Fate/Samurai Remnant PS5 Review – The Fate franchise hasn’t had the same great success in the West that it’s enjoyed in Japan. It is a fantastical franchise that sees people and historical figures clashing against each other for the chance to win the Holy Grail War and have any wish they desire granted to them.
Fate/Samurai Remnant is the latest entry in the franchise, and though there hasn’t been many titles released to date, Fate/Samurai Remnant is easily the best one so far and a great entry point for newcomers and fans alike.
Fate/Samurai Remnant PS5 Review
The Holy Grail War Begins In Edo, Japan
Fate/Samurai takes place during the Eno period of Japanese history. The story follows Iori, a master, and her servant Raider’s attack. Saber saves Iro, and the two set out to battle in the Holy Grail War, or Edo, Japan, known as the Waxing Moon Festival.
Each heroic spirit belongs to a different type of class, including Saber, Lancer, Rider, and Berserker, among many others. Most of these Heroic Spirits are well-known historical figures.
The mystery and sometimes the key to defeating other servants is discovering who the Heroic Spirit is, as it allows you to discover their Noble Phantasm; their most powerful technique and being able to counter it. The names of the Heroic Spirits are a staple for the franchise, and Fate/Samurai carries this key component throughout the game.
Though you learn of the names of some of the Heroic Spirits early in the game, most of them aren’t revealed until dozens of hours in. This includes Iori’s servant Saber. Though the reveals take time, some players can probably deduce who some of these Spirits are on their own.
A Well Written Story With Memorable Characters
The main story here is pretty solid, and following many of the main story missions will leave you in countless battles against other Heroic Spirits. I found these moments to be the best in the game. Unfortunately, the game is too big to keep this constant pace.
A lot of the game is broken up into you exploring the various districts of Edo, trying to figure out the identity of other masters and servants. Some of these moments can be pretty wholesome as Saber discovers things for the first time that she has never seen in her time. Her ignorance of current life brings her character to life.
Her banters with Iori, who is constantly trying to keep her from killing and destroying parts of the towns during her battles, is a joy to experience, and it builds on both of their characters as you watch them grow throughout the game.
You’ll encounter plenty of Heroic Spirits tied to the story, but some are called Rogue Spirits; namely, Spirits who have appeared without a master. These spirits can sometimes join you in your battles, and some can even be summoned and controlled for short periods.
Some of these spirits fans of Fate/Zero and Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works animes will undoubtedly be recognized and appreciated. Some may even show up as NPCs and merchants to buy exclusive and rare items from.
Musou Combat And Magic Is Simple But Fun
Combat is simple and can get quite tedious. Koei Tecmo adapts the Musou style in the Samurai and Dynasty Warriors games. Though it’s not as vast when it comes to those battles, Iori and Saber constantly find themselves fitting waves of enemies.
Iori can combine his attacks with light and heavy strikes while using various magic. One cool aspect of Iori’s combat is his ability to switch stances. You start with two but can unlock two more as the story progresses.
Each stance is based on an element: Earth, Water, Wind, and Fire. Each one is unique as well. Water is a fast duel-wielding style that sees Iori move rapidly around the battlefield. Wind, however, unlocks a magic gauge and allows Iori to combine physical strikes with magic that drain the magic gauge as he fights.
You can switch stances whenever you want, and it’s encouraged as it can provide unique buffs if you switch stances at the right moment, like preventing you from being stunned when attacked.
Heroic Spirits Stand Out With Powerful Magical Attacks
Saber accompanies you in most of your battles, and though she acts independently, you can give her commands to perform powerful attacks. These attacks aren’t free to spam, and you must build up points through combat to keep those attacks coming.
As you fight, you can build up a meter for Saber. When that meter is full, you can temporarily take control of her and lay down the punishment. Saber is much stronger than Iori and can usually clear an entire field of enemies with a single combo.
Iori and Saber have skill trees to learn new magic and attack skills and increase various stats with skill points. Both acquire skill points by leveling up. Iori can also upgrade and customize his swords from the hilt to the actual sheath, providing various buffs like increased critical damage and extra damage to humans or monsters.
Plenty Of Challenges And Secrets To Find During Exploration
The various districts you get to explore try to look as different as possible, but they begin to blend as you continue to explore Edo. There are plenty of things to do in the districts.
Each district has its challenges to complete and secrets to find. These challenges range from defeating a certain amount of en and finding all the praying shrines, or my favorite, finding dogs and cats and petting them.
The towns are lively, and there are plenty of NPCs to talk to and interact with. The problem is that most of them don’t say anything of great value to the story. They are just people living their lives, but it adds to the believability of a living, breathing world.
Combat and exploration aren’t the only things you’ll be doing. You’ll be thrown into a leyline control battle when heading out on story missions or major side quests. Iori and Saber will appear on a board game with connecting paths. The goal is to move and connect laylines from your main base to gain energy.
Controlling Laylines Isn’t As Fun As They Want You To Think
An enemy base will also appear, and they will try to control the lay lines. Enemies will move across the board, and you’ll head into battle if encountered. Defeating them will give the enemy fewer laylines to control.
You’ll gain unique abilities like allowing Saber to teleport to another lay line and instantly destroy the enemy. Still, you can only use these abilities a limited number of times per encounter. You’ll also have a certain amount of moves to complete your objective, so you’ll fail the encounter if you can’t do it in time.
The game itself isn’t anything significant to look at, but the hand-drawn character portraits and animated action sequences are well done. The opening cinematic, in particular, is a feast for the eyes.
The soundtrack also fails to impress, with no catchy tunes and nothing particularly memorable. Fate/Samurai provides only a Japanese dub, which isn’t bad but can get annoying if you don’t speak Japanese during combat. Iori and Saber will constantly communicate during combat, but you won’t be able to read anything because you’re constantly focused on combat.
Fate/Samurai Remnant is an excellent addition to the Fate franchise and is easily the best use of the franchise for a video game. It’s not a perfect game, but it keeps the franchise’s spirit and tells a well-written story with great characters and some awesome animated combat cutscenes.
Fate/Samurai Remnant releases today for PS5 & PS4.
Review code kindly provided by PR