Review: Fate/Grand Order

Three years after the release of the visual novel ‘Witch on the Holy Night’, the highly renowned TYPE-MOON has finally published its next game, starting its servers to open its long anticipated smart-phone game: ‘Fate/Grand Order’, the latest installment to the company’s highly popular Fate series.

For those unfamiliar to the Fate, the series revolves around the idea of bringing historical heroes of the past into a modern world – crafted by the pen of TYPE-MOON’s founder, Nasu Kinoko. The series had been a massive success ever since its release as a visual novel, and had since given rise to numerous anime adaptations, games, and even light novels contributed by other prolific writers such as Urobuchi Gen (Fate/Zero) and more recently, Narita Ryougo (Fate/Strange Fake).

In the world of Fate, seven magicians chosen by the Holy Grail as Masters gather to fight in a ruthless battle royale. The last man standing will then obtain the fabled Holy Grail which is said to grant a single wish. As a Master, magicians are granted the power to summon a powerful historical figure (e.g. Alexander the Great, King Arthur, Vlad the Impaler etc.) from the past to aid them as a Servant. This is the usual template that the various instalments of Fate use, but Fate/Grand Order deviates interestingly from it.

Fate/Grand Order tells naught the tale of only one Holy Grail War, but seven – and naturally, the number of Servants that are involved in these wars amount to more than fifty.

The player plays as a member of the Chaldea Security Organization, which has developed a ritual to send the protagonist back into the past Holy Grail Wars as a means to eliminate the space-time singularities in the past which was calculated as a cause for the sudden extinction of humans in 2016.

The protagonist is also equipped with the ability to summon multiple Servants, which brings us to the exciting part of Fate/Grand Order.

Having enlisted the contribution of fifty acclaimed artists such as huke (Steins;Gate), BunBun (Sword Art Online), Moriyama Daisuke (World Embryo), along with a dream line-up of voice actors including Ogura Yui, Suzumura Kenichi, Asakawa Yuu, Fate/Grand Order proves itself to be an wondrous assembly of talent, presented in a handy package of a mobile smart-phone game.

In the aspect of gameplay, Fate/Grand Order is actually quite a simple game. The player simply uses Saint Stones or Friend Points to summon Servants which are used for combat, and Craft Essences which serve as equipped bonuses for a Servant. Servants and Craft Essences are augmented by sacrificing existing Servants and Craft Essences, or the experience increasing crystals.

Its Leonidas I! Unfortunately, he's not voiced by Nakata Jouji...

Its Leonidas I! Unfortunately, he’s not voiced by Nakata Jouji…

FGO_SUMMON

An average batch summon in-game. Its average, except for the two consecutive Sasaki Koujiro who were miraculously summoned in a row.

The game progresses as the player participates in the battles outlining the grand epic of Fate/Grand Order. The player can also enlist the help of other players’ Servants for every battle, from which both can obtain Friend Points.

A typical battle in-game

A typical battle in-game. The servant labelled SUPPORT is borrowed from another player.

Servants in the player’s arsenal, when at a certain level can also ascend to up to three different forms.

FGO_screen002

An example of advancement, through which the servant’s appearance changes slightly along with a level cap increase.

While each battle can be repetitive, the main storyline, along with the excitement of summoning and learning about a new Servant makes the game thoroughly engrossing.

FGO_CAESAR

Julius Caesar depicted by illustrator Shimadoriru

FGO_HANS_CHRISTIAN

Hans Christian Anderson; Skill 01: Human Observation; He may be small, but he has the manly voice of Koyasu Takehito!

FGO_DIALOGUE

An entertaining conversation in the story; Olga Marie: “One cup is enough! Also, remember that I like coffee more than black tea!”

In addition to the main story (which currently only has four chapters), the game is frequently updated with event stories.

People familiar with, and especially fans of the the Fate series will find the game highly engrossing – for it provides more insight to Nasuverse.

Still, like most free-to-play games in the smart-phone game market, Fate/Grand Order relies on micro-transactions – as such, progress may become slow for the thrifty gamer after the first part of the game.

Fate/Grand Order is currently available for download on Google Play and the AppStore.

~ Kuuin

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