Monday, 08 April 2019 05:04


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Edited by: Tiffany Lillie

Fate/EXTELLA LINK is a follow-up to Fate/EXTELLA, both heavy in hack-and-slash mechanics and immersed in some of the lore surrounding the series from which they take their name. This release features several new playable characters and a few changes compared to its prequel. There are plenty of stages on which to fight, characters to meet, and stories to enjoy. Both hack-and-slash fans and Fate fans can’t go wrong with this title.


Often, it’s beneficial to have familiarity with the series a game draws from, but even newcomers to the Fate series may enjoy playing this release; part of what helps is that some characters are blatant references to historical figures, such as Nero or Elizabeth Bathory (and I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of memes regarding Astolfo circulating around last year). Even without much familiarity with the lore or this game’s prequel, you may enjoy this for its hack-and-slash combat. Fate/EXTELLA LINK reminded me of what I love about the genre.


As you progress, you unlock more characters to play. As a character might be available in one stage but not in another, you might feel the compulsion to hop around in the hopes you come across your favorites (although, after a certain milestone, you unlock a story mode feature called Free Select which eases this issue) or to witness the branching lines unfold. Each new character that joins your arsenal starts at level one.


You may spend QP, or Quantum Pieces (the currency within the game), to level up a character as much as you’d like, but you cannot use this method to make a character’s level exceed that of your currently-highest-leveled Servant. Alternatively, you can just take the player into a fight, although they’ll be underleveled. This might seem to be an issue, but not only do you have three revives per stage (or one if you wish to have all of your gauges for certain special and quite powerful attacks filled following your revival), but you also have gear — some of which increases in level as you progress and clear stages.

With a good build equipped, playing through a level eleven stage on Hard difficulty with a new character is definitely possible, as well as completing an Extra Battle stage with a new character — neither of which are part of the storyline, but they're still worth completing. If you do fail a mission, such as by running out of revives, you keep any XP you acquired, so not all is lost. Later stages increase in difficulty by having half of the mini-map’s layout invisible from a jammer or introducing enemies that have elemental attacks. Other features (including gear) you might expect to encounter later on are introduced quite early, which can be overwhelming because there are different types of equipment, gauges on the battlefield, as well as types of special attacks. Fortunately, Fate/EXTELLA LINK has a handy tutorials guide for quick reference.


Each Servant has his/her own Active and Install Skills you may equip, with the former being a set of special attacks that are unique to each Servant and dependent partly on his/her Class. These Active Skills you unlock more of as you level the character. Some skills increase in strength at particular levels.

Install Skills you find during a stage. These vary in type (attack, defense, and support) and rank. When you begin, the main Install Skills you find are of the base — or unmarked — rank, and as you progress, you’re more likely to find ones of a higher rank. The highest, epsilon, you can obtain through Install Skill Synthesis, a feature unlocked much later into the storyline. Duplicates are automatically fused with ones you have and strengthen them. Getting ten of the same skill and rank maxes it out. A base level epsilon Install Skill yields more benefit than an alpha that’s been fused eight times.


You may raise your bond with your Servants by completing side missions they offer. This unlocks additional conversations with them and increases how beneficial they are as a support Servant on the battlefield. You only have two slots for your support Servants, so choose the two with which you have the highest bonds. You may replay the friendship-related conversations in the gallery, which is also the place you may review specifics regarding each unlocked Servant, which Mystic Codes and Install Skills you’ve unlocked, and more.

At certain Bond Levels, you might unlock an additional costume for that Servant, or the Servant might give you an Install Skill. In the prequel, choosing the right dialogue options while conversing with a Servant also yielded an increase in your Bond Level. The previous installment had a more streamlined and visually-pleasing view of your gauges while in a stage, while it is a more compact results screen in this release. Now, your results (such as how well you cleared the stage and what you obtained) are shown on just one screen after you clear a stage. It was easier to see what you acquired from a stage in the prequel.


An EX rating is what you should aim for on each stage, and accomplishing this isn’t too difficult. Just avoid taking too much damage and control nearly every sector (a stage often has several of these) by defeating enemy Aggressors in each. For completing a stage with an EX rating, you’re rewarded with a Mystic Code+ recipe. You can only equip one, but they sometimes come with Install Skills built in and provide useful utilities (code casts), such as healing your Servant or increasing attack power for a short time. You can use each code cast a limited number of times for each stage; a Mystic Code+ typically has more uses for each code cast compared to its base counterpart.


There’s an online option, where you team up with three other players and face off in a 4v4. The only problems I encountered online were occasional frames dropping (which I encountered somewhat frequently in particular offline stages later into the game) and, once, a network error at the end of the match. Stats, including kill count and territory points, are recorded, but assists and damage dealt aren’t — which is information that would help you determine how much you're helping your team. Your Servants online don’t have a level associated with them, so you won’t have to worry about going up against a team of higher-leveled players, although they might be more coordinated and have a deadlier build. You may equip Mystic Codes, Install Skills, and Active Skills. These won’t consist of ones you have, necessarily; the Mystic Codes and Install Skills are all the same rank and level, and when I tried multiplayer the first time, I had Install Skills that were maxed out, which I didn’t have in the offline modes at the time.

The combat online is drastically different from the offline modes. There’s a slight learning curve, particularly since the enemy team may kill you in just a few moments. Then you must wait to respawn and travel back to where the bulk of the action is occurring. The enemy team can see your location, even when traveling to another sector, so be cautious of multiple enemies waiting for you at an intersection. There’s no training section where you can try out a build before heading into an online match, but you may save custom presets for your Active and Install Skills — which is something you’re unable to do in the offline modes. It would be a nice quality-of-life improvement if this was implemented for Install Skill builds, since if you switch to a newly-obtained character in an offline mode, you have to set his/her Install Skills from scratch.


The Verdict: Excellent

Fate/EXTELLA LINK is a hack and slash that might remind you what you love so much about the genre. Plus, it has a rich cast of characters (some of which you might love already) and some funny dialogue. There were a couple of minor problems, such as dropped frames, but this didn’t deter much from my enjoyment overall. There’s plenty to enjoy here for Fate and hack-and-slash fans alike.

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Chris Hubbard

A fan of RPGs above other genres, Chris has been playing video games for as long as he can remember. Some of the games that had the most influence on his gaming preferences have been the Final Fantasy and the Diablo series. More recently, most of Chris' gaming time has been going toward Gems of War and Clicker Heroes (give it a try, it can be addicting), along with open-world RPGs such as Skyrim and ESO. He's also dabbled with RPG Maker software, and it is a goal of his to someday create an RPG.