Developer: Nippon Ichi Software
Publisher: NIS America
Release Date: March 17th 2015
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for purpose of review
Typical, sequels build upon the basis set up by their predecessors by adding new features, characters, and story to make everything feel fresh and new once more. Sadly, someone at NIS forgot all of this when designing The Awakened Fate: Ultimatum, tossing out anything remotely interesting from its predecessor, The Guided Fate: Paradox. What is left is a game that lacks any of the charm or fun of the original. This, as some often say, is a “bad thing.”
Before we discuss what went so horribly wrong with AFU, let’s look at the basics first. AFU is a generic rogue-like of the lowest order, as per genre conventions. Each of the game’s fifteen chapters consists of moving your character—the hilariously named “Shin Kamikaze,” around 5-10 floor dungeons in search of the teleporter on each level that will take you to the next area and eventually the dungeon’s end. While this gameplay is technically fine, and it is reminiscent of every other rogue-like out there. Not much separates it from games like Pokemon Mystery Dungeon or Shiren the Wanderer.
The one thing that does play a bit differently here is Shin’s ability to transform into a demon or angel to match the various types of enemies that lurk in each dungeon. While this is cool in theory, it more often than not leads to bad gameplay where you end up either taking insane amounts of damage from being ambushed while in your base human form or running out of SP, and then being ripped apart by enemies. Each form also has a number of skills you can use to level the playing field, but the fact that each of these uses the same SP you need to remain transformed. This means using them is often dangerous and will sometimes get you killed rather than saving the day. Making matters worse is the fact that you only have about 12 skills to choose from between both forms—a number far smaller than the sixty plus unique skills found in The Guided Fate Paradox.
This, as I alluded to earlier, is the biggest problem with AFU. The game is just a huge step down from everything that has come before it. Gone are the funny costumes, goofy skills, and huge bosses of its predecessor and in their place are generic swords, enemies, and roughly three unique bosses in the entirety of the main story line. Indeed aside from its plot—which I will get to in a minute, AFU is in every way a worse game than other similar titles that NIS has put out in the past five years. Sure, the jump to 3D graphics is a neat trick, but, really, compared to what has come before it, AFU lacks a soul and is nothing more than a shambling and empty shell of a game. It is strung together with fishing wire comprised of a highly inappropriate grim dark plot and archetypal characters drawn straight from NIS’s usual tome of demons and angels with over-sized eyes and outlandish outfits.
In short, The Awakened Fate: Ultimatum is not a bad game and plays well enough. Sadly its complete lack of variety in skills and equipment, overly serious plot and characters, and generally generic gameplay make this a game to avoid for all but the most ardent of NIS diehards and rogue-like fans. This in mind, I give The Awakened Fate: Ultimatum a 6 out of 10.
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