By Benny Carrillo / June 26th, 2018
At E3 2016, I played a little demo called Fate/EXTELLA: The Umbral Star and said it could be a challenger for the Dynasty Warriors crown. While I didn’t review the game, I personally found it to be an enjoyable title with quite an interesting story. I also found the game to be really difficult at times. In particular, with how it required you to stay on top of your objectives lest you end up failing one and putting yourself in an almost unwinnable situation. Speed was the name of the game and Fate/Extella was one of the smoothest and fastest hack-and-slashes I’d ever played. And now in 2018, we have the sequel coming: Fate/EXTELLA Link.
Fate/EXTELLA Link continues on from The Umbral Star, so the Master, Nero, and Tamamo of course return. Which leads us to one of the first changes. The Master is actually a unit on the field this time. Which means you need to protect them. If the Master falls, then the fight is over. Of course, Nero isn’t about to let that happen (nor is she going to let Tamamo hog the spotlight) so let’s delve into a few other new changes. Starting with the Command Seals and teleportation.
As I mention, protecting the master is paramount, so what do you do if the master is in trouble and you’re several sectors away? Why you teleport of course. Like in The Umbral Star you have three command seals you can use each fight. I normally used these to revive your character if they fell in battle. However, in Link, you can use these to teleport to almost any sector on the map. The key word there being almost.
In order to teleport to a sector, there must be a clear path there. So, if you’re trying to get to something behind a gate or a sector that’s sealed off, that won’t be possible. Likewise, I suspect if you’re caught in a sector trap that seals you in, you won’t be able to flee using this method. Still, this is handy for when you’re under the gun and need to frantically run halfway across the battlefield. Another neat feature? You no longer need to collect the Phantasm Circuits to perform your Noble Phantasm.
The Noble Phantasm is your character’s strongest attack. In The Umbral Star, you had to collect three Phantasm Circuits in order to perform this. Making it basically something you saved for stage bosses. Instead, in Link, this was turned into a meter that fills up as you KO enemies. This means you can potentially get two or three of these off each map. Especially, since the Phantasm Circuits can still be found on the map. In Link, they’ll just fill your gauge quite a bit. Oh, and one more awesome change. XSEED Games has added subtitles to the cutscene that plays when activating a Nobel Phantasm. Finally, let’s finish off combat by talking about skills.
In The Umbral Star skills were important but were more focused towards support. These could provide healing, status buffs, protection from sector traps, etc. In Link, skills have gotten a bit of an overhaul. This time some of them are attack based. This is crucial because it allows you to rather quickly deal damage against tough enemies. Another big change here is that nearby characters can join in during a skill if you press the appropriate button prompt. All of this makes Fate/Extella Link feel even faster and more frantic that The Umbral Star, which is quite impressive.
For me, this game is a must buy. I loved The Umbral Star and from what I saw at E3 this looks to be even better. I’d go as far as to say this was the best demo at XSEED’s booth and my favorite thing at the show. If you’re a fan of hack-and-slash titles, then I strongly recommend picking this up. If you’re just a Fate fan, then I do think this is worth a look. However, I’d recommend picking up The Umbral Star first and seeing how this fantastic branch of the Fate franchise starts.
Fate/EXTELLA Link will be coming to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita this Winter.
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