When it comes to video game sequels, sometimes they take the series in a slightly different direction than what the fans were expecting. Some of these franchises have included SEGA’s Toe Jam and Earl, Volition’s Saints Row and Konami’s Metal Gear Solid, which deviated massively from its original roots in the fifth instalment. Originally released back in 2012, Fate/Extra, the predecessor to Fate/Extella: Umbral Star was a role playing game with a focus on turn based combat. This time around, developers Marvelous have decided to take an all new direction into the realm of action based combat.
After being victorious in the Holy Grail War which took place in Fate/Extra, a fighting robot Servant named Nero remains loyal to the protagonist, who is her designated Master and the new ruler of their homeland. This series of events has created a few problems, the first being that the main character has, like over seventy five percent of role playing antagonists, lost their memories. The other major issue is that there appears to several clones of the new ruler, all of which are being manipulated by outside forces into taking the throne for themselves. The story itself is quite entertaining during the cut scenes that harken back to the series roots as a visual novel franchise, but it does require the player to have some previous knowledge of its extensive lore to be fully understood, which can be slightly off putting for newcomers to the series.
In the original Fate/Extra, a triangle styled mechanic was implemented for enemy encounters. It has also been seen in games such as Fire Emblem, as well as in the real life sport Roshambo, better known as Rock-Paper-Scissors. This time around, Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star uses a real time battle system and gameplay structure that is very similar to the one used in Toei’s Warriors series. As you progress the Story Mode of the game, you will unlock Servants that fall into eight separate classes, all of which have different attack styles. Nero, your initial Servant is from the Saber Class, and uses sword based attacks that are mainly suited for close combat situations. The class system is not always clear cut however, as the archer Nameless is also adept at fighting in close combat, as well as utilising crowbars and crossbows that are commonplace for someone of his ability. This was a pleasant surprise, as many games tend to pigeonhole their characters, not allowing them to be used in a different way than the creators intended.