Fate/Samurai Remnant Review

Fate/Samurai Remnant by developer Omega Force and publisher KoeiTecmo GamesSony PlayStation 5 review written by Nick with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

If you are a veteran of the Holy Grail War that is the primary plot point throughout the Fate series, Fate/Samurai Remnant should feel familiar. Even if you are not acquainted with the prior games, anime and manga, Fate/Samurai Remnant is a pretty approachable action-RPG that I found quite difficult to put down.

I’ve long been a fan of Fate – my son introduced me to the anime years ago and I’ve sunk many (maybe hundreds?) of hours into the various video game titles such as Fate/Extella Link. Fate/Samurai Remnant is the latest gaming release, with a very different setting from some of the prior titles, which had a much more contemporary or futuristic feeling. Instead we wind up in Japan during the 17th century. There is a lot going on with the story, especially if you’re relatively new to the concept of Masters and their summoned Servants. Our protagonist is Miyamoto Iori.

Thankfully the world-building is pretty solid here. It can be rather lengthy with its exposition dropped on players in large chunks initially, but if you’re invested in the protagonist and their story (which I very much was), it’s a worthwhile investment. This does give the early proceedings an almost visual novel-like feel to it because there is just so much text being dumped on the screen, but it’s well localized and it helps that the cutscenes are very well animated, doing the anime proud.

Really, in general the graphics are pretty enjoyable. The visuals are vibrant and colorful, and the animations are enjoyable and run at a smooth 60fps without any notable drops despite oodles of enemies filling the rooms at times. I especially enjoy many of the over-the-top super attacks that take the scene over when they occur. The music was not what I’d refer to as memorable, but certainly fitting for the game and generally enjoyable.

The Fate/Extella titles had a very sci-fi feel to them that was often rather cold to me. They were fun games, but I didn’t particularly love the settings. False virtual realities and people who might-not-be-actual people made it just a bit harder to develop warm and fuzzy feelings for. The much more authentic feeling of Japan and the characters encountered within the story of Fate/Samurai Remnant resonated considerably better for me.

Once you get through the initial text-heavy beginning, Fate/Samurai Remnant quickly reveals itself as a musuo style action game littered with RPG elements that fans of the Dynasty / Samurai Warriors games should feel quite familiar with. For those who have not played those titles, the basic structure is to have your character moving about the environment, taking on literally hundreds or thousands of easy-to-kill enemies in a one-against-many formula that culminates in bigger battles against much more capable Servants similar to your own.

It's an interesting combination of button-mashing action and the need to explore and power up for the more strategic boss battles. It’s an interesting, layered approach to combat that starts off feeling quite simple but allows enough nuance to keep what would otherwise be really repetitive battles feeling interesting as the stage progresses. Especially when so many of the stages also bake in objectives for you to try and reach within the stages. Another aspect that is worth calling out is that the enemy variety is better than prior games, and that helped to keep me on my toes as I progressed further into the story. I do, however, wish the camera was a bit less obtrusive. In an effort to try and frame areas in a specific way, the camera often gets fixed in such a way that it creates blind spots that had a way of annoying me at the worst of times.

Outside of combat, there is a combination of narrative and an experience system that dangles some nice character progression. There’s a skill tree that you can unlock nodes within as well as customizing your blade along the way. There’s even a sort of tactical game overlaying all of this regarding leylines that adds a bit of a tactical element to everything. Interacting with characters and animals between stages makes your efforts feel more meaningful within the context of the storyline.

Fate/Samurai Remnant is the best game in the series that I have played, full stop. It’s got a familiar combat system with more layers than one would expect for combat that is so accessible. Quests, characters and settings are the best I’ve seen in this series as well, making me well-invested in the story and the people populating it. Like many of these ‘Warriors-style’ games, there’s a fair amount of repetition to be had during stretches of gameplay, but credit to the developers for creating enough enemy varieties, systems for progression and quests to keep things enjoyable along the way.

Score: 8.5 / 10

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