Game Title: Fate/Extella Link
Company: Marvelous, XSEED Games
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Availability: Digital Download
Download: 1.4 GB
PSTV Support: Yes
Musou and Warriors games have long since gone into the trend of crossing over franchises with them, making some of my favorite games of the genre. Hyrule Warriors, Berserk, and a certain Fate/Stay Night game are the most fun I’ve had running around 3D arenas and slashing through hundreds of enemies at once.
The ever-growing Fate franchise continues forward with yet another Warriors game that is set as a direct sequel to Fate/Extella, which I previously covered on both the PS Vita and the Nintendo Switch. Picking up where it left off, here is my review of Fate/Extella Link for the PS Vita and PlayStation TV!
*Do note that this game does take place after Fate/Extella, but I will word the story in a way that does not spoil the end-game for Extella*
Not long after the end of Fate/Extella, The Master is wandering Seraph when he is attacked by Attack Programs. However, when he tries to summon his servants, Nero and Tammamo, a new Saber-class appears, bringing news of a disappearance and a new war headed their way.
Most of what I have to say about the story is similar to the original Extella. The story is interesting on its own, particular when some of the newer characters like Astolfo get involved. But at the same time, whenever Nero or Tammamo chime in, it’s riddled with the same Repetitive ‘dating sim’ talk that derails things from serious conversations. It doesn’t ruin the game, but it does kind of take away from the kind of mood each scene is trying to set.
In terms of gameplay, this is a Musou/Warriors Hack n Slash Action game with RPG elements thrown into the mix. Across its various stages, you’ll be trekking through 3D arenas and fighting your way through hordes of enemies and boss units.
First of all, this is not an “updated” version of Extella. It is a sequel and, as such, the base content of Extella is not included in this game. If you want to trek through The Umbral Star’s storyline, you’ll have to grab Fate/Extella and then this game.
This does have more content, from stages to many new characters to choose from. These new characters range from Alfosto from Fate/Apocrypha to Lancelot from Fate/Zero. There are 11 new Servants to play as along with the 16 originals, giving you a lot more options with how you play, both in Story and Extra modes.
When it comes to Game Modes, you’ve got just a few options. You have Story Mode, Extra Battle, Gallery and Options. As such, you don’t have a lot when it comes to playing the game. Story Mode, which lets you go through the Story Campaign, and Extra Battle for set battles that are unlocked as you play through the Story.
Story Mode is a singular mode this time around. Instead of doing several different story scenarios, you go on one set of branching paths, leading up to 3 different endings, the last/True of which is only accessible once you clear the first two. This also means you can play as anyone you want as you collect them through those story scenarios, allowing you to opt to play as side characters for a lot of the game, instead of just the “main” characters.
This has also changed a bit as there is now a “Hub” where you can walk around with your servants instead of it just being a menu. Here you can customize your characters, talk with your servants, and visit their rooms. In all honesty, there’s not -that- many more features here, but having a 3D hub to wander around in and the ability to converse and advance bonds with all characters instead of just a few is a nice touch.
Getting into combat is where the real improvements start to shine. You still have your basic gameplay style of taking over areas and hunting down targets and bosses from other Warriors games. But what you have in your arsenal is a bit enhanced. You can still do Noble Phantasms, but they’re easier to get. You now can attack enemies to build a gauge and go into “LInk Mode”, which lets you do a flashy cinematic move and fills up your Noble Phantasm gauge, letting you fill it without scavenging the stages for special items like you had to in the first game.
You also have more attacks you can do. In typical Musou fashion, you have light and heavy attacks and can combine them for different combos. But you now have skills you take into battle that can be used at any time. These are the bigger game-changer. They are very flashy and powerful and your character learns more skills as they level up.
These skills will also put an enemy into “Launch” status, where the other new attack comes in, which is a Group Attack. If you’re near allies and launch an enemy, you can mash the Square button to have all of you in the air and pummel them for huge amounts of damage. Skills can also initiate “Clashes”, where you and your opponent are attacking at the same time and you mash Square to try to win the struggle and do high damage to them.
Objectives, however, aren’t really that different. Because of that, the game still does feel a little repetitive as you keep playing. You do have more you can do, but you’re still mostly doing the same stuff in each mission. Go kill this, go escort him, go kill this enemy, kill the boss, rinse, repeat. I personally find the character roster to help give you variety as all characters fight differently.
Something else helps this, but hurts the overall experience, and that is Content and Length. Fate/Extella was a nice time-sink with a ton of story. Fate/Extella Link is not. FInishing the initial Ending route only took me around 4-5 hours and by the time, I’d done the 2nd and 3rd routes and got the True Ending, I was around 8-9 hours.
In comparison, it took me around 20 hours to beat the original Extella, so this game is really lacking in Story Content. Granted, you can fill up some more time with the Extra Missions, but only some of those have story content with them, so they feel more like Free Play mode than actual Campaign Stuff.
Controlling this game isn’t too touch, though there are some touch controls here. When you want to activate Link Mode or Lock onto an enemy, you have to tap the bottom left or right corners of the Vita’s touch screen. On the PlayStation TV, these are done with the L2 and R2 buttons.
Moving around is done with the Left Analog Stick and moving the camera is done with the Right Analog Stick. The D-Pad is used for commands/items during combat or navigating menus. The L and R triggers are used for holding down for using skills or your Noble Phantasm.
Then we have the face buttons. X is used for jumping and Circle for dashing. Square is used for light attacks and Triangle for heavy attacks. All in all, not too hard to wrap your head around.
Here’s where things get a little messy. The graphics were made in a way that you don’t see jagged edges, but at the same time, a lot of the colors look very washed out and the attack animations tend to get distorted pretty often. I applaud them for no jaggies, but the game certainly doesn’t look what I’d call “Great”, especially on the PSTV.
Performance I have similar gripes with. FPS is relatively smooth in the Hub area, but once you start getting into combat, you will notice a lot of slowdown. It certainly isn’t unplayable, but it doesn’t run nearly as well as the Vita version of the original Extella ran.
in conclusion, Fate/Extella Link offers a diverse cast of characters and gameplay that is immensely improved over its predecessor. On the downside, the story is much shorter this time around and has some of the same issues as before and the presentation isn’t nearly as polished as it should be. But if you’re willing to deal with some slowdown in gameplay, this is a fun Musou game for Fate fans of all varieties.
Final Score: 6.5/10