The Game Tutor Grades Fate/Extella The Umbral Star

Fate/Extella is set in the Fate franchise an anime doujin game series that has sat mostly in the visual novel field over the last decade and a bit. Coming into the game with no prior knowledge of the story didn’t seem to matter too much and I quickly felt up to speed and what followed was one of the coolest story-driven games I have played all year.

Originally released on the PS4 & Vita the game has now hit the Switch and PC. I have played both versions and the Switch version is the one that I am mainly going to be looking at here. The games are largely identical with the PC version albeit a bit prettier.

EXTELLA’s story follows the events of Fate/EXTRA on the PSP in which a massive conflict known as the Holy Grail War was fought inside the digital-only realm of SE.RA.PH. The War saw different groups of ‘Servants’ who are incarnations of historical and mythological figures with human ‘Masters’ controlling them trying to gain control of the Moon Cell, a digital lunar lifeform that can grant its bearer any wish of their choosing.

You really need to stick with this bit of the game as getting your head around it to start with is hard but trust me it is well worth it. The game kicks off with the player character (a human who controls servants) alongside Nero Claudius (The Roman emperor digitally reborn in female form) being under attack and threatened to lose control of their kingdom by an incoming force. Where the genius of the game really comes in though is the way the story is told. Without giving too much away let’s say that the game is fairly short clocking in at around 4 to 5 hours but must be played a number of times with a different player character each time with the events changing and being told from a different character’s perspective. The game plays with the idea of dimensions and realities as well as time travel but tells the story in such a fantastic way I was totally gripped from start to finish even though I had no previous knowledge of the fate series.
Gameplay wise the game is essentially a Dynasty Warriors type game with hordes of enemies on a maze-like grid with a number of objectives to complete and stronger characters to kill. The game is fun and the characters are different enough to keep you going but the story is something that is essential to the game.

There are a number of different special attacks that are gained in a variety of ways. Some attacks you charge by killing enemies and other you gain by collecting items around the map. Equally, as you progress through the game and unlock levels you gain access to new moves as well as unlocking points on a very customisable skill tree.
Gameplay is quick and fast and while not perfect great fun and well worth playing if you have any interest in similar titles like dynasty warriors or Hyrule Warriors.

Visually the game is simplistic but works never once giving slow down as the crap tonne of enemies fly around on the screen. Obviously, the PC version is the most impressive but the Nintendo Switch version really holds its own and the game is a joy to play on the small screen.
There are a few issues, however. The game doesn’t tell you a lot as you go through and a lot of things need to be worked out for yourself. Equally the range of enemies in the game is almost nonexistent with the same basic grunts from the first level of the first campaign being the same as the last level of the last campaign.
There is no multiplayer here but Fate/Extella the Umbral star has so much extra content even after you finish the main story that it is likely not a problem for most.

Fate/Extella is a great switch release that is well worth adding to you collecting and I look forward to more Japanese style games in the future.