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Fate/Extra Review

Fate/Extra Review

While the Fate series originally started out as an H-game, it became much more well known once the all-ages version came out back on the PS2 and was followed by a number of other visual novels, fighting games and anime. Fate/Extra, the first title in the series handled and localized by publisher Aksys Games, is an alternate universe RPG that lets those who aren't familiar with the series' mythos not feel left out while letting long-time fans who know the series' rich history pick up on a number of throwbacks and nostalgic moments. Of course, this doesn't automatically mean the game has to be great, so the question remains: Is Fate/Extra worth your time? For most gamers, the decision may not be so forthcoming.

Fate/Extra, unlike most current PSP Japanese-style RPGs, is delivered primarily from a visual novel standpoint. For those who don't know about this Japanese-centric style of storytelling, it delivers the story in a text-based format usually accompanied by static backdrops. Fate/Extra does have some 3D-based story sequences, usually when the characters interact with one another, but the split is usually 60/40 between the former and the latter.

The game initially puts the player in the body of a nondescript NPC in a school going through the motions, slowly recognizing that his world is unravelling as he encounters seemingly omnipotent strangers and begins to recognize that he can't remember much of all about his past or who he is. After a surprising event that leads to the player choosing between another amnesiac male or female character, they find out that the only way out of this virtual world is to defeat all of the other players taking part in a tournament where the defeated die both in the virtual and the real world. This isn't the most original idea by far, but it works. All in all it's enough to keep you going but it won't be something you will remember detail-for-detail after finishing the game.

Another interesting detail about the story in Fate/Extra is that it turns the amnesiac and gender-based character tropes on their head. Unlike most games which have the key NPCs push the idea that you should regain your memories as soon as possible, Fate/Extra delves into the issue by presenting both sides of the equation as it points out that there's a number of benefits and issues regarding the issue of lost memories in terms of the tournament.

Now we'll delve into the real meat of Fate/Extra, the gameplay. Outside of the dungeons the game has a pretty similar setup to the later PlayStation 2 titles. Players will be able to move around the various environments in a third-person perspective talking to various NPCs, shopping for items and exploring the school that makes up the game's world. Each round takes place in the span of a week in which the player must determine the true name and background of their opponent through clues and events that take place if you are at the right place and the right time. Outside of learning more about famous figures from history, this also lets you see more of their attack patterns. This style hearkens back to the visual novel style gameplay as it usually devolves down into ending up at the correct place, which is usually hinted towards at the beginning of each day. The school setting also gives you the ability to talk with your own servant in an effort to level up your ranking with them if you pick the correct choices when presented.

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