turn to in the future whenever I just need to maul thousands of bad guys and not feel bad about it.