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on November 7, 2011
At the time I write this, there is one other review by JoshuaKadmon. Everything he says is correct. I write this as a fan of jrpg's, the Fate series, and multi-path games. Once you finish the game's tutorial, you choose your servant (ether Saber, Archer, or Caster class), which represent the difficulties in the game of easy/medium/hard), and your gender, which can change how your servant responds to you in dialogue. The game later gives you another choice which alters some of the bosses you face and interactions with your servant. Throughout the game you are asked questions and have dialogue trees which also alter how the game goes, and wrong choices in certain crcumstances become instant death, so it's a good idea to have multiple save files.

The one thing which differentiates Fate/Extra from Persona (yes, they are very similar, and I would rank P3P as a top 5 game on PSP) is that because of the somewhat screwed up battle system, you must research your opponents beforehand. There are 3 secrets about your opponent you must discover durng the week, some given to you, many hidden behind tasks, and then you must guess their identity based on the info. The more you know, the more of the enemies actions you will know in advance, which is key to winning. The game requires you to choose 6 actions at once (attack, defend, break, codecast/item, or skill), and knowing that 2 or 3 of those will succeed can be key. Just leveling up your character doesn't mean much if the opponed has 17000 more hp than you do and does 5 times the damage. Because of the risk inherint in the system, planning when to heal or use skills becomes key, and highly strategic in a need to maximize what you do. especially when playing the Caster class

If you like Type/Moon products, you will also love Fate/Extra. The writing is very good and written by the same man who wrote the original Fate/Stay Night, and the characters are just what you'd expect from Type/Moon. The servants are not the same as the ones from the series, though some characters (Rin, Lancer, Tiger, Sakura, Kotomine) do appear. I recommend this game for anime fans, Type/Moon fans, and Persona fans.
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on June 15, 2012
First off I'm going to start by saying I have no history with the franchise this game seems to be attached to. I've heard of Fate/Stay Night but haven't seen the source material or any of its other spin offs so I will be writing based on the game in its own context, not the context of it as a part of a franchise. Two things made me aware of the game's existence. The first amusingly enough is the music, which I thought was enjoyable and relaxing. The second would be the parallels some seem to bring up with Persona.

Fate/Extra is a JRPG that some seem to liken to Persona 3 but I think this relation is somewhat wrongly interpreted. The two only relate to one another in a handful of ways I will point out (based on my experience thus far):
- Both involve high school age characters and settings
- Said characters are host to powers or links to outside mythical or historical figures (personae/servants)
- Both are JRPGs and anime-esque in style
- Some emphasis on socializing is important in-game (these are what some call "visual novel" elements)

While these similarities may sound strong enough to Persona 3/4 players (I reviewed P3P here previously as well), these games are RADICALLY different in execution, especially in their core gameplay.

Story & interaction:
F/E is a text-heavy game. The plot of F/E revolves around a deadly competition that only gifted people can enter. The prize of this tournament supposedly grants the wish of the last person left alive and obtaining that prize is the only way to live through this competition. All of the losers are marked for death. If that isn't motivation enough to win I don't know what would be. Each participant in the event has a servant they are paired with and the player gets to pick one of three following the opening act. You'll have Saber (a melee gal, considered the easiest to start with), Archer (a sort of melee/technical fellow, so-so in difficulty) and Caster (obviously the magic gal and and the one to require the most strategy for survival). Each servant plays to different strengths throughout the story and does influence all of the dialogue in relation to the master-servant dynamic so the choice is important. The fact that you have the choice between three means there is enough replay potential story/dialogue-wise as every servant has a differnt personality.

Servants make up one part of the social gamete in F/E but the other portion comes in a "case solving" sort of fashion. Every week in game you will need to face an opposing master and servant in an elimination round. These are essentially F/E's boss battles. For every opponent you face at the end of a week, you will go through a sort of mystery solving aspect where you try to gather up as much info on the opponent's servant as possible. This will take place in the form of information sleuthing around campus, having short bouts against them as the story plays out, and various other small means. This is important not only as a plot device but as a gameplay element because the more you seemingly know about the opponent, the more prepared you will be in predicting their onslaught of attack patterns when it comes to your showdown with them at the end of each week. If you can achieve a case solved status (which is called "Matrix Level E" in the game) you will find out the servant's hidden identity and make your battle potentially much easier.

One last note in regards to story and dialogue here, while the translation is generally pretty good, there are some instances of typos or odd phasings. You'll come by them every so often and wonder if the wording is correct or not. Maybe this is just me though. Despite this though, the dialogue is generally very well written and thoughtful. The amnesiac protagonist you play as in particular has a lot of character and exhibits realistic thoughts and reactions that characterize a person that seemingly appears uninspired within the game physically.

Gameplay (combat):
Whereas Persona and other JRPGs have you with a group of the characters bashing baddies F/E is all about you and your chosen servant. This means all combat is one on one with the master (your person) providing support to the servant in battle (which you also control of course). Battles take place in an interestingly different manner. While still turn based like a JRPG, a turn takes place in six phases where the goal is ALWAYS to override your opponent's actions. This is done in a rock-paper-scissors fashion (which even the game will call it) where you have guard (which counters attacks), attack (which bypasses a guard breaking hit), and break (which shatters the effects of guarding). Aside from these three constant choices you will also have items, code casts (spells for masters) and skills (for servants).

Each of the 6 phases in a turn play out in a string with all of your choices being chosen BEFORE the start of the phases. This creates a problem as many will note that these battles can play out in a very luck based fashion. Only some of your opponent's actions will be known to you so you can only truly plan for those known actions when setting up your moves for a turn. When it comes down to difficult enemies (or servant bosses) this can be killer. If you end up surviving several encounters with a specific enemy type more of their actions will be revealed to you on a basis but this still relies on you surviving multiple encounters against said enemy. Enemies utilize a fixed set of patterns so if you have good enough memory, you can eventually overcome them by identifying key traits of the patterns their using.

Further complicating matters is the fact that you cannot save whenever you are in areas with enemies (the arenas) so if you go into these dungeon crawling areas, you have to win every battle you go into and come out alive in order to save and make sure that time wasn't all wasted. If you dare play as Caster and have one foul turn, you may find a good 30-60 minutes of grinding wasted so you'll want to play battles with fair caution to your health. The last problem with battles is the fact that you'll probably wish you generated experience a bit faster than you do. Sometimes it feels like the typical JRPG grind and to me that's always been a turn off and probably part of the reason I left the JRPG field after a while. Thankfully the game identifies a recommended level to be when it comes time to face each end-week opponent so you'll have an idea of how to pace yourself.

Presentation (graphics, sound, etc.):
In terms of production values F/E's graphics are pretty decent and generally make use of vibrant colors. Character models look and animate well enough and stand to prove the PSP's graphical capabilities as a mini PS2. The game also feels proper in the sound department for the most part. There are voice samples interspersed during key conversations and story bits which purists may be happy to know are done with the original Japanese voiceovers. The one thing that does strike me in terms of presentation is the game's soundtrack, which seems to almost always convey relaxing tunes in some sort of jazzy nature. Like I mentioned, when I first heard a tune from the game it got me oddly interested in it for some reason (then again I do have a fondness for some game compositions).

While on topic about the game's music, with the Limited Edition you get a ten track music disc and a mini artbook of sorts. The soundtrack omits a lot of tracks (several of which are pretty enjoyable I thought) but the ten on there are pretty enjoyable and it includes the themes of the main three servants. The artbook casing the CD is held in is hardcover with the mini artbook attached inside on the left, featuring a small selection of pieces by one of the artists who worked on the game (Arco Wada according to the book). While one would hope for a more expanded soundtrack or artbook the extra $9 I paid was worth it for me just based on the catchy tunes which I seemingly fell sucker for.

Conclusion:
Overall Fate/Extra is a strange beast as a game. Some consider it similar to Persona which in some regards just clearly doesn't feel accurate enough to me. Maybe it's a title inspired by Persona's existence. Whereas Persona was a JRPG that dabbled in what seemed to be visual novel elements, Fate/Extra works in reverse. It was born of visual novel works and chose to cross over into RPG gaming grounds. Perhaps the creators saw Persona's success in genre mixing as an inspiration to try crossing the genres from the other side. Even though the game has some seemingly glaring annoyances, if you can play through them you will (hopefully) find one interestly different RPG. These days I feel like I could hardly stomach some JRPGs because of the time sink they represent (usually thanks to hefty grinding or slow plots) but I feel like this is one I will be finishing because of how different it feels and how interesting the story seems compared to some of the other choices available on the PSP and elsewhere.

Pros:
- The plot is very interesting
- Fair amount of replayability between gender, servant, and key story choices
- No need for franchise familiarity, it's interesting as-is
- Depending on your taste in tunes the game has a good soundtrack

Cons:
- Luck based battle system that can be very punishing
- Battle grinding can be monotonous occasionally
- Generally repetitive in terms of the dungeon crawling play (seems expected though)
- Shares the same small world scope that Persona has as an RPG so not much to see exactly
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on February 6, 2012
If you a fan of the Fate series this is a no brainer. The dialogue is very well written. It's witty and fun to read. No cliche blabbing that is so rampant in JRPG's, no surprise as it's wriiten by the same person as the superb visual novel. For people not familiar with the series there is still a lot to like. Everything in the game is kept simple, which is great especially for a portable title. A school serves as the only HUB world in the game with a handy menu to teleport to diiferent sections. It's a shame other RPGs lack this feature it saves so much point less walking. The battle system is simple but requires thinking to figure out various attack patterns. The game is set up by weeks. During the first six says you train in an arena where you also complete various tasks to gsin entry to the boss. mfight ait the end of the week. The bosses are awesome. Both the masters and their servants are always brilliantly conveyed with tons of personality. The excellent tunes from Fate/Stay Night return along with some new ones. All the. Voiced dialogue is in Japanese as it was in the visual novel. If you're looking for a portableRPG with a fun battle system, smooth presentation, and great story you can't go wrong with this game.
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on May 17, 2012
So upon getting this game, I gave it two playthroughs. The game has several choices that change things up for you depending on your choices so its certainly worth at least 2. Currently on my third.

The gameplay is pretty basic. Its basically rock, paper, scissors with a bit of dynamite thrown in and is probably the weakest part of the game. If you can tolerate that you will find the game very enjoyable.

The story is pretty good, and if you are a fan of any fate or even type-moon games you should not pass this up.
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on December 1, 2011
This game is a MUST BUY for any fans of TYPE-MOON-- it allows you to participate in a virtual Holy Grail War, and while the battle system is extremely frustrating, it really does match up with the concepts that are emphasized in combat with the Fate franchise. That is, gathering information on your enemies in order to properly defeat them. If you don't work to research your opponents, you will fail, and you will fail horribly.

This game is full of dead-end choices in the visual novel portions of the game, it actually has a splash screen when you start the game warning you to save often.

I am aware of how lame this review is, everyone else can help you with more descriptive words, I just must say, as a TYPE-MOON fanatic (or as I like to say, "TYPE-MANIAC"), I bought 5 copies of the limited edition. If I had more money, I'd buy more copies. There is a sequel that will be released in Japan next year, and I really want it to be localized. I love Fate, and that is why I love this game.

If you do not love the Fate franchise, you may find an interesting game, but you will never get as much out of it as someone who has read Fate/Stay Night, Fate/Zero, and Fate/Hollow Ataraxia.

The short version:
This game is worth your money either way, if you are a JRPG fan. This game is worth more than it costs to TYPE-MOON fans. It is not worth your money if you do not like reading, and it is not worth your money if you cannot handle the grind.

You should always play this game with your PSP plugged in, you cannot save while you are earning experience in the arena. You should always over-level, because it's possible for even random enemies to completely destroy you if you are not careful, and you WILL lose your progress. Even on easy or normal.
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on February 14, 2013
While this game is easily 5 star material it has limited appeal and choices. I mainly play games because they have an inviting and deep storyline, and I knew that the Fate series had just that. When I first got it, I immediately tore open the package, wanting to play. I found the tutorial part rather dull (might be because I've watched walkthroughs of this game), but when I got to the actual gameplay, I selected Archer, and quickly passed through the game with relative ease. The story is interesting and the funfacts it contains of both your Servant and the enemy ones mainly kept it alive for me. The Battle System, while interesting and slightly difficult because of unknown enemy attack patterns, gets boring rather easily. By the time I got to level 34, I was spamming the same moves over and over again, and I'm currently on a New Game Plus, where Enemy Attack Patterns carry over - It was a good thing since on this second playthrough I picked Caster, the hardest one out of the bunch, but it quickly got dull. The only thing that makes the battle system bearable is the Skills that you can use.
All in all, I would definitely recommend this game, but if you tire of grinding and the battle system easily, you will not enjoy it as much as others could.

As a final word - there are many references to the Fate/stay night and Tsukihime franchises (with some characters actually being based off of/from them), and if you don't know these very well, then you may have trouble understanding what they're talking about.
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on November 26, 2011
This game is definitely tailored for Fate/stay night fans, if you haven't played the original ADV or watched the anime, you might not enjoy as much as the fans do.

Story is amazing; the Japanese style story-telling where the player decide the story means multiple endings, including bad ones.

Game-play can be interesting at first, but when the grinding starts it can be very boring. (Recommend not to over-leveled your character otherwise it will be very boring)
Basic dungeon crawling, a bit of puzzle solving, and lots of memorizing enemies attack patterns.
The action is anime style fighting with lots of lightning effects and calling-your-attack's name-shouting.

Most of the casts are loveable. The story can be very disturbing depends on your view, this game might be rated Teen, but the original Fate/Stay Night is a Mature game. So, you've been warned.
There is no gory contents, just flashy fighting; but the more mature fans can pick out the disturbing pieces in the storyline.

To sum this up, play this game for the engrossing story; don't expect turning the game on for some light entertainment.

-Note- This game has many many ways to kill you (Dead end/Game over), even the game itself warns you before you play, that you need to save a lot.
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on December 9, 2014
Fate/Extra is a nice little gift from Nasu himself. What's that you say, the Holy Grail War as a playable game?! Well, sign me up right now!

The problem is the game itself feels VERY derivative of the Persona series, and without all the fun little features which makes the aforementioned franchise stand out above the rest. After a while the grinding starts feeling a chore, since the combat system doesn't nearly have enough to keep it interesting.

Yet the story is very interesting and it motivated me to keep grinding and preparing myself for the next Servant boss battle, which are quite amazing, really. The servants are interesting, most of the masters are as well, the plot is good and the game has all these nice details which tie-in with Nasu's other franchises which will give you a pleasant feeling when you spot them. So, all in all, a decent RPG for the psp and a must-buy if you enjoy the Fate franchise. If you don't, then I'm not sure if you'll like this game.
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on March 20, 2014
I'm a shameless Type-Moon afficianado, so I'm biased towards liking any of their material. Nevertheless, if this game had been mediocre in play I'd have abandoned it without a second thought. Instead, I've completed it once and have just started my second run through it. That's high praise, given that it comes from a fellow with a horribly short attention span for video games and practically no patience for RPG's.

I loved the Rock-Paper-Scisors combat system for it's simplicity, and the story carries the game nicely. The best part, just like any Type-Moon product, is the characters. The pomp and borderline narcissism of Red Saber made the game for me, and I've taken a liking to Caster on my second run.

Highly recommended; it's a pity that the sequel, CCC, will likely not get an English translation.
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on November 5, 2011
Fate/Extra is an interesting game. When you first start playing, the game feels like a complete rip-off of the Persona titles. From the visual styling and calendar-based daily cycle to the nighttime dungeon battles and social interaction, everything feels like an attempt to capitalize on the popularity of its Shin Megami Tensei rival. That being said, Persona 3 stands as my favorite game of all time, so there are definitely worse franchises to imitate. Like Persona, it takes about an hour to get through Fate's introductory material, but after that, the story really takes off. The scenarios were written by Nasu, of Fate/Stay Night PC fame, but since this story takes place in an alternate universe from the original, no prior knowledge of the Fate series is necessary. The writing is surprisingly solid and thought-provoking, although the "visual novel" -esque narration screens can feel a bit long-winded at first. You start by playing through a mostly linear prologue using a generic male character, after which you are able to select one of three companion types and a gender for your character. The gameflow is similar to Persona 3/4, where you spend your daytime hours attending high school and chatting to other students, often leading to clues that will aid in your nighttime confrontations. Combat occurs inside randomly generated wireframe dungeons, not unlike Tartarus or Mayonaka TV in Persona, and at the end of each calendar week, you'll face off against a rival and their servant, again not unlike the full-moon showdowns against Arcana demons in Persona 3. Even your servant, who does all of your fighting and leveling, is vaguely reminiscent of using a persona to deal damage in combat. Battle structure is a paper-rock-scissors affair, where memorizing your opponent's patterns is key to inflicting more damage than you sustain. I'm sure this was intended to mimic the push-turn system that garnered great praise in Persona, but in that department, Fate/Extra fails to execute the mechanic properly. Due to your enemies' unexpected changes in pattern, you could literally do everything right and still get beaten, but more often than not, a trial-and-error approach will eventually prevail. On that note, it is also very important to maintain multiple save files, as the branching story and choice-based plot progression can lead to dead ends and undesirable outcomes. This is actually Fate/Extra's greatest strength; while the game is not as long or immersive as Persona, it does offer a comparable amount of replay value, especially considering the number of possible player-servant combinations and a couple difficulty settings with New Game Plus. The social elements are fun and teasingly titilating, as well, though they ultimately feel more shallow than Persona's social links.

Many fans of Fate will be frustrated by the game's constant comparison to Persona and will claim that the game manages to forge an identity all its own, but I believe it falls short of that goal. In blatantly stealing so many elements from those games, this new entry seals its own Fate (pun intended), and it would be ridiculous to expect anything besides contant comparison by people who have played both franchises. However, that does not mean there is a complete lack of originality or fun to be discovered in Fate/Extra. Its graphic presentation is gorgeous, and with the PSP nearing the end of its lifespan, it's nice to see a good JRPG grace the UMD library. In all honesty, I would never have expected it to get a US release, but Aksys has done well to bring overlooked Japanese titles to America. Voiceovers are still in Japanese, which will please purists, and the game is very reasonably priced, with a standard version at $29.99 and a Limited Edition (box, artbook, and soundtrack included) at only $39.99. Many niche Japanese games see PSN release as a digital download only, but considering most fans of this subgenre appreciate the collectibility of a hard copy and bonus materials, the beautiful packaging and presentation are a definite plus. It's no secret that Aksys models its publishing efforts after Atlus of America (which publishes Persona, of course), so it's appropriate that Fate/Extra gains proper attention from their localization team. In the end, I would definitely recommend Fate/Extra to any fan of anime-styled JRPGs or of the Fate franchise, and while it doesn't reach the lofty position of the games that obviously inspired it, it can be a fun and compelling way to add some Extra life to your PSP (again, pun intended).
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