Recently I bought the limited edition of Fate/Extra for the PSP, Kinoko Nasu fanboy that I am. The game is excellent; while not without its flaws, I found it interesting to experience the story of the Holy Grail War outside of an anime format.
For those who are unfamiliar, the Fate series revolves around a “Holy Grail War” in which magi compete for an all-powerful artifact using legendary spirits summoned from across time. Fate/Extra is non-canon, but it follows this format for the most part–with the exception of some odd stuff involving a massive supercomputer. The game has a few familiar faces from other entries in the series, such as the ever-popular Rin Tousaka and the easily-despised Shinji Matou.
The gameplay is unusual, but I like it. You have a week to prepare for an “elimination battle” against another Master (one of the magi competing in the Holy Grail War) by gathering information on your opponent and their Legendary Spirit (a.k.a. Servant). This is wrapped up in a number of side quests and daily events in Tsukumihara Academy, where the tournament takes place. In actual battle, players have to choose six commands in advance from a rock-paper-scissors style selection. When you confirm that these are the commands you want, they execute and succeed or fail based on the options that the enemy chose. Having more information on your opponents will allow you to see the commands that they chose before inputting yours.
Since the Servants (Legendary Spirits) of enemy masters sometimes have several times your HP, obtaining this information becomes critical. I find that this system captures the sense of intrigue in the Holy Grail War well, though I wish that the battle system was based a little less on luck.
The Limited Edition comes in a larger box which nevertheless looks about the same as the PSP game case itself. The real treasure is in the form of a nice red art book with the game’s soundtrack inside. The cover of this book is well made, unlike that of The Last Story Artbook, though it only contains six images (with brief commentaries at the end). The included soundtrack has a total of ten songs, listed below:
- servant_extra (saber, everything is in her hand)
- main (school, friends, the usual)
- maze (sea, shallow, -1)
- duel(-1) // *in trouble
- maze (deep sea, -1)
- battle (deep sea, 15)
- canal_to_terminal (enemy, and you)
- servant_stay_night (archer, nobody knows him/the hero)
- down to dawn
- servant_extra (caster, extra life with anyone she wants)
The titles are fittingly cryptic, as you can see. My favorites thus far are “main,” a jazzy theme that plays while wandering around the school, and “duel,” a battle theme. I haven’t quite listened to them all, however.
The Limited Edition, at least right now, is a pretty good deal on Amazon. I would recommend it.
Playing Fate/Extra got me to thinking on the nature of a hero. Heroes are traditionally identified by their noble actions, but I think that the societal component of heroism is not to be underestimated. A hero (at least such as they are portrayed in the Fate series) requires a community to idolize him or her. In this sense, the merit of their actions becomes a secondary trait when compared to the perceptions of society. People love a good martyr, so legends about people who have done heroic things and died in the process spread all the faster. I don’t know…just the mumblings of an anime fan.
Any thoughts on Fate/Extra, the limited edition, or heroes in general? Leave a comment below and I will certainly reply.