I’m an enormous Fate fan. Fate/Zero is certainly one of my favorite anime collection, I’ve put extra time than I’m keen to confess into the Fate/Grand Order cell sport, and I personal a staggering quantity of Fate figures. For all my time spent exploring the corners of this multi-media franchise, although, it appears like there hasn’t actually been a very iconic Fate sport for the reason that PSP days. For all of the world-building that the unique visible novel does, all of the lore, spinoffs and facet tales, there is no such thing as a grand journey sport set that permits you to vividly expertise all of that. Fate/Samurai Remnant appears to proper this flawed.
In case you don’t know your Fate/Zero out of your Fate/Apocrypha or your Fate/Extella Hyperlink out of your On a regular basis Immediately’s Menu for Emiya, you don’t have anything to fret about – numerous Fate content material is straightforward to simply dive into standalone, and Fate/Samurai Remnant isn’t any exception. This sport brings us all the best way again to Edo Japan in 1651 and into the lifetime of Miyamoto Iori, a younger swordsman in Asakusa struggling to make ends meet. When a mysterious pink marking seems on his hand and an much more mysterious younger lady seems in entrance of him to guard him from a violent masked warrior, it’s clear that he’s change into concerned in one thing a lot larger than his normal day-to-day duties.
I like the best way Fate/Samurai Remnant takes the normal story beats of a Fate journey and never solely parallels them on the earth of Fifteenth-century Edo, but in addition betrays your expectations for those who’re a well-known fan. On the earth of Fate, magic fuels all the things, and in lots of of those tales, seven trendy mages can be chosen seemingly at random to compete for the Holy Grail, summoning historic heroes to combat by their facet. In Fate/Samurai Remnant, although, Iori has an oz of magic expertise and has no thought how or why he summoned the younger lady who identifies herself as Saber, and who isn’t all too comfortable to be shackled to him. There are different tidbits too – like the truth that Iori is concerned within the “Waxing Moon Ritual” as a substitute of the “Holy Grail War”, or that the good-looking blonde shopkeeper is simply actually iconic Fate character Gilgamesh.
Stuff like that is enjoyable fanservice, nevertheless it additionally retains you guessing as the broader net of Fate/Samurai Remnants story will get revealed. The sport steers away from the ugly grit of Fate/Zero and the trope-heavy shonen adventures of Fate/Keep Evening, and goes for extra of a mysterious tone that appears like a extra grand and big-budget model of a few of the finest tales from Fate Grand/Order. There’s numerous stable world-building, blurry character morality, and oodles of story beats and character moments that keep devoted to the real-life origins of the traditional heroic spirits concerned right here. Plus, as you progress via the story, seeing Iori, Saber, and well-known swordmaster (who’s a girl now, however don’t fear about it) Miyamoto Musashi bond is so pure and so rewarding.
Given Omega Power and Koei Tecmo’s monitor report, you would possibly count on Fate/Samurai Remnant to be a senseless Warriors-style beat ’em up. That couldn’t be farther from the reality, although. Fate/Samurai Remnant is an action-adventure sport far nearer to one thing like Yakuza Zero or Gravity Rush 2. Positive, there’s somewhat of that Warrior DNA for those who look shut sufficient – you’re typically combating massive teams of enemies directly, and your fundamental assault skills include a row of sunshine assaults with sq. and heavy assaults with triangle – however this isn’t an exhausting base-capturing simulator with a whole bunch of enemies. Koei Tecmo has been shifting on this path via different licensed motion spinoffs like BERSERK and the Band of the Hawk and Persona 5 Strikers, and Fate/Samurai Remnant appears like the last word expression evolving formulation. It’s an entire step up in each regard from these video games.
Fight is deeply layered and rewarding, however I’ll get again to that in a second, as a result of Fate/Samurai Remnant isn’t just a string of fight encounters. There may be a lot downtime between minor battles and large boss fights that you simply spend exploring Edo. Your property base is situated in Asakusa, a small city that may be about half of the standard measurement of one thing like Kamurocho from Yakuza. There are a handful of NPCs and outlets right here, however this isn’t the restrict of the sport world – a single click on takes you to the World Map, the place you’ll progressively unlock dozens of different cities and areas to go to as you progress via the story.
Regardless of lots of them being in the identical common grassy, rural atmosphere of Edo, loads of these areas have a novel visible identification – Asakusa is run-down and quiet, whereas Yoshiwara is lined with vibrant courtesan cubicles and Okachimachi is stuffed with meals stalls and vacationer traps. These environments aren’t rendered in breath-taking sensible element, however due to the attractive lighting and lovely, super-saturated colours of the sport, each location I visited had me stopping and soaking it in earlier than Saber distracted me with a cat to pet or an goal to observe. Characters are simply as superbly rendered because the environments, and the music of the sport so completely matches the period whereas additionally delivering thrilling, pulse-pounding anime motion beats. All of it comes collectively completely throughout boss-battle cutscenes, however even the smaller and quieter character moments really feel so charming due to the sport’s robust aesthetic.
A technique or one other, you’ll finally run into enemies. Whether or not triggered by a quest or one of many hazard zones on the map, you’ll rapidly transition right into a closed-off enviornment wherever you’re standing to battle your foes. At first, it’s simply you and Saber, and the 2 of you could have a fairly restricted toolset – you possibly can spend gems to solid an offensive spell, Saber assaults on her personal, and as you deal harm you refill a meter you need to use to set off her particular assaults. There are consistently new instruments being added to your arsenal, although. You may unlock totally different sword kinds for Iori to swap between mid-battle, you possibly can fill an final assault/Noble Illusion meter for an additional beefy assault, or fill a unique meter that permits you to quickly management Saber and combat as her for just a few moments. As you progress via the story, you’ll even be capable to befriend different Servants and use them in battles.
There are such a lot of choices at your disposal, they usually’re all easy sufficient that, juggling between these quite a few abilities creates a extremely aggressive and fluid fight loop – land a fundamental combo, lead it right into a stance change, lengthen that combo, use a particular ability, construct up meter to swap to Saber, and on and on. I respect the granular methods you possibly can customise your toolkit, too – Iori’s katanas will be custom-made in 4 totally different sections to change his stats and abilities and even their look. Plus, Iori, Saber, and each extra servant have distinctive ability timber to spend money on, and Saber can uncover new particular abilities just by exploring the city and doing facet actions.
If there’s one aspect that I really feel like doesn’t completely circulate with the total package deal, although, it’s Iori’s magic system – you spend gems to solid spells that may be offensive or provide you with buffs, however within the early sport the speed at which you get gems is basically low, and enemies will usually shift into an attack-charging stance that may solely be interrupted by magic or a servant assault. So, till the center portion of the sport if you unlock a magic-wielding Wind stance and extra alternatives to achieve gems, you usually solely get to make use of magic assaults as a uncommon final resort with a view to maintain your gem provide up.
I by no means bought uninterested in Fate/Samurai Remnant – and that’s maybe essentially the most placing factor I took away from the sport. So many Omega Power are constructed round a repetitive, senseless and rewardingly flashy expertise, however whereas Fate/Samurai Remnant sport is rewarding and flashy, it’s not repetitive in any respect. For the primary time ever, it appears like this staff has delivered a constant, narrative-first expertise that consistently retains issues contemporary and interesting. A lot of that’s due to what they’ve realized in designing a decent gameplay expertise, however simply as a lot of it belongs to the Fate universe tying all the things collectively – Iori and Saber are an unforgettable duo, the thriller of the Waxing Moon Ritual is an engrossing samurai fantasy epic, and I so desperately need extra video games like this. Fate/Samurai Remnant is a brand new excessive level for your entire franchise.