Hands-On With Fate/Extella: Link at E3 2018
At this year’s E3, Marvelous and Xseed game displayed a fascinating array of niche games, from Gal metal to Freedom Planet. Among them was the highly anticipated Fate/Extella: Link.
Last year, Marvelous Games studios & XSEED Games released an astounding title that was a significant departure from their previous titles, which wound up being one of 2017’s best games, Fate/Extella. Based off of the extremely popular manga and anime series by Datto Nishiwaki, Fate/Extella was a spinoff of the main franchise, where humanity discovers a massive computer system on the moon, left by a mysterious race. This system, which can be described as similar to Tron, has been studying Earth and its citizens for centuries. Inside there are digital organisms, based off of historical figures, such as Roman Emperor Nero Claudius and legendary knight King Arthur.
These beings, known as Servants, serve their masters in a massive war, known as The Holy Grail War, a war in which the Victor can be granted any wish to their hearts desire. As the war wages inside, a deadly threat from the edges of space and time emerges, threatening to obliterate the Earth. As a master, you will fight against the enemies of this computer system for the fate of the digital world and the real world. Fate/Extella featured great cinematic action that would feel right at home with the anime series, along with a long but incredibly epic story involving the themes of battle, love, time-travel, and the threads that hold the universe together.
Fate/Extella: Link picks up from the previous game and introduces a significantly progressed experience, including new combat mechanics and a host of new characters. The game plays out as a “mouso” game, which is Japanese for action. For those familiar with Koei Tecmo’s Dynasty Warriors games, they will be familiar with the setup of the game. For the demo, I chose one of the newest servants, Robin Hood.
From the very start, I was thrust into the action. Hundreds of enemies, including the larger types, known as aggressors, charged at me. The key to surviving is to keep moving and keep fighting. In the game, players can tap into three attacks: the moon drive, the Extella maneuver, and the trademark special attack, the Noble Phantasm. As I fought enemy after enemy, I was able to build enough energy for the moon drive, which deployed dozens of swords and arrows upon the enemy. One upgrade for the last game was the ability to hit a button, instead of it being a combo.
One of the first bosses was the femme-fatale, Medusa, who uses metal chains and dizzying maneuvers to attack. I alternated between basic attacks and moon drives, eventually building to the Extella maneuver. In this form, Robin hoods attacks are immensely powerful. He dons more powerful weapons and armor. With this, I was able to swipe across the battlefield, vaporizing large swaths of enemies, including Medusa. Another enemy servant appeared, Sir Francis Drake, based on the explorer and adventurer of the same name. A woman, she wielded automatic weapons and a one-handed sword. At first, she managed to get the better of me with her guns, firing multiple shots in quick succession. However, I was able to get in close and discover new gameplay mechanics.
Players can block attacks, but their defense can be shattered. After I destroyed her block, the game slowed down and I was able to input a long combo of attacks to deal massive damage. However, Sir Francis was relentless. Suddenly, as the two of us clashed, we were in a dueling mini-game of sorts. Whoever inputted their combos first won the duel and dealt massive damage. I encountered this several times and felt this was a nice change from the hack-and-slash action of the first game. Eventually, Sir Francis was defeated, and I proceeded into the next sector.
I eventually came face to face with the boss of the battlefield, Karna, a Lancer-class servant who is immensely unpredictable. Having fought well enough, I now had the energy to unless the most powerful attack in the game, the Noble Phantasm. In the lore of Fate, each servant has a complete unique Noble Phantasm. These are stage clearing attacks that tap into supernatural powers to obliterate any and all opposition. Robin Hoods’ Noble Phantasm was the ability to taps into the realms of time and wield the swords of heroism to destroy all enemies. In one fell swoop, I was able to eliminate all opposing soldiers and deal severe damage to Karna. Following the attack, a few quick attacks eliminated Karna. With his elimination victory was achieved and the demo was over.
Fate/Extella: Link looks, feels, and plays great, even better than the first game. The game feels ambitious with its roster of characters and newly refined gameplay mechanics. Whether or not you played the first game or are a fan of the anime manga series, Fate/Extella: Link shouldn’t be missed.
Fate/Extella: Link launches in early 2019 for PS4, Switch, PC, and Vita.