On the run up to the release of The Awakened Fate Ultimatum, I found myself finishing off The Guided Fate Paradox in about 50 hours and absolutely loved it. I’m hoping to find the same enjoyment with the sequel as I revisit Celestia.
Ultimatum features a new cast of characters but the war between angels and demons is still going strong, despite Satanael’s fall in Paradox, as someone else has picked up the mantel of being the new big bad with hopes to destroy Celestia. You play as your average student Shin Kamikaze who’s suddenly murdered by demons on his way home, but skilled angel Jupiel and one of the more friendly, co-operative demons Ariael save him before he succumbs to death – the only difference now is that he’s been imbued with the Fate Awakening Crystal that gives him the power of God, and so he’s no longer able to return to his life on Earth.
Following Shin’s journey as he comes to terms with his new power and the responsibility that comes with it, he quickly realises that every single decision he makes will have consequences and no matter how hard he tries, he won’t be able to help everyone. Jupiel is a friendly, military-minded and hopes to harness Shin’s strength and mind, whilst Ariael keeps an eye on him as an outgoing, brilliant scientist and who implanted the crystal in him; they both have spats over who gets to spend more time with you, and choices you make decide on who you spend more time with, giving you good reason to play through more than once.
The gameplay mechanics have had a noticeable, welcome makeover from what was available in Paradox, with you being able to attack in all directions now rather than just north, east, south and west; this is both a blessing and a curse as it makes the game much more engrossing but now more enemies are able to attack and corner you at any given time – you’ll have to plan your moves ahead to avoid this. It’s a strategic dungeon-crawler where you’ll be climbing floor upon floor to clear said dungeons, with the hopes that you’ll become more God-like so that you can take on the demon army as the angels personal, ultimate weapon.
A new feature to Ultimatum is that you can ‘deitize’ into angel and devil forms with both giving you access you unique abilities based on light and darkness. Angelic enemies will take more damage in your demon form and vice-versa and you can switch on the fly, but being in those forms causes every little action to eat up your SP so you have to use it wisely; you can still attack in your normal form, and use items to benefit you or to harm enemies.
Whilst the game has become more complex in ways, some of the more annoying aspects of Paradox have been removed such as the burst system where your weapons would become less useful unless you spent money to boost them again, now you just find or buy new weapons and increase your stats with the use of CP which you earn in battle and through the decisions you make; there’s angel and demon grids to fill out, but they all work towards making you more resilient and stronger than before.
The choice system is new too and at various points in the game you’ll be expected to make a decision and to live with the consequences. These choices genuinely feel like they carry weight and had me feeling guilty a lot of the time, despite thinking that I made the right decision; there are points where taking pity on an enemy can lead to the death of an innocent person, or you might upset Jupiel or Ariael. It puts emphasis on the importance of these decisions and goes into detail of how Shin copes with it, how he has to bear the weight of others deaths and if he really did the right thing, and that he’ll have to live with not knowing if things could’ve gone better had he reacted differently – it’s really well done and the choices are impactful.
The visuals have received a makeover too featuring 3D models when dungeon-crawling rather than 2D sprites; I loved the 2D sprites but I do prefer the 3D models as they allow for more gameplay options as mentioned earlier. There are a variety of dungeons to crawl through that range from icy areas to Hell-like areas which have different monsters roaming their halls but, honestly, the most annoying enemy had to be this bowling ball-like thing with wings – it was not my buddy. The character design and portraits are where the visuals shine the most, with vibrant colours, dynamic images and beautiful CG images which you can gaze at at anytime via the main menu; I’m willing to admit I chose to stay with Ariael mostly due to her design but I grew to love her as a character.
Audio is top-notch too with a fantastic OST and voice-acting. Well-known talent including Johnny Yong Bosch, Michelle Ruff and Lauren Landa lend their voices to much of the main cast and the Japanese voice-over equally makes for a nice listening experience; the girls of Love Live! reprise their roles as a few of the angels from Paradox have cameos here, and it’s nice to see them again after the ordeals they faced on their own journeys. Japanese group Yōsei Teikoku return to compose the OST which will please fans, and I’ve been encouraged to check out more of their work through the two Fate games; the opening songs alone make me want to hear more.
I’m hoping to see another installment in the Fate series eventually as I’m really enjoying it and its unique take on the old tale of angels vs demons. It excels in many of the aspects that it tackles, providing an excellent dungeon-crawler with visual novel elements that are sure to entertain those interested in the genre. There may not be a whole lot to do other than the lengthy main story which will take up a good few dozen hours of your time but the choice-making system pushes you to replay it in the future, and considering how great the game is, there are much worse ways to spend your time.