I am a huge fan of the Fate franchise. I happened across the Fate/stay night: Unlimited Blade Works series one day skimming Netflix and I fell in love. My girlfriend and I could not get enough of this series and so we got even more excited when Fate/Zero arrived on Netflix. This series further built the foundations that I adored in Unlimited Blade Works. Last year I then got to watch Fate/Apocrypha my third jaunt in this realm. Now after all these series I’ve finally got my hands on a Fate game. This is Fate/Extella Link and it was a blast.
For those who don’t know the Fate franchise is about an event that happens around the world across time and space. It involves a tournament between mages who are vying for the grand prize – the Holy Grail. The mage who wins this “Holy Grail War” gets one wish and it can be anything. To help the mages in this war are their servants. These beings are figures based on legend, on myths as well as from history. These beings wield incredible power and are broken down into 7-8 classes:
- Ruler – A special type of servant that usually has control over other servants due to their unique attribute to have command spells
- Lancer – Servants placed within this class are very agile and skilled with long-range melee weapons, such as spears, lances, etc
- Saber – Servants placed within this class are agile and powerful melee warriors armed with swords.
- Archer – Servants placed within this class are usually proficient with projectiles and can survive longer without a Master nearby
- Caster – These servants usually deal in magic an can have devastating spells at their fingertips.
- Assassin – Servants who deal death from the shadows they’re physically quite weak but make up for it in other avenues.
- Berserker – Servants placed within this class are always heroes who have gone berserk in their lifetime.
- Rider – Servants placed within this class place emphasis upon speed and powerful Noble Phantasms, which often include their mounts.
From a world-building point of view, this game is stunning. Learning about the many types of servants and what they can do is brilliant. You will fall into rabbit hole after rabbit hole while learning about these characters. For example two of the Lancers in Fate/Extella Link are Cú Chulainn and Scáthach two of the most legendary warriors in Irish history. Both are treated with great respect and have some incredible moves all centred around their legend. As well as the Irish contingent many nationalities are represented – the English have Artoria (King Arthur), the French have Charlamagne, the Chinese have Lu Bu, and then there is Gilgamesh the Mesopotamian king.
These are just brief glimpse of the roster of playable characters as you have to try and stave off the invasion of another servant who is somehow able to brainwash and recruit other servants for his own supposedly nefarious needs.
Living like a legend
The gameplay of Fate/Extella Link is simple especially for those who are fans of the Dynasty Warriors franchise. You choose a servant you customise the abilities of said servant and then you head out onto the battlefield to smite your foe. You can select two servants to be support troops and as you conquer each mission you build up the bond level between you and your favourite servants. There are two key factors in increasing your bond level. The first is simply to play with them as you get through the 27 missions available to you in the main story. The secondary option is to complete side missions within the missions. You may have to deal out 200+ combo’s to increase a bond level or kill 4,000 enemies. These side missions help when it comes to any completionists out there because there are close to 30 playable characters and the max bond level is 30 as well.
The combat is highly addictive and brought me back to my childhood when I was playing the Dynasty Warriors franchise with my childhood friend. We’d be two versus two thousand and we felt like legends and as you play as these legendary figures cutting down 100’s of enemies with one swing of your blade you embody these mythic figures are.
This does bring me to the greatest fault in Fate/Extella Link. There is no local co-op. Why god why do you not include a local co-op!? It was an epic scale hole that needs to be filled. The game does have an online component but it’s not the same as having someone beside you. The load times between matches are fairly long and the mode doesn’t seem as well designed as the other modes. In my opinion, it’s easily the weakest element of Fate/Extella Link.
Your stories will be told for years to come
Fate/Extella Link can be finished fairly quickly, somewhere between 6-8 hours if you push yourself but if you want to explore every character and explore the multiple endings then your play time will be closer to 25 hours. This is then further compounded by the Extra Missions which are missions that further expand on the other servants available to you. This could easily put the play time up to the 40-hour mark which really makes it worth the price of admission (less than €50.00).
The graphics of Fate/Extella Link are nothing special easily being high-end PS3 which is a shame as I wish they tried and push it further. This is ultimately a minor quibble as I still had a lot of fun
Walking away a hero
Fate/Extella Link was a surprisingly good time. I enjoyed getting to dive even further into this world I’ve loved watching over the last couple of years. A few technical hiccups and a glaring lack of couch co-op didn’t stop me from thoroughly enjoying this adventure and I look forward to the next.