Platforms: PlayStation 4, PS Vita, PC, Nintendo Switch
[Review copy provided by Marvelous.]
Hello again! Today we’re taking a look at Fate/Extella Link, the sequel to Fate/Extella and the latest entry in the Fate/Extra side-series. Fans of the previous game no doubt know what they’re in for – Extella Link is very much more of the same, but with a number of much needed graphical and gameplay improvements.
The core of the game still revolves around the ‘musou’ style gameplay loop – you pick a servant, kit them out and then conquer territories through simple hack-and-slash gameplay. If you’re familiar with the Dynasty Warriors series, then you’ll have a good idea what you’re looking at here. Much like Marmite, most people will either love it or hate it.
If it is your thing, or you were a fan of Fate/Extella, then you’ll find that the gameplay is pretty good overall. Combat is still quite similar to the previous game, but there’s a few new mechanics to spice it up.
Perhaps the most important is the addition of Active Skills, which let you customise your chosen Servant’s loadout of attacks a little. Install Skills and Mystic Codes return, and the new Support Troop system lets you choose two Servants to act as assistants. Your chosen allies can then pop in to attack alongside you or shield you from enemies, with more actions opening as you increase those Servant’s Bond Levels.
As well as that, Noble Phantasms are no longer limited to one use per map, and Command Seals can be used to teleport to any available sector immediately. These changes help the pace by cutting down some of the more tedious parts of map clearing.
However, there’s a lot more button mashing, thanks to the Rush Attack mechanic. Activated by hitting an enemy Servant with the right type of Active Skill or clashing blades with them, Rush Attacks require the player to mash a button to deal damage. Unfortunately, this happens a lot,
As with Fate/Extella, the game features a full story campaign, with 27 chapters in total. The story is told almost entirely through visual novel style dialogue, almost all of which is voiced (in Japanese only). The voice cast features some excellent (and likely familiar) seiyuus, and the game itself has a strong soundtrack, too. It’s a pleasure to listen to.
The story features three main branches (two immediately available, one unlocked later). It revolves around the mysterious appearance of Karl Rex Magnus and Charlemagne – two aspects of the same hero – and the inevitable battle between them, as Karl attempts to assimilate and unify the Moon Cell beneath his rule.
It’s an enjoyable ride, but it’s not anywhere near as deep or involved as the previous game. While the game is a direct sequel to Extella, it almost feels disconnected. Extella Link often feels more like a side chapter than a continuation. As a result, it also feels quite a lot shorter.
Still, the game does feature quite a lot of content. Aside from the 27 story battles (each of which can be cleared in 4 difficulties), there’s also a bounty of Extra Battles. While some are recycled from the story, there’s several unique scenarios here too. Many of these battles unlock costumes for the game’s 26 servants, so there’s incentive to play them. The game also features a 4 vs 4 Multiplayer mode (though I haven’t been able to try it myself).
Unfortunately, some of the more popular aspects of Extella have been left out, such as the brief side stories for each of the game’s side characters. However, unique conversations in My Room and the Base Camp do help to give some servants a bit of extra screen presence.
Overall, if you’re a fan of Fate/Extella, then you’ll probably enjoy Extella Link. The game’s core is very much the same, but it’s taken several steps forward, too. It is, in almost every way, an improvement over its predecessor. That said, there’s still several ways the game could improve if a third entry were to happen in the future – a prospect that leaves me excited.
For fans of the Extra universe, or simply Fate in general, Extella Link is probably worth a look, too. You don’t really need to play Extella to follow this game’s story, so don’t be afraid of jumping in and trying it out. There’s a lot here to enjoy.
Fate/Extella Link is very much what a sequel should be – it retains the core of its predecessor while improving things more-or-less across the board. That said, there’s still plenty to improve for a potential third entry.
Some fans might be disappointed by the thinner feeling story, but it’s still an enjoyable ride with some of the Fate series’ colourful characters. Overall, this is a game that’s worth checking out for fans of the series and newcomers alike, who should find it to be an easy entry point.