Marvelous has forged a whole new destiny for Fate/Extella. The game, which was once bound to the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita, has been assigned a new master. The Nintendo Switch is getting the beat’em up on July 25, 2017. But what makes this new iteration of an existing game so appealing? Why should people be ready to stand alongside Nero Claudius again?
One reason might be the very nature of the game. Musou-style games are often available during a new system’s launch window. The Nintendo 3DS had Samurai Warriors: Chronicles, the PlayStation Vita had Dynasty Warriors Next, the Wii U had Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper and the PlayStation 2 had Dynasty Warriors 2. The Switch in Japan had Dragon Quest Heroes I & II, a rather lackluster port of Koei Tecmo’s Dragon Quest Musou game. We haven’t had such a game released in other regions, which means Fate/Extella fills a gap in this console’s library. It allows people to switch things up when it comes to what they’re playing.
Another perk is being able to take Fate/Extella on the go. This isn’t the first time the game has been portable. It did appear on the PlayStation Vita at launch. However, that version of the game was a pale shadow of the PlayStation 4 release. The font is difficult to read during the story segments and in-battle, character models lack definition, it has longer load times and it offers a fraction of the number of enemies onscreen at once. It felt like Marvelous made a lot of compromises to make that version happen. The Switch version looks and runs as well as the PlayStation 4 version, both when docked and undocked, resulting in a better and truer portable iteration.
As an example, the following image is taken from the PlayStation Vita version of Fate/Extella. It is from Saber’s very first story mission, as she is fighting to reclaim land from Elizabeth Bathory, a Lancer.
This is a screenshot from that same segment in the Switch version of Fate/Extella. The difference is rather evident; character models look better, environments feature greater detail, there are more enemies, and the text is easier to read.
When it comes to comparing the Switch and PlayStation 4 versions, the playing field is more level. The only real difference comes down to frame rate. The PlayStation 4 version runs at 60fps at 1080p; the Switch version is 30fps at 1080p. Aside from that, the difference is negligible. The load times are practically identical. I would even say the number of enemies onscreen is similar.
This is a screenshot from the opening tutorial in the PlayStation 4 version. At this point, a massive amount of enemies are all onscreen at once and are being attacked in a small area.
This is from the Switch version, right before Saber begins cutting into that same group of enemies. The crowd may be a bit smaller, but it appears similar in size.
And, as one final comparison, this is that same scene on the PlayStation Vita.
The main draw of the Fate/Extella Switch version is knowing this is a complete edition of the game. It received quite a bit of costume DLC when it was released on PlayStation platforms. All 35 outfits here here. These were $1.99 each when sold separately, though they were also available in weekly bundles that cost between $2.49 and $14.99 each. Should people like a large wardrobe of immediately accessible outfits, this version can save them a lot of money.
There is also one custom that is a Switch exclusive. It is the Unshackled Bride for Saber (Nero Claudius). This is an outfit the character has worn before in other games, such as Fate/Grand Order and Fate/Extra CCC. It is an unzipped, white bodysuit with a bustle and veil. It doesn’t change the look of her attacks, only her outfit. It is purely cosmetic, but people who love the character might appreciate having this extra option.
The way I see it, the Switch version of Fate/Extella is for two groups of people. One is Switch owners who haven’t played it yet. If someone with the system wants a 3D beat’em up, this is one of the few English options out there. The other is Switch owners who have played the game already and want the best portable port. This is a truer handheld iteration of Fate/Extella, one with every possible add-on. If you fall into either category, it might be worth investigating and investing in this game.