Since news of US release of Fate / Extra by Aksys Games, I have been eagerly anticipating the day I could finally play this game. Last week, that day finally arrived. The game is set in an alternate timeline to Fate / Stay Night, but events of the Holy Grail War play out in a different manner. Some of the key differences is that instead of 7 teams of Masters and Servants, in Fate / Extra there is 128 teams. Also, the battles take place in a virtual world where “magi” are more like super-skilled hackers. The game does include characters from Fate / Stay Night (though back stories are somewhat different), as well as addition of new characters and characters from other Type-Moon works.
My initial plan was to download the game via the Playstation Network since I already owned the Japanese released limited edition that included the same premiums the US edition picked up. But on the day of release, I kept checking PSN and game was not available! Wanting to get started playing as soon as possible, I decided to head to local Gamestop where I was fortunate enough to pick up a copy.
The US edition included the Fate / Extra art book, soundtrack, and game. Unfortunately the Saber Extra figma was not included. On the plus side, the art book was translated into English so you can read the commentary for each image and as well as Takashi Takeuchi’s thoughts regarding Saber Extra. Very insightful actually.
Side-by-side comparison of the US and JP Limited Edition boxes.
Side-by-side of all the premium items included in the respective boxes of the two editions. Again aside from figma not much of difference between two regions. If you preordered Fate / Extra you were also sent a copy of the Fate / The Fact magazine. From what I saw, the US version left much to be desired. It was just a paper booklet whereas the Japanese version had a hard cover case and CD included. So the US version of the magazine was missing the hard case and CD. Other than that, content of magazine is same with US version being translated obviously.
It should go without saying that I chose Saber as my servant for my first play through of the game. Going to share some of the screens from my first few hours of playing. Lot of these images contain dialogue from Saber.
The first thing that instantly becomes clear to fans of Fate / Stay Night is this Saber’s personality is certainly different from Arturia.
In fact, if I have the feeling that she is tsundere ^^;
She has a lot of pride in herself.
Game play consist of predicting what your opponent’s actions will be and choosing an option that will counter it. Servants can chose between Attack, Guard, Break, and Skills. Masters can use items or magic to assist their Servants. As far as combat is concerned, Attack beats Break, Guard beats Attack, and Break beats Guard. Skills are special moves Servants can perform, which include special attacks, buffs, or Noble Phantasms.
If you string three successful moves, then you an perform an Extra Attack. So the challenge comes in predicting what move your opponent will execute and choosing the right move to counter it. If you find yourself lousy at predicting moves and your opponent lands a successful chain of three moves then they will perform an Extra move on you. This system is what gives a somewhat simple system a bit of complexity.
Successfully beat your opponent and you are rewarded with PPT (used to buy items and formal wear) and Experience. Sometimes also rewarded with items to help keep your Servant in top health. Level up your Master Level and you will be rewarded with SP that can be used to improve the stats of your Servant and unlock abilities.
Saber found that her opponent was too weak to entertain her. Saber may be unsatisfied but I have to say the gameplay has been pretty satisfying thus far.
Saber begins to act tsun towards her new Master.
My Servant is not happy that I know nothing about the Holy Grail War.
Or of Servants in general for that matter ^^;
She gives brief explanation which ends after mention of the Saber class.
She takes great pride in her classification as Saber lol
Great pride indeed
We are a team!!
Being her Master, I acquire about her identity.
But she will not disclose that to me…
…at least not yet. I guess Saber doesn’t completely trust her new Master.
Setup for this image is humorous. Upon meeting Rin Tohsaka for the first time she will grope you. And her Servant (who remains hidden) will comment to her that she is a pervert. Actually quite hilarious.
But it worked out to my favor because she instructs me in a few basics of the Holy Grail War.
Meet Saber in our private room for the first time. She does not like the accommodations but will make due.
It is important you visit your private room often. There are times when your Servant has key story points to discuss with you and if you don’t visit your private room you will miss these!!
She also mentions that she is not using her full potential. This is my fault. One of my many short comings as her Master.
T-T Trust me, she does get better. She doesn’t cut you down ALL the time lol
I did mention she is tsundere right??
At least she ends her complaints with a nice comment.
For all the complaints she makes, she also encourages her Master too.
Saber has a dislike to Shinji and how he treats his fellow Masters.
After completing our training in the arena, Saber has some nice words for her beloved Master.
Saber gains a bit more respect for her Master.
Saber warns on the importance of gathering information on opposing Servants true identities. You have six game days to gather information on you opponent for the week. In that time, you must figure out the identity of enemy Master’s Servant using clues you gather both in school and while in the Arena. Uncover enough clues and your Matrix regarding that Servant will level up. If you get your Matrix to level 3, then on the seventh day (which is the day must fight the enemy Master and Servant in an Elimination Battle) you will have a chance to discuss with your Servant the clues and raise your Matrix to Extra. With a E level Matrix you will have better odds of predicting moves your opponent will use. So it is very important to learn the identity of the enemy Servant within the time frame in order to have edge in the battles.
Sometimes you will encounter the enemy team in the Arena. Battles between two Servants is prohibited in the Arena, but this won’t stop enemy teams from attacking you or using other tricks. In the event of enemy attack, all you have to do is survive three rounds and the SE.RA.PH system will end the fight per the rules of the war. But these battles do have a purpose as they allow you chance to learn the identity of the opposing Servant.
Saber again remains of the importance of gathering intelligence.
And she again remains you that she will keep her identity secret for as long as possible.
Information gathering by Rin.
Information is power.
Sometimes when you visit your private room your Servant will not want to talk to you.
Early on in the game you will be able to use the SP gained from leveling to increase the various stats of your Servant. This will also allow you to unlock the special abilities of your Servant. Or as Saber puts it, restoring some of her former glory ^^
My relationship with Saber changed. She no longer refers to me as “Master” but instead calls me “Praetor” – which is a title of Roman origin. Another clue of regarding her true identity.
This is one of the moments where you gain insight on Saber via private room conversation. Her words are harsh but the information is sweet.
You will be given two options.
I chose to ask Saber again about her identity…
…And she seems to go along with it…
…and I am treated to this little treat…
…but Saber quickly back pedals…
…and again quickly reminds her dear Master that must wait to learn her true name ^^;
If you chose the other option about how she speaks, then you get this little tidbit revealing a bit about her past.
Another question you can ask her is regarding her gender. Her responses here are quite interesting.
She confirms that physically she is a petite woman.
And even though she says its not an issue, she also makes it clear to not make comments regarding her height. XD
o.O So her spirit is both male and female?? Tell me some more.
I see…I see…
Orientation of her soul?? Oh my…
OH MY!!! This Saber is certainly unlike Arturia.
Shinji again gets on Saber’s nerves.
Saber understands Rider love of wealth. But doesn’t like how she goes to any lengths to obtain it.
I couldn’t tell she adores the finer things in life…oh wait…yes I did.
The day of the Elimination Battle arrives. Saber again tries to reaffirm her Master that victory is ours.
This is when we go over the information gathered about the enemy Servant. If you gathered enough then you will granted Matrix E!
On the way to the Elimination Battle the trash talking begins. Saber has a sharp tongue.
She has a few choice words for Shinji…
Saber finds the Coliseum to be lackluster…to say the least.
After the long battle and Shinji’s pathetic display of losing bores Saber. I will admit that I felt sorry for his defeat because of his display. It was kinda sad.
But Saber has little sympathy for the fallen Master…
…the Servant on the other hand she gained a bit of respect for.
She doesn’t understand why her Master sheds tears for her defeated enemy. But the act moves her…
…and she gains more admiration for her Master.
She also talks about what it takes to win.
As the second round begins, I meet with Saber in our private room…
…and she again reminds me of our private room needing more elegance to it. I guess those lamps I got her from Taiga wasn’t enough. It is important to complete Taiga’s quest as they will add more decor to the private room. They will also allow you to fight a secret boss in the game from what I hear.
Saber also reveals more about her past life.
And reveals that there are things she even regrets from her past. I suppose both her and Arturia share this quality. Both have regrets regarding how they ruled.
Saber and Archer have a few words.
Saber talks about the importance of unlocking her full potential as the battles will become more intense, especially her Noble Phantasm.
Saber again gets into verbal confrontation with enemy on the way to the Elimination Battle.
I notice that this Saber talks about the “beauty” in a lot of things.
Archer makes the mistake of calling Saber a princess. She doesn’t take kindly to this.
And corrects him to address her as Empress. Remember, Saber doesn’t like people commenting on her stature.
The Elimination Battle concludes with out victory. As Archer and his Master are being deleted, a conversation between to the two Servants shift to their Masters. Saber comments that compared to other teams, her Master is pretty lackluster…
… but the idea of seeing her rise above odds excites her…
…and that she enjoys being by her Master’s side.
That ends my photos of Saber moments. Currently close to my third round Elimination Battle with my next Master and her Servant. Overall I am really loving this game. Not really a game can get through mashing buttons. Does require you to do a bit of thinking. You have to try to anticipate what your opponents will do and chose moves based on what you think their actions will be. There are moments where game feels like a visual novel as events unfold. Given that you only have seven days between rounds, you have to use time wisely to both gather information and level up. Game days end when you leave the Arena, so you have to make sure you do enough investigating before entering the Arena because once you leave that game day ends. Also have to make sure you search each Arena thoroughly enough as need to locate certain items in the Arena for Taiga quests or story points. Not to mention more of the Arena you uncover, move mobs can encounter, which leads to chances to gain experience and level up.
I have to say that even though Saber can be harsh with her words, she also has her sweet moments. But that is what it means to be a tsundere, right? She certainly has no issue speaking her mind either. Like I said earlier her personality is quite different from Arturia. But the more I play through the game, the more I appreciate about her character. She is certainly different from the Saber Fate fans know. But she has her own strong points that makes her likeable to me. Her flamboyancy also intrigues me. She is spirited, yet refined.
Thus far I know only scratched the surface of what this game has to offer. Story has multiple endings and story paths that can be explored. Not to mention still two other Servants I can play though the game with. So there is plenty of replay value in the game. I am looking forward to uncovering more of the story Fate / Extra has to offer.
What is this?? Two copies of the Limited Edition?!
Let’s just say I was contacted by an individual who was kind enough to provide a copy for my readers ^o^
Because a lot of Fate / Extra’s gameplay revolves around the gathering of information, if you want to win you will have to do the same. Gonna make this one pretty simple. I am a huge Fate fan. Pretty evident by post made here right? What sparked my interest in Fate was one figure I got many moons ago.
To win just tell me what was the first Fate figure I purchased. Here’s a hint – Key to finding it can be found on my About page.
You can post your answer here in the comments. Be sure to include a link to the image of the figure I am looking for. Please make sure to use a valid email account so I can contact you.
To keep in the spirit of the game, time frame for this contest will be one week. The stage is now set. Good luck!!