The musou genre has seen significant popularity in the last few years, with Omega Force pumping out crossovers from several popular series, such as Legend of Zelda and Fire Emblem. Fate Samurai/Remnant is the newest entry in the musou crossover universe, although this isn’t its first rodeo outside of its original genre as a visual novel. Fate has grown from its beginnings as an eroge to a multi-billion dollar franchise. Whether its visual novels, gacha games, or action games, the series as seen it all.
Fate Samurai/Remnant opens up with a retelling of a legend. A menacing spear master terrorized the land, attacking villages and kidnapping children to make his servant until he grew tired of them. However, the last time the man went through this routine, his entire gang disappeared until all of their bodies were found dead in a port town. However, the child that was said to be with them was no where to be seen.
From there, the game switches over to one of the main characters, Miyamoto Iori, who is fighting against strange ronin who have suddenly targeted him. But before a killing blow can be dealt, a bright light flashes, a weird mark appears on his hand, and a strange individual enters the battle to fight alongside Iori. You eventually learn that Iori is one of seven masters who were randomly picked to participate in the Waxing Moon Ritual, where everyone must fight to the death until one remains in order to have their wish granted. Each master has a servant, who is a Heroic Spirit who have died and are revered.
For those worried about whether you need any sort of Fate knowledge before starting this game, this is a standalone title. Of course, fans of the series will be up to speed with the general story beats, as well as familiar with some of the characters that appear throughout the game. When it comes to the actual storytelling, the story is pretty engaging. Many of the characters are great and the bond between Iori and Saber is enjoyable to watch unfold.
There are many side quests throughout Fate Samurai/Remnant, also known as Digressions. You do have a limited amount of time to complete these side quests before they disappear. Once they are missed, there is no way to go back and complete them unless you start over or play through the game in New Game+. These side quests will offer more lore about the characters, although the goals of those quests are often beating the character in a battle, or performing a fetch quest.
Along with the Digressions, there are also challenges that you can complete as you play through the game. The challenges are anything from defeating a certain amount of enemies to petting all of the animals in an area. Completing and turning in these challenges gives you money.
There are three main endings and one joke ending in Fate Samurai/Remnant. There is a choice that appears about midway through the game that affects which of the endings you get, as well as a joke ending that is secluded to one of the Digressions you come across. If you wish to get all of the endings, you will have to play through the game at least two times. Thankfully with New Game+, there are some new dialogue and cutscenes to keep things fresh.
Fate Samurai/Remnant is an action RPG where you are able to control Iori as well as several different servants as you fight in the Waxing Moon Ritual. Unlike other musou games, this game focuses primarily on Iori as a character, with some playable moments as Saber. You’ll have the opportunity to play as other servants that appear throughout the game, but those moments are far and few between. When you’re outside of battle, you’ll be running around Edo. There’s not a whole lot you can actually do outside of buying items or battling though.
Fate Samurai/Remnant operates like other musou games, in that you have a light and heavy attack that you can use to chain combos with, along with four skills that you can use, and a gauge attack that you can use to deal a large amount of damage. Along with those options, you have another gauge known as the substitution gauge that builds that will eventually allow you to use Saber in battle for a limited amount of time. And lastly, there is an affinity gauge that will allow you to make use of Saber’s skills. You also have a dodge, with the option to parry if you dodge at just the right time. Your attacks feel impactful when playing, although you do have to be careful about button mashing, as you’ll be locked into a combo. This can result in you potentially getting hit from larger enemies, as they aren’t always knocked back by basic attacks
Iori has different stances that he can take during battle at any time. These different stances affect the way Iori plays, so while all of the stances are viable in their own way, there will be stances that feel better for the player than others. By default, you’ll have access to the Earth and Water stances. The Earth stance is a defensive stance that will use a Fortitude gauge to negate a fixed amount of damage. This stance doesn’t deal as much damage due to it being a defensive stance, but has its uses when you’re dealing with a lot of potential incoming damage. The Water stance allows for quick attacks and more knockback with finishing moves. It has its uses when dealing with large mobs of enemies, as well as when you need that speed boost. And as you progress through the game, you’ll unlock other stances, such as a Fire stance that deals more damage the less health that you have and a Wind stance that makes use of magical attacks.
Battles in Fate Samurai/Remnant are isolated to open areas on a map, blocking your movement within that area until all enemies have been defeated. There are three main types of enemies: regular mob enemies, mini bosses, and main bosses (which are typically the other servants and sometimes their masters). Mini bosses are stronger than regular enemies, in that they can block your attacks and tend to hit harder. With some mini bosses, as well as all major bosses, they will have a shell gauge, which acts as a shield. While the shell gauge is active, minimum damage will be dealt. You’ll have to destroy the gauge before any substantial damage will be dealt. Once the gauge has been depleted, the enemy will momentarily be dazed. However, the shell gauge will always be reset after a period of time, so it’s important to deal as much damage as possible before that happens.
As you progress through the game, you’ll befriend some of the rogue servants hanging around Edo. These are servants without masters, and so they aren’t beholden to anyone’s orders. This means that many of them will be willing to lend you a hand in battle. You can set one servant to call upon in battle, giving you the option to use their skills in battle and build up their substitution gauge to play as them. While their substitution gauge is separate from Saber’s, they do use up your affinity gauge in order to use their skills, so keep that in mind.
Spirit Font Battles
Spirit Font battles are more strategic battles that take place throughout the story. Edo has a network of nodes known as leylines that can be connected to that are all connected to each other. In order to win these battles, you’ll have to lay claim to your enemy’s base node. Of course, that means that you lose if your enemy claims your base node. With a limited amount of turns, you’ll have to navigate across the map via these leylines. As you and the enemy meet in the middle, you’ll eventually enter combat. These battles operate the same as regular combat, although there is a bonus if you defeat the enemy within the time limit. But worry not if you don’t accomplish that, as there is no penalty for failing to do so.
When it comes to character management, you have the most options of customization with Iori, and then Saber, and lastly the other servants that will occasionally help you in your battle. With Iori, you’ll be able to upgrade his stats, unlock and equip new skills, and upgrade the fittings of his sword. You are able to have up to four skills equipped at any time and as you progress, the skills you are able to unlock are much better (but do require more gems in order to use). There are a variety of attacks, stat boosting skills, and healing skills to choose from. With your sword fittings, these will boost your stats as well as give you passive effects during battle, such as damage dampening and health regeneration. All mountings have a rating scale (the best mountings have a blue background). Mountings drop randomly during battle, but can also be purchased from the general store.
Along with gaining experience, money, and random item drops, you also gain skill points the more you battle and level up. These skill points can be used for your skill tree that all characters have. These skill trees have both skill unlock and stat boosting nodes.
Along with boosting Iori and your servants, you can also upgrade your workshop. As you upgrade, you can unlock different modes that can aid in your progress. There is a stance that you can unlock, you can lower the price of goods in the shop, and you can unlock the ability to craft gems and upgrade mountings. While not required, they can definitely help in the long run.
Outside of battles, you are able to explore several subsections of Edo. While there isn’t a whole lot to actually do outside of shopping at stalls and stores, you are able to run into random battles displayed on the map. You don’t need to do these battles, as the game will throw you into enough battles to keep your level on par with the bosses you’ll encounter. But if you’re looking for extra items or experience, they do exist.
The same thing can be said about the general store. While you’ll get everything you need while battling through the story, those looking for additional help through specific items may find their needs met at the general store. The stalls, however, do have more of a use. There are stalls scattered throughout Edo that sell food items, which can heal you. Outside of level ups and specific story exceptions, your health won’t be restored after battles. You can both purchase carryout food to eat during or after battle, or dine in to heal right there. After purchasing all of a stalls food, you won’t be able to go back and purchase again until some time has passed in the story.
Stylistically, Fate Samurai/Remnant looks absolutely gorgeous. Of course, compared to other systems, the Switch version doesn’t look as crisp, but it is still a beautiful game in its own right. The game is in full 3D and the animations for each of the characters is great. The lighting effects in particular really elevate this game and brings life to the flashy combat, which Fate is known for. Many of the Noble Phantasms are big and boisterous, really setting the scale for how intense the Waxing Moon Ritual is.
Voice Acting and Music
Fate Samurai/Remnant is fully voice acted, bringing in new voice actors to the Fate series, as well as returning actors who are reprising their roles for characters they’ve voiced in the past. The entire cast is amazing and while Japanese is the only voice over option, it doesn’t take away from the game at all.
As this game takes place in the period of time when Edo was at its height, a lot of the music takes on a traditional Japanese sound. Woodwind instruments, chimes, and heavy drums make up a majority of the soundtrack. Whether you are hearing light chimes and drums as you run through town, or a haunting flute as you slash through enemies, the entire soundtrack sets the tone, both in terms of the setting and the series of Fate in general.
Fate Samurai/Remnant does struggle in parts of battle, mainly when there are a large amount of enemies in one location. These moments are sparse, but noticeable, especially when using any flashly moves. But along with that, there is also the issue of long load times. Whether you are navigating to a new location, booting up the game, or moving to the next chapter, there is a noticeable load time.
Overall, Fate Samurai/Remnant is a very enjoyable action RPG. As a musou title, it does stand apart in that battles aren’t centered around maintaining control of a battlefield. But of course, the battles easily become repetitive outside of boss battles. Thankfully battles do end up passing by quickly before they can wear out their welcome. The story is engaging and the main characters enthralling as you’re drawn into the sudden journey facing the other masters and servants in the Waxing Moon Ritual. Whether you’re a fan of the Fate series, or new to the franchise, Fate Samurai/Remnant is an enjoyable experience to play through.