Fate/Extra Playtest: An Extra For Type-Moon Fans

By Melinda . November 11, 2010 . 1:01pm

Fate/Extra is a game with a single purpose: to appeal to a specific audience with little regard for those outside of its circle of fans. In this case, that audience is, naturally, fans of Type-Moon’s hit visual novel, Fate/Stay Night, and its legacy.


If you aren’t part of this circle, you might be left scratching your head after you’ve had a go with Fate/Extra. On the other hand, if you’re heavily-invested in the universe that Takashi Takeuchi and Kinoko Nasu have constructed, you’ll probably find some amusement here — provided you’re willing to look past Fate/Extra’s flaws.


From the get-go, Fate/Extra can be rather confusing. The game starts out with you in a school that feels like something out of Persona 3’s universe. You get the impression that you’re not really there to actually learn anything, with all sorts of slick characters attending, and a nifty jazz tune to match.


At first, it seems just like another school week…almost boring in a sense, as if the game were just another high school simulation. Then, all of a sudden, you’ll unexpectedly be thrown into a fight you can’t win, with no clue as to why, as events mysteriously unfold, and before you know it, you’re dead.


Thus ends the prologue and the story of Fate/Extra begins.


At this point, the game will ask which of the three Servants — Saber, Caster or Archer — you’d like, and you begin to walk around in the actual protagonist’s shoes. Then, after recounting the last day of the prologue, you enter the holy grail contest, which is the crux of any Fate/ game.


Extra is different though. There’s a definite vibe of the virtual, as you find yourself exploring virtual dungeons, and conducting various bits of virtual hacking in your fights, all of them conducted in a 1v1 format. Information is key in the contest, both from a storyline perspective, as you progress through the days, and in combat.


How does information matter so much in combat? It’s simple — all combat in Fate/Extra revolves around a deceptively simple mechanic. You and your opponent will select either Attack, Defend or Break, and in a classic rock, paper, scissors format, you have to try and come out on top.


Above this, are skills both you and your enemy can use, which can throw all sorts of spanners in the works, and if you’re fighting someone with a Master, even the Master can interfere with a skill or two of their own.


Chain 3 hits in a row, and you’re rewarded with an extra attack. Make three mistakes in a row, and you’ll get yourself hurt even more. This system makes the centrepiece fights — the duels which you must win or survive — a lot more exciting than you might expect, as it makes you think about what your opponent will do.


This is where information comes into play.


You can gain more information about what the opposing Servant may do by understanding who they are, and duelling with them prior to the day of the “big fight.” If on the day of the fight, you answer questions about the Servant and their Master correctly, you can gain even further insight to make trying to read your opponent just that little bit easier.


In a way, due to the fact you spend so much time trying to read your opponent, it’s a bit disappointing that Marvelous and Imageepoch didn’t add an adhoc duelling mode to the game, since it just seems like such a perfect fit.


Unfortunately, there’s also a flip side to the game’s prediction-driven battles, and it can make normal dungeon combat a very precarious task. Without gathering enemy data by fighting them, you’re given minimal information, and due to this, particularly later on, your initial contact with even a regular monster could be your last if you make a series of bad guesses.


Granted, skills can help you through that, as most of them will override the basic Attack-Defend-Break triangle, but there’s MP costs involved in this, and you’ll run out of MP eventually, unless you’re far enough in the game to be able to replenish your Servant’s MP.


If you fight a monster enough times, and can read them perfectly, however, it makes combat something you can sleepwalk through, as you can just counter everything they do.


The storyline will also present you with various choices, where one bad choice will send you towards a bad end. It’s reminiscent of the Fate/Stay Night visual novels, and although they were a nice touch, if you were to make a bad decision, you could find yourself packing to the last save point, with no continues.


It can be frustrating at times, particularly when you might have spent a while in the dungeon before being asked to make a decision. It’s somewhat unforgiving, in a similar manner to combat, and although hardly unexpected, it’s still rather dispiriting to lose a couple of hours of progress for making a bad choice.


Also, strangely, the school itself feels a bit tacked on, and the game is surprisingly linear. In a way, it leaves you wishing that they’d put a little more polish into the final product, since it could have been the start of something a little more. The storyline, too, can prove confusing to people who don’t know the assumed knowledge behind the universe.


Ultimately, Fate/Extra is what most would expect: a game which is geared towards loyal Type-Moon fans, with a simple, yet surprisingly intense combat system, meaning that the centrepiece duels which are a defining point of the Fate/Stay Night universe can be quite nail-biting.


Food for thought:


One of the more amusing points of the game I found was the fact that the game has various relationship possibilities, and none of them care if you’re male or female.


Granted, there’s nothing like what can be found in the visual novels Fate/Extra is based on (it’s CERO C rating means it has to stay within the bounds of being suitable to fifteen-year-olds), but there’s something quite odd about watching a clearly female servant hitting on the female protagonist, and getting jealous of you liking another girl over her.


There’s a bit of equality in this regard, too, and you can actually spot a male character getting quite close with Archer if you so choose and a lot of this particular segment of the game is fully voice acted, as opposed to bits of sound here and there for a lot of the rest of the relationship.


I also couldn’t help but giggle at Caster’s indignation, or her threats to brutally murder you if you go seeing another girl… even though I decided to name my character as myself.

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  • [The Hunter] Doomrider

    I am not a Type-Moon fan (not yet, at least), but it’s Imageepoch, so I’m in.

    The information concept sounds interesting, but as mentioned in the article, it could break the game a bit.

    The linearity does not bother me, as long as it has a good and focused story.

    The interface looks incredibly slick, which is to be expected from Imageepoch (and one of the reasons I like their games), and the 1 vs. 1 takes me back to The Last Ranker. And that can only be good.

  • epy

    Still waiting for this and Last Ranker to be localized… as difficult as that is. I wish there was at least some sort of fan translation.

    By the way… from the look of two of those pics; One, Tsundere Saber…? I’m in! Two, why is Aozaki Aoko in the game?

    • SouskeSagara

      i love your DP inuyasha is the best anime ever XD!

    • Exkaiser

      Why not?

    • Ereek

      I’m so cynical about Capcom that I doubt we’ll see Last Ranker localized. Especially with their “expectations” of even lesser known games being in the hundreds of thousands. For a PSP game that isn’t particularly well known, it’s a bit of a “risk” for them considering their standard expectations. I would love to see it, though. Hopefully they’ll prove me wrong.

    • Omg i want last ranker so muchhh

    • FHOIW

      Aozaki Touko is in da gemu as well. Lol. IN her old design.

  • ChaosPaladinFayt

    this is VERY old news…..

    • Code

      This is a playtest though xpx? How is it news?

      • ChaosPaladinFayt

        like the information when u get when u battle opponents. school settings, more for loyal fans, general information about fate/extra that we pretty much figured out upon release.

        • Pesmerga00

          Good for you?

          • SouskeSagara

            Permerga what do you mean by “good for you?” sounds like you hating on someone because you can’t argue with his comment. You truly need to keep your mouth shut or in this case don’t post anything since you don’t really have anything nice to say

          • Please calm down. There’s no reason to shout at someone to keep their mouth shut. You’re sort of defeating your point of not posting something if you don’t have anything nice to say….

          • MemeticRichard

            And you’re starting to get just as obnoxious as that other guy…

    • This isn’t “news” it’s a playtest. Also, while it may be “old” to you, I’d argue there are plenty of people who don’t know much about Fate/Extra or who haven’t been following it closely since it hasn’t been announced for North America.

      I said this before to another commenter, but the whole “old” thing is kinda silly. Did people shout “old” when 4 Heroes of Light was announced on other sites because we said it was coming months before?

      • ChaosPaladinFayt


        • I think you’ve misunderstood one of the goals of the site, which is to expand the breadth of knowledge and discussion of games that don’t get as much media attention. While you may be a diehard Type Moon fan (I’m guessing – apologies if I’m wrong) there are other readers here (maybe less vocal ones) that aren’t. We’d like to tell that group a little more about Fate/Extra.

      • ChaosPaladinFayt

        You claim that this isn’t “news”, however, u contradict yourself a sentence right after. “I’d argue there are plenty of people who don’t know much about Fate/Extra or who haven’t been following it closely since it hasn’t been announced for North America.”. Sounds like news to me.

        • News would be an announcement, not a hands-on PT.

          • SouskeSagara

            Sorry for the other comment, it’s true that I would be doing the same as the other person but my point of view is that this is actually old news, it is something worth discussing about but he didn’t have to be extremely rude to just hate on another person’s opinion.

          • ChaosPaladinFayt

            News can come in many different forms. That`s like saying news can only be a newspaper, not on tv. It also depends on how the person reading takes it.

          • MemeticRichard

            Dude, you’re getting really frakking obnoxious.

            Drop it, and shut the hell up.

          • Code

            rar, it’s not news it’s a play-test, it says right in the URL >ww<' This is someone’s personal experience with a game, being shared to help inform people of what a game’s content is like, which sometimes would of course include details and information that have been available previously through other sources. But this is a body of work meant to appeal to people who may not have already known said details/information which is why it’s included. Where as news would likely come from PR sources, from within a company, or from alternative sources like magazines and such — plus news isn’t suppose to be opinion based (despite what you might see on TV T_T’) this being a play-test, an opinion based play of the game, means it really doesn’t meet the criteria of “news”.

          • Ereek

            You know, I think MR is far too blunt most of the time, but this is one time I agree with him.

            This isn’t your site to dictate what gets posted. If you’re not interested in it, why click the article in the first place? Why post?

          • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

            Insisting that the evaluation of a game’s content is “news” makes for a moot point. Anything can be “news”. At 3:21 pm, a rainy Monday the 14, 1998 on the planet earth, I said ‘hi’ to my friend as I stepped on the fifth brick down the row in the courtyard of my school. That “hi” was “news” to my friend right then and there because that has never happened before under those exact conditions and will never happen again. But that doesn’t matter, because the point of my “hi” was to greet him.

        • Also you’re adding nothing by just saying “this is old” comments like that and “first” do nothing by derail discussion for people who actually want to discuss a topic.

      • MemeticRichard

        There’s no reason to boil this down into some speed-post bitch-slap fight, nor participate in it.

        Speed isn’t of consequence. Accuracy is. Gossip sites are about speed. And we know why they’re called “gossip” sites – 90% they’re dead wrong.

        • SouskeSagara

          Richard please don’t be offensive to everyone in this forum just because you don’t like the comments. I suggest you join in this instead of cussing everyone and hating on them for no reason thank you ^_^ (By the way my suggestion not really in this topic BUT get anger management please)

          • MemeticRichard

            I think you failed to understand the point of my comment: 1-I was telling Spencer not to be so proud and arrogant for getting stuff faster than everyone else. 2-I was telling ChaosPaladinFayt not to be a complete dick.

            A stupid fight broke out between them over nothing, so I’m simply demanding some civility. Civility. I tend to to generally side with it. That’s the sort of dude I am.

          • Just to be clear – “beating” other sites in time wasn’t my point. I was trying to say that everything is relative, but if it came out proud, I apologize.

            While speaking to another commenter about the whole “old” issue, I brought up the point of discussing features about a game already out in Japan, but just announced for North America. What’s old for someone may be new for someone else.

          • Code

            rar, you say being proud like it’s a bad thing, there is nothing wrong with being proud of the hard work one accomplishes >w<;

          • SouskeSagara

            well i think you fail to show our point.

    • SolidusSnake

      Damn, dude, are you trying to be a d*ck or what? This is the first in-depth playtest I’ve seen for this game and I found it very informative.

      • ChaosPaladinFayt

        What? no…. i just said this was old new its not like i frikkin ranted about it. No one had to respond to me, it was their choice its not like i forced them to reply -_-

        • SolidusSnake

          oh, srry

        • MemeticRichard

          Certainly. But it’s a different matter when you start acting like an asshole as a result.

          • ChaosPaladinFayt

            so now ppl on the internet cant have an opinion? jeez. W.e im done with this. Haters will be haters. dont even bother responding.

          • The issue I have with comments like “first” and “this is old” is they don’t add anything to the discussion. If that’s all you have to say, there’s no reason to say it.

            If you said “this is old… I have something to add you missed” then by all means please comment.

            If not why bother? I like how the community can have discussions without the comments clogged up with junk and I want to keep it that way.

    • Maybe for you, and for japanese people, but not for us, at least not for me. I found this interesting and made me want the game more.
      Comments like this are pretty useless, and may (and will) put people on their bad side.

      Specially to the person who wrote this for the readers, they dont really want to read comments like that, wich are offensive, and deserve no purpose, pointless, you are free to post your opinion… but is something like this really an opinion?

  • MemeticRichard

    I’m a Type-Moon fan, and a complete Fate dork.

    That said, this game alienated me even more than the clumsy UBW film. This game is just bad…there’s no getting around it.

    So, I’ll happily wait for the next Unlimited Codes, or whatever the hell they got planned. But a cheaply made RPG with a clumsy battle system and tacked on school sim? That isn’t Fate. That’s BS.

    • I do hope you reached that conclusion by your own experience with the game and not because of what you read here.

      • MemeticRichard

        Don’t worry. I never jump to conclusions based on other peoples’ opinions.

        I was actually kind of amped for Fate/Extra. Which made it all the worse.

        • evospace

          I kind of had the exact opposite experience with Fate/Extra.

          Even being the biggest Type-Moon fan, I was totally not interested in picking up this game. It looked so different from the original Fate/stay night with just Type-Moon characters making a cameo appearance with no reason for them being there.

          But once I played it by impulse, I got hooked with the characters in this game, the game play, and the intriguing connection it had with the other Type-Moon worlds. I ended up beating this game 4 times, I rarely do that for any kind of games at this day and age…

          • Kibbitz

            Not a Type Moon fan, first run with Caster, second with Saber. Need to get around to doing the Archer run.

  • SouskeSagara

    I wish the English Version would come out =p


    Lmao this thing just crashed and burned…
    News or not, an interesting read.

  • ChaosPaladinFayt

    Alrite fine, it was my bad. Now will everyone just get off my back already?…..

  • I still want this baby to be released here, faults and all!

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