Monday, 26 March 2012

Fate/Unlimited Codes

Gamespot score:7.0 (Good)

My score:7.2

(+)Pros:-Standard controls will make even new comers of the genre feel at home,-the fighting is fun and flashy,-characters feel and play quite differently from one other,-mission mode is very detailed and in depth,-japanese voice acting is top notch,-mini games are cool.

(-)Cons:-AI is too f**king easy,-character roster is a little lacking,-poor story telling.

Gameplay time:10-20 hours

During the time I played this, Fate/zero was currently airing, and since I was so into the anime, I looked for a game. Eventually I found Fate/Unlimited codes, and started playing it. For fans of the series, Fate/Unlimited codes will definetely prove to be fun, as the characters transition from the anime/visual novels to the game very well, and everyone plays just like thier counterpart. The combat is fluid, and the controls are standard enough so that even newcomers to the fighting genre can play efficiently. For a PSP fighting game, I'd say its well done, and its not really lacking in any modes. Like it or not, Fate/Unlimited codes is a complete package, and any fan to the genre or franchise will enjoy it for an easy dozen hours or so.

The story for Fate/Unlimited codes is similar to that of the anime PLUS some stuff exclusive to the visual novels. It tells the tale of  the holy grail war, and how 7 magicians are selected for this war. Each magician is given a servant, and the servant fights for the master over the holy grail. The winning pair gets the grail and is able to make a wish from it. It exaclty the same as the anime, but as a fighting game, you play as individual characters through their story and get different endings for each character, so its pretty hard to fully explain the gist of everything. HOWEVER, while the story is great, the transition to the game is a little disappointing, more on that later.

Powerful moves are backed by impressive visuals.

Fate/Unlimited codes is a 3D fighter. You get your sidesteps...but everything else works just like a regular 2D fighting game. The controls are as such, you hold back to block, up to jump, so on and so forth. Its the same with special moves. Theres your standard quarter-circle-fowards, quarter-circle-backs and shoryuken motion moves. There are also double-fowards, double-backs, front-backs or back-fronts. Those familiar to fighting games will sort of understand these D-pad motions, but when you look at it this way, there are lots of special moves for the individual characters. There definetely are though, and memorizing all of them for all individual characters can get rather tough at times.

Thankfully though, once you get the hang of things, it pays off. The fighting is fun and flashy, and while its not on the levels of MVC 3, it certainly stands out over stuff like Tekken or Soul calibur. Bursts of energy surging out of Saber Alter's blade to send an enemy flying looks awesome, and seeing Rin form magic circles out of nowhere to shoot out colourful beams of energy is a treat for your eyes. Also, when you master your combos, pulling them off look pretty cool. Nothing beats seeing your enemy get juggled in mid air for ridiculously long combos as Rider...or any charcter to be exact.

Feel the pain!

One thing that Fate does right, is the fact that the characters all fight very differently. This is so both in the anime and in the game as well. Our combatants have pretty varied styles, while some do share similarities to each other (Shiro/Archer, Lancer/Zero Lancer), their overall combat and playstyle still do differ. We have characters that range from sword wielders to gem utilizing mages. Hell, Sakura, one of my favourite characters in the game (Playstyle wise), fights by extending strands of her freaking dress to spike her opponents! Gilgamesh has a portable invisible sword gattling gun, launching hordes and hordes of blades at you. Playing and trying every character out is definetely a fun AND refreshing experience that I recommend all players to do.

While trying all these characters seem fun, what do you do if you really want to go beyond the extreme and get significantly better at them? Never fear, mission mode is here! Mission mode is probably the best mode in the game, and you can easily dump a dozen hours here. Mission mode goes beyond the border and educates you with combos that you could have never figured out alone. Pulling these off are pretty hard at times, but when you memorize can totally see yourself improving as you successfully pull off these combos against non-stationery foes. Another plus to mission mode is the mini games. When you clear enough missions for a character, a mini game exclusive to him or her will pop out, and these are cool! Straying away from the main game, you get to do ridiculous stuff, like escaping a Berserker-car with shiro or singing a "song" with sakura. My favourite though, was the building climbing mini game with Rider, so much tension XD.

Sadly, arcade mode tells the story poorly.

Fate/Unlimited codes has one flaw that hits it pretty hard...and its the difficulty of the AI opponents. It is an utter insult, the AI opponents are ridiculously easy, and even at the hardest difficulty, I don't even find myself losing to the final stage in arcade mode that often at all! This makes the game hardly challenging at all in any mode thats not mission mode, which is a pity. I suggest you crank the difficulty to the highest when you start the game, or you'll feel utterly insulted at how easy it is. The roster size is debatable, but anything below 20 characters is low to me(the game has 17 characters). Finally, the story telling. Through pictures, voicing and text, the story telling is rather poor. Since theres only one picture per sequence, its pretty bad, and the fact that there are no cutscenes at all hit the story badly, since most of the story is about flashy fight and conflict sequences.

All in all, Fate/Unlimited codes manage to impress both visually and character wise. Certain moves look great and you won't feel bored when playing different characters. The mission mode is also one of the most detailed ones I have seen in any fighting game. While the game has very solid japanese voice acting, that alone can't save the poor story telling. The all-to-easy AI and slighty below average character roster also add to the faults, but if you like fighting games or are a fan of the Fate universe, Fate/Unlimited codes is a good game that you can enjoy.

Now, how about some love for our beloved Saber Lily? :)

Happy gaming.