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Fate/Samurai Remnant Review: ‘It’s Called Fate (and It’s Great)’

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via KOEI TECMO America

A PS5 code was provided to GamingPizza for this review. Fate/Samurai Remnant will be available on September 29, 2023 for PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, and PC.

As someone who had never ventured into the Fate universe before picking up Fate/Samurai Remnant, I had my reservations. Can a game with such an expansive backstory and complex lore be accessible to a newcomer?

To my delight, the game welcomed me in with open arms. Now, having spent countless hours navigating its lush landscapes and deep narrative, I find myself plunging into the anime series, eagerly sorting out the order to watch them in. This speaks volumes about Fate/Samurai Remnant’s magnetic pull, even if it isn’t without its flaws.

Diving into rich lore

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via KOEI TECMO America

The Fate series, with its inception in 2004 as a visual novel titled, Fate/stay night, has witnessed a sprawling expansion across different mediums. At its heart lies the concept of the Holy Grail Wars, where Masters and Servants — powerful summoned spirits — battle for supremacy.

Fate/Samurai Remnant puts players in 1651 during the Edo Period, throwing them into the thick of the Waxing Moon Ritual, another high-stakes war of powerful entities. The protagonist, swordsman Miyamoto Lori, is as new to this chaos as I was. This design choice is ingenious from my newbie standpoint. As Lori learns about the lore and surrounding mysteries, so do you. It’s an immersive dive into the Fate universe, making it an excellent entry point and whetting your appetite for more.

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It would also be impossible to review Fate/Samurai Remnant without applauding its visuals. The depiction of Edo Japan is nothing short of breathtaking. Anime-style visuals pop with bold vibrancy and depth. Despite town areas not having an excess of things to interact with, every nook and cranny of cities like Asakusa and Yoshiwari is worth exploring. From bustling marketplaces to serene temples, the game feels alive, echoing with the whispers of the past.

Engaging gameplay mechanics

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via KOEI TECMO America

Fate/Samurai Remnant is a Musuo-style combat game reminiscent of Dynasty Warriors. The beat ’em up, hack n’ slash combat is fluid, satisfying, and at times, utterly chaotic. With different stances, a plethora of magic spells, and Servants aiding in battles, there’s never a dull moment — especially when it comes to the grandiose, colossal boss fights. The addition of the “Leylines” mechanic adds a layer of strategy, requiring players to move tactically across territories, blocking and engaging enemies.

As an RPG, the game allows for deep customization. Skill trees, upgrades, and even quaint mini-games like sword-sharpening make every action feel meaningful. Such depth, while rewarding, can also be a double-edged sword (pun intended). At times, the abundance of systems felt a tad overwhelming, especially when juggling between swordplay, magic, and Servant abilities. But as the hours roll by, finding harmony amidst the chaos becomes a thrill in itself, and ultimately becomes second nature as you progress.

Character depth and world-building

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via KOEI TECMO America

Saber, your main companion, is a highlight. Hailing from a different era, her innocent wonder and insatiable love for food add layers of charm. The game’s broader cast, encountered through side-quests called Digressions, further enriches the narrative tapestry. These interactions not only deepened my connection to the characters but also solidified the game’s expansive world-building.

However, it’s not all roses. The extensive lore dumps, especially early on, can be cumbersome. I found myself occasionally lost in the culmination of backstories, Holy Grail Wars explanations, and the intricacies of the Servant system. It’s all great information, but it’s a lot, and while beautifully voiced in Japanese, the frequent reading of long subtitles becomes a bit taxing — this coming from someone who is a steadfast proponent of watching TV with subtitles on at all times.

For those seeking bang for their buck, Fate/Samurai Remnant doesn’t disappoint. A single playthrough easily lasts anywhere from 40-50 hours, with even more content lurking for the completionists. Admittedly, I couldn’t delve into a completionist run within my review timeframe, but the mere promise of more to uncover is tantalizing and is something I’ll likely make my way back to after checking out the rest of the anime.

A journey worth taking

Fate/Samurai Remnant is a sprawling adventure that blends intense combat, strategy, and a narrative depth that few games achieve. Its commitment to both visual beauty and mechanical complexity makes it a standout title. While it stumbles occasionally under its ambitious weight, particularly with its lore-heavy dialogue, it remains an incredibly engaging experience. For newcomers like me, it’s a fantastic introduction to the Fate universe, and for long-standing fans, it’s a worthy addition to the beloved series.

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GamingPizza’s Rating: 8 out of 10

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