In my work crazed state I’ve fallen into a bit of Fate moment: watching Fate/Apocrypha as it airs, rewatching the first couple of episodes of Fate/Stay Night Unlimited Blade Works in preparation for the Heaven’s Feel movie in October and finally downloading the new mobile game in the franchise, Fate/Grand Order.
At the start of the year (it was actually New Years Day in fact) I watched the one off extended episode of Fate/Grand Order: First Order, before letting it slip to the back of my mind and promptly forgetting it. The anime adaptation of the prologue of this game was okay at best with a cast of characters that felt as if they should have been in a mobile game. Well, that’s the thing isn’t it – because they actually work very well in the real mobile game.
Grand Order is set in yet another parallel world to the Stay Night timeline and focuses on a magical organisation that is tasked with observing and maintaining humanities existence on Earth. Disaster strikes when 47/48 of the potential masters chosen to fix an anomaly are killed by a bomb leaving the least likely of the bunch to become the hero: yes, that’s you.
The story doesn’t really matter, although I will say for a mobile game I’m pretty impressed by the depth of the story. The characters are pretty bland, but pretty mouldable. In terms of gameplay, you’re looking at a tactical Final Fantasy-esque setup as you, the master, command three servants in battle with a range of attacks, power ups, card customisation (where does the card thing even come from in Fate?!) to defeat a range of enemies that vary depending on the world you’re sent to. The problem I’m having with this so far is that there isn’t much of a challenge because of the friend support function that you have to use each time. Basically, of the three characters you line up with to start with, one has to be a support from another human user – but of course the game has been going for a while now and people play a lot so you can choose a character to help that is vastly over levelled for where you are in the game. Sure, you can try and find a character that is down at the right level for where you are, but you’re always going to have an easy way out if things get tough.
As a big Fate fan, one of the most exciting things the game offers is the chance to collect and play as every servant you can possibly think of (and more for that matter). Arthuria makes an early game appearance with Jeanne of Arc following soon after – but add onto that various Roman Gods, more British mythical heroes, Chinese assassins, Japanese samurai and several figures I’ve never heard off and you’ve got quite the lineup! It’s easy to see why people pay to get currency for more servants – as much as I’ve played the extra daily quests, it takes a long time to get enough for 10 cards, and even then all of those won’t be servants. It seems restraint will be necessary.
After finishing the prologue and the first couple of sections of the first part of the game proper, I’m thoroughly enjoying Fate/Grand Order – even if the support characters have a broken levelling system. The story could go either way at this point, but that’s okay, because I think I’ll keep playing just to collect more servants.
What are your thoughts on Fate/Grand Order? Are you in it just for the story/characters or is the gameplay your thing instead? Has anyone had any problems with downloading the game outside of North America and if so how far have you gone to get passed those problems?