A gamer and writer at heart who wants to combine his hobbies into one. I am 25 years old and I'm from the Netherlands. Having played many games over the years, I wanted to express my love for them, however obscure they may be!
(Note: This is an archived review. While it’s still a readable article and my opinions will most likely still get across, it is not up to date with how I currently write. Of course, I won’t stop you from reading and greatly appreciate you being here, but I’ll eventually be reworking this review to be up-to-date with my current standards. My apologies for the inconvenience.)
Happy Solomon singularity release everyone! To celebrate the release of the final chapter in our quest to take back the future of humanity, Nep’s Gaming Paradise will have a special Fate/Grand Order themed week. I was originally considering making it a Fate week in general but I haven’t played Fate/Extra and Fate/Extella yet so that is an idea for later. For now I’d like to focus on the Smartphone game and also the start of a new series of articles I’ve been planning for a while, Nep’s Love/Hatestories. To briefly sum up what this new series is for: I am explaining my love or hate for a franchise or game in particular without criticizing it like a review.
So why of all things do I love a Smartphone game? Aren’t they the literal cancer that’s made to be a quick cash grab and ruin quite a lot of (Japanese) franchises that stopped making games for consoles and instead moved to Mobile? It is true that I myself am not a fan of Smartphone games either. If you like them sure, good for you, but they’re not my cup of tea. Yet, when it comes to Fate/Grand Order, I have played this game for over a year now for at least an hour a day. I even have a special channel in my Discord Server specifically dedicated to Fate. Why is that I like this game so much? Today on Nep’s Lovestory, we cover the popular Mobile game Fate/Grand Order!
Story and characters
The Fate franchise is a long-running series of novels, manga, games and anime. Originally starting as an Erotic Visual Novel, the franchise has since evolved in many subseries, from Battle Royale settings to RPG games. Most known would probably be Fate/Zero, which is one of the most popular anime.. ever. The story of the Fate franchise can be easily explained in a few sentences: there is a master who is able to summon servants. Servants are other names for Heroic Spirits, who are fictional, historical or mythological characters from the past of our world. Servants can be summoned into seven different classes originally, with several other classes in different situations. The main character of Fate/Zero summoned Artoria Pendragon for example, the King (or in this case Queen) of Britain who wields the magical sword Excalibur. These servants fight against each other in a battle royale with a prize waiting at the end, the wish-granting Holy Grail.
The story of Fate/Grand Order takes this setting as base, but instead of fighting against other masters for the holy grail, you fight to save the future of humanity. An evil being whose name I won’t spoil has the power to wipe out the future of humanity, and in turn marks that after the 31st of December 2019, the world will cease to exist. To prevent it from happening, there are seven singularities to travel back to in time. These singularities take historical time periods, like the Hundred Years’ War, but twists them around making them historic events that were never supposed to take place. In order to fix the singularities, you and your servants travel to the singularities to fix the unknown occurrence and gather the Holy Grail at the end. As you might have guessed I am a huge fan of history and mythologies, so this is my drug however inaccurate they may be. After all, making them completely accurate wouldn’t make for the most interesting of stories and wouldn’t allow this many servants to join in on the fight.
The story overall is fine, but the main attraction to this game are the characters. Counting the Japanese version, there are currently over 200 servants in the game. Obviously some characters are better than others, but the reason I love them most of all is their historical accuracy despite them being Japanified. Of course you have Artoria Pendragon, who is a woman but also the father of son Mordred, who.. is also a girl, but aside from the weird ideas Japan has, their backstories and personality are arguably very accurate. Take for example Siegfried, the hero of the epic poem Nibelungenlied. I took this example mostly because I’m very familiar with the history behind Siegfried, and the Fate adaptation of him is in that regard a good representation. They touch on his fight with Fafnir and him bathing in his blood to become invulnerable, to his noble and gentle personality who cared for the wellbeing of everyone except himself basically. And it’s not just his characters that gets an accurate backstory, but it’s implemented in his fighting style as well. His stances are references to German Swordstances, he’s strong against dragons because he slayed Fafnir, and his Noble Phantasm is his sword Balmung. Noble Phantasms are essentially super attacks that do massive damage, and are usually not revealed until you get said character because it spoils their true name, and by knowing their true name you would also know their weaknesses. In Siegfried’s case, a spot on his back that did not get cleansed by the dragon blood because of a leaf. Siegfried is a meme in the community, but his character is true to his nature.
Gameplay: Simple is best!
Fate/Grand Order follows the gameplay of a card-based JRPG, meaning that there are characters to level and enemies to kill. A battle usually has 1 to 3 turns, and you can bring a maximum of five servants with you and a servant of a support. You don’t have to add said support as friend, but you do lose the benefit of using their servant’s Noble Phantasm. There can only be three servants at once on the field, each having their own deck of cards. Five cards are picked out and three can be used per turn to attack the enemy. The typing of the cards can be three of the following: Buster for maximum damage, Arts for charging your Noble Phantasm gauge and Quick for gaining critical stars which can result in critical attacks for the following turn. You can chain these types together for additional benefits, and chain the ones from the same servant for an extra attack. It’s simple gameplay, but for a mobile game I don’t really want it to be complex.
The game also follows a rock-paper-scissor system, with one class being strong, weak or neutral against another. This means that you can’t just go into any battle with the same servants and expect to win every time. Some nodes are easier than others of course, but for some battles you will need an actual strategy. Throwing your best Sabers at a node full of Lancers will usually work, but characters differentiate from each other by stats, deck of cards and most of all skills and Noble Phantasm. Taking all these into account, you can make several unique synergies that don’t necessarily rely on class advantage but on cards and skills. But the absolute best part about the characters in Fate/Grand Order is that, while some are stronger than others, almost all of them are and will remain viable. You don’t need the highest rarity servants to play and enjoy the game, as the lower rarity can do the job just fine. They might actually give you a challenge as well which is always appreciated. This is probably my most favourite aspect of the game as there are no servants that I have no intention of ever using. Whenever the situation calls for it, I use that lower rarity servants and have fun using them because of their unique set of skills and Noble Phantasm.
After every battle you gain some rewards like materials or level-up cards to increase the levels and skills of your servant. Their level cap depends on what rarity they are, but depending on how much you love that servant you can use a mechanic called Palingenesis to raise their cap even higher. This mechanic is limited, so you’re able to give only your most special servants that treatment. There is always the debate in the community for grailing for gameplay or love, but I always choose the latter. Game isn’t difficulty anyways. I for example have used my grails on Kiyohime and Xuanzang, but there are many servants to choose from and every servant will benefit from getting increases stats.
A solid interface
What I also like about Fate/Grand Order is its easy understandable interface. I have never gotten lost in any of the menus in the game, which is a problem I did have with games such as Azur Lane. Disclaimer: I do like that game as well (though I don’t play it a lot), but the overwhelming amount of options keep me away from playing it more regularly. When you play Grand Order, what you see is what you get. This goes for both battle and regular browsing. Battling also has multiple options like sped-up Noble Phantasm- and attack animations making grinding far less tedious. Almost every screen has a ‘’help’’ button as well in case you need it.
The summoning of servants is done through an animation of one or ten spinning cards. Admittedly while the animation can be satisfying to watch, Fate/Grand Order has absolute abysmal summoning rates, and depending on your preference is one of the most expensive gacha games out there. I have these days where I am super lucky and get what I want in only a few rolls, while I have other days where I go dry for very long, sometimes even resulting in not getting what I want. I even had multiple rolls back-to-back which were the absolute minimum you could possible get from a roll, and trust me: it brings depression. And then there is my friend who gets everything he wants with as little rolls as possible. I hate you Chris.
Speaking of friends, I also am a fan of the community surrounding fate. Every community has its ups and downs, but I have truly made some good friends through and thanks to the game. I already had some friends on Discord and in a Facebook group, but not too long ago the game introduced a ‘’personal message’’ feature when you can write a line of max. 23 characters under your name. It’s a minor addition to some, but I’ve been able to make contact with other players through this feature and some even added me on Discord. Probably my most memorable moment was when someone thanked me for putting Xuanzang on support with bond level 10 for the Solomon event. If anyone who reads this has Neppy on their friends list, I truly love you all.
Constant updates: you won’t escape this hell!
The other major element I love about Fate/Grand Order is the constant weekly updates we get. There will almost never be a week where we don’t get a new story or event, and when we do it’s usually compensated by a new Summoning Banner or having to spend half AP to start a mission. I never get the feeling that the game is becoming dead, and if it does have its quiet period I can use that time to farm with a setup so that I don’t have to play too actively and enjoy some time off. Even in Japan the story is still going on, as seen in the video down below.
Events are the main attraction to Fate/Grand Order when the story is not progressing. Every festivity like Christmas and Halloween there is one, but also in between at random occasions. Events usually come with a free 4-star servant for everyone and a special gacha servant with a rate-up during that period. The event itself consists of a story and multiple quests used to grind materials and currency for the respective reward shop. I always empty said shops with the exception of monuments because it will be of great benefit later on when I want to level or ascend my servants. The story of the events are also fun, more often than not being satire and making fun of servants or trends ongoing in the game.
Now you too understand why I love Fate/Grand Order. Obviously I have my problems with the game as well, but I’ve been playing it daily and thoroughly enjoyed my time. If I could go back in time and prevent myself from ever starting this game, would I? Probably to be honest, would have saved myself a lot of time and money, but now that I’m in I am also glad to be part of it. So what do you think of the game or have I per chance convinced you? Let me know in the comments down below!