Preview: Fate/Extella is about taking control

Games can be an endless series of accomplishments. Tasks are presented to you; success comes from meeting or exceeding expectations. Eventually, you’re left feeling as though what you did made some sort of difference. Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star leans heavily into that notion. You’ve won Fate/Extra’s Holy Grail War, but the fighting is far from over.

Fate/Extella picks up almost immediately after Fate/Extra left off. Your memory has been damaged after coming into contact with the Moon Cell core, also known as the Holy Grail, but you and Saber Nero are now rulers of the Moon Cell. With the Sovereign’s Regalia, Nero will impose her will over the artificial environment; it’s her right as ruler and winner of war. However, becoming the ruler and actually being able to control your new territories are apparently different things.

Immediately after taking power, your rule is challenged. Instead of owning it all, you need to fight for every piece of territory. Thus, Fate/Extella enters Musou territory. You’re placed on a map, which has various districts. Each one is owned by either you or an opposing Servant. Your goal is to retake these areas with the help of AI ally servants (which I never really saw). How? By defeating each area’s Aggressor units and eliminating the Plant processors that will spawn additional Aggressors that challenge your control over spaces you already own. After you control enough of the map, the Boss Servant will appear. Defeat him or her to gain glory.

Actually going about this involves lots of button mashing. Each Servant has normal and heavy attacks, as well as an Extella Maneuver and transformation. Chaining together normal and heavy attacks can deal massive damage to the hordes of enemies that appear, with the Extella Maneuver and transformation abilities offering additional strength when faced with more intimidating opponents.

These standard melee attacks are supplemented by skills and Mystic Codes. The former are passive abilities that can be collected when defeating Aggressors in the field. These can offer boons like increased movement speed or elemental attacks. It’s also possible to Craft Mystic Codes that you can use to aid your Servant in battle. While you aren’t physically present, your sense of self is inside the Regalia ring. You can use various abilities to aid your character, such as healing spells, a certain number of times in each mission.

This is accompanied by some very light visual novel elements. Between Fate/Extella Main Story encounters, you’ll be taken to the room you share with your Servant. There, you can engage in conversations. These allow people to get to know the character better and form connections. They also tend to be laden with sorts of innuendo and romantic connotations, so keep that in mind if you’re intrigued by the premise.

Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star is about taking back what’s rightfully yours. You need to use all of your might to defeat hordes of enemies, most of them meaningless minions. Success means gaining control over a virtual kingdom. It’s a new opportunity to beat-’em-up in the new year.

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