Fate/Grand Order USA Game Review

Fate/Grand Order USA Game Review

Having been a fan of the Fate/stay night franchise, I was intrigued when the Fate/Grand Order game was released in Japan. It is amazing to thing that an H-visual novel could turn into such a massive, non-hentai franchise that now includes a mobile video game. I had hoped that it might be ported for English audiences. Thankfully, Fate/Grand Order USA has now arrived.

Fate/Grand Order USA

Half Visual Novel

I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that Fate/Grand Order USA should have a strong visual novel component in the story portion of the game. The visual novel aspect does a few things. First, it progresses the plot, such as it is. Second, it introduces players to concepts and such about the Fate/stay night universe. And thirdly, a great deal of it is time wasting, mindless dribble. By this I mean that we see characters talking meaningless stuff at times just so there is text to scroll through. I suppose it is done to help give Servants and such more character. For me, it was kinda boring, I’m sad to say. These “cut scenes” can be skipped, but I haven’t done that in case there’s some plot point I should know.

Fate/Grand Order USA

What’s odd is that while popping through the story, half the time the conversation is “interrupted” just so there can be combat. That aside, I don’t know if the choices the user is sometimes prompted to make actually causes any difference in the game. I suspect not as the choices often seem to be the same thing, worded differently.

Fate/Grand Order USA

The English adaptation is kinda shoddy. There are spelling and grammar errors galore. I’m a little bothered that Saber Artoria has been renamed Altria ’cause “reasons.” Unsurprisingly, most Japanese honorifics are dropped, save for Mash’s use of Senpai to address the player. I guess someone couldn’t think up some otherworldly forced-translation to localize it without massively changing Mash’s character.

Fate/Grand Order USA

Half RPG

The RPG elements come from the story, but also from the Chaldea Gate missions, which are used to farm for EXP cards (so you can level your servants up) and more stuff for leveling up skills, ascending past the star-level caps, etc. While the servants are shown in card form with their stats and such, during the actual combat, we see the actual servants in action.

Fate/Grand Order USA

Fate/Grand Order USA

Fate/Grand Order USA

Combat is somewhat strategic in nature. You take in two active Servants, one of whom is your leader, and up to three reserve Servants. These Servants can be enhanced as well for an additional cost. By cost, I mean that you have a point cap on Servants that can be used. A 5* Saber costs 12 points against your cap, which increases as you level up in the game. Mash cost zero points as she’s a special character. The final active slot is for one of your “friends” (allies) Servant (or a random lead Servant belonging to someone), which also costs zero points.

Fate/Grand Order USA

Fate/Grand Order USA

Once combat starts, each Servant has five Command Cards that can be drawn. Saber Artoria comes with 1 Quick (increases Critical Star drops, which give temp boosts to Combat Cards on the next round), 2 Arts (charge the NP gauge to fire the Nobel Phantasm), and 2 Buster (increased attack strength). While the draws from the combined total of active Servants (15 total cards to choose from) is random, which three you use to have your Servants attack is up to you. Playing three cards for Saber would give her three attacks plus one bonus. Playing three cards of the same type but for different characters would give increasing bonuses with each attack.

Fate/Grand Order USA

Servants also have skills that can be used. These can boost attack, raise defense, stun an enemy, heal a character, etc. And then there’s the use of the Nobel Phantasm, which shifts to an anime mode of sorts to show the NP happen. As such, I found combat to be mostly interesting and entertaining.

Fate/Grand Order USA

The Reroll Factor

As Fate/Grand Order USA is my first experience with a Japanese mobile game, I was introduced to a new concept that apparently is part of a lot of Japanese mobile card RPG games. This concept is known as “rerolling,” where one attempts to get a 5* card at the beginning of the game. In Fate/Grand Order USA, this means going through the initial part of the tutorial, getting the initial card draws for the guaranteed 4* Servant, then finishing the tutorial to get the prizes and the perform a 10-card roll via 30 Saint Quartz crystals, the premium currency in the game. Since 5* cards have a 1% drop rate, odds are that you’ll have to purge the game data (at least on the Android) and start over. On my third attempt, I got really, really lucky.

Fate/Grand Order USA

Then later when I had another 30 Saint Quartz crystals, I scored a fourth Saber. You can’t use four of the same Servant, but you can “merge” them to increase the power of said Servant’s Nobel Phantasm, which is what I did. So my Saber is pretty nifty, though as I’ve discovered, when farming for EXP cards for her on the highest level, she doesn’t always last as long as I think she should. (But I love having her just the same ’cause Saber Artoria is awesomeness.)

Fate/Grand Order USA

Regardless, even though it is tedious, going through this “reroll” process is recommended to get a 5* Servant from the start.

Fate/Grand Order USA

Some Final Thoughts and Ratings

I really should wrap this up, so I’ll provide some final numbers on a 1-10 scale.

  • Game’s Level of Fun: 8. The game is going to be more fun if you are versed in the Fate/stay night franchise and want to role play being a Master.
  • Game’s Learning Curve: 7.  Although the tutorial shows you some basics, I had to read up quite a bit on how to properly do things within the game. Even now, I have trouble remembering how to lock a character (so I can’t accidentally destroy them for experience or resources) or the like.
  • Grind Factor: 10. Yep, you are going to grind to get Servants leveled up, their skills leveled up, etc.
  • Free Premium Currency Drops: 7. Saint Quartz crystals are part of the daily login rewards. They are also rewarded pretty frequently in the storyline part of the game, and fragments can be harvested for completing weekly tasks.
  • Free to Play Friendly: 7. There’s no Player vs. Player component, which is nice, so there’s less pressure to have the best of the best Servants. As usual, players spending money will do the best, but so far, my feeling is that the F2P component is pretty strong, meaning one doesn’t feel they have to pay to actually do something. Even 3* Servants can be made farily powerful, such as Medusa Rider or Cú Chulainn Lancer.

Fate/Grand Order USA

The main draw of the game is clearly going to be fans of the Fate/stay night franchise in the US wanting to role play with their favorite Servants. But the game has elements to appeal to those not aware of the franchise with its Servant collecting aspect, RPG battles, and even story (when Servants and such aren’t spewing drivel over tedious stuff). While I won’t have much time to play, I will log in once a day, get my login rewards, then burn off my AP energy before getting back to work.

Fate/Grand Order USA

 

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18 Responses to “Fate/Grand Order USA Game Review”

  1. Yeah, with a roll like that (Altria Saber x3) I have to agree it was the best choice to stick with. You would not believe how hard it is to get a 5 Star Servant even when the drop rate is increased during certain events. The only way to be sure you get one is to spend ridiculous amounts of money on the summoning crystals, and even then it’s not a sure thing. I’ve been playing for just over a year on my current account and I still only have 4 Servants that are 5 Star, Iskandar, Gilgamesh, Enkidu and Miyamoto Musashi, all at Lv 1 NP only.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Whoa! Gilgamesh. I just fought him for the first time in one of the farming missions. I got a chuckle at how he laughs when he attacks your team. I barely beat him. It would be neat to have him in my squad.

      For me to get four Saber Artoria so far boggles my mind. I’ve never had a game draw this well for me. Of course, I figure that means it will suck later. I did spend a little money (I always spend a little when I like a game to show appreciation to the Developers) and scored Waver. So I have two 5*s now.

  2. Lorin Chak says:

    This grind factor has been especially true. However, any 4+ berserker will help you quite a lot in the grind. The real grind starts when you can beat the 40 AP missions and you’re in Rome with Nero.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I’ve been doing the 40AP EXP missions to get my Servants leveled up. It is a challenge for sure and I never do it without bringing in someone’s powerful Jeanne Ruler for the healing and the one round invulnerable NP. I haven’t made it to Rome yet.

      What sucks is that I’m trying to get Saber EXP cards, but I’m only getting few of those and TONS of Rider. I have my Medusa Rider maxed at 40 (need more stuff to ascend her again), so I guess those will just build up.

      • utkarshray says:

        The EXP cards being dropped change everyday from what I’ve seen.
        Using other class’s EXP cards incurs a loss in EXP gained. Sure, the losses accumulate but one can always farm them.
        Leveling and ascending Jeanne requires other classes anyway. ^_^

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          Yeah, I have used extra EXP cards I’ve picked up to get Mash to 40 and to get Jeanne to 60.

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I have Tamamo Cat as my 4* Berserker, ascended once. She’s at level 43 now. I love her, but the game’s AI seems to target her more often than not, so I’m lucky to get through the first round of combat with her alive.

      • Lorin Chak says:

        Agreed. Though I have a 4* Rider (St. Martha). And yes, I agree that having to use someone else’s Jeanne D’Arc Sucks. As for Berserker, I freaking love Lancelot. It’s probably the most fun that I have. But it survives past round 1 when done successfully. Just add the dodge mechanic from Mash and you should be fine.

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          I can get Tamamo to survive the story missions (so far). It is those 40AP EXP farming missions that are the bear. And the dodge is for only one turn.

  3. Eight Star King says:

    Thing is Astro is that Saber’s name was never changed from Artoria to Altria, but rather it was just that “Altria” is the actual spelling used by the Type-Moon since the early days. You can see it on various merchandise and official side material has used the spelling more than once. Even the Japanese website of Fate/Extella uses said spelling too.

    Problem is that given who she is, Artoria makes more sense to a degree to westerners. Resulting in some subs using it or Arturia. But to Japan, it has always been Altria. Once the English version of FGO came around however, Type-Moon more or less decided to use it to settle the debate of how her name is officially spelled.

    Also, damn son. You one lucky bastard that makes me wanna cry in envy XD

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      Thing is Astro is that Saber’s name was never changed from Artoria to Altria, but rather it was just that “Altria” is the actual spelling used by the Type-Moon since the early days.

      I was unaware of that. What’s weird is that all of the English sources have always used “Artoria” as her name. One would think they would have used official TYPE-MOON romanization of the name. It makes me wonder if Artoria has been used in places.

      Thanks for the info!

      Also, damn son. You one lucky bastard that makes me wanna cry in envy XD

      Haha! Yes, very lucky there. Sadly though, her NP at level 4 isn’t doing as much additional damage as I would have thought. To test it, I brought in someone with Saber and a level 1 NP. I had both of them fire off their NP in the same round. My Saber did 23K total damage at level 4 while his did 18K at level 1. That is a jump in damage, but I guess I figured the range would be much better.

      • Eight Star King says:

        It has. In particular, the English version of Fate/Extella uses Artoria as the main spelling for Altria’s name. As well as the fact that if memory serves right, the English Dub of FSN, Zero, and UBW has Altria’s voice actor say “Artoria/Arturia”.

        However, going by the fact that Type-Moon mandated that Altria be the official spelling in FGO, I guess they simply got it wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time to happen to an originally Japanese product. Hard to blame too given her true identity as King Arthur. That and the fact that her name in Japanese is spoken as “ARUTORIA” which honestly could either be Altria or Artoria.

        Personally, I don’t mind either name. Altria sounds pretty like a princess name and Artoria sounds regal like a sovereign ruler’s name. Fits her either way. And it’s not really a common name either, so it could’ve slipped the translator’s minds.

        That, or it’s because “Altria” is also the name of a USA based Tobacco company. Which might have facilitated a change. Not that I really understand. Uncommon a name it might be, it’s still a name some people use according to my research on the web. Mostly in the UK too.

        That’s to be expected to be honest. Altria’s NP is an “Area of Effect” type of attack. Meaning while her NP is powerful, it’s meant to be used as a crowd clearer for the most part. Great for when you need to settle fight quick if the enemy’s health is low enough for a one-hit KO.

        • AstroNerdBoy says:

          That’s to be expected to be honest. Altria’s NP is an “Area of Effect” type of attack. Meaning while her NP is powerful, it’s meant to be used as a crowd clearer for the most part. Great for when you need to settle fight quick if the enemy’s health is low enough for a one-hit KO.

          Or sometimes to weaken the foes so that others can mop up.

  4. Lucas35 says:

    Are not you going to review Fate / Apocrypha?

  5. OverMaster says:

    I don’t mind the small talk, other than the fact it sometimes can get too wrapped into tired old anime tropes and cliches. But more often than not they inject life and personality into characters that would be shallow battle units otherwise. A manga, anime or full on Visual Novel would get around that by letting the characters develop through another kind of narrative, but I find this an acceptable compromise.

    Regarding the dialogue options, they don’t seem to matter at all. I don’t think the story ever changes into different paths no matter what you say, the plot is highly railroaded. This doesn’t make the plot itself bad, a manga or a platform game would be just as lacking in true narrative interactivity and still be enjoyable, but makes the protagonist even more unremarkable since more often than not he/she is just echoing things Mash would say. I even think the game could take the MC out altogether and make Mash the fighting protagonist with minimal rewrite effort, without actually missing too much.

    I miss Shirou. He actually had a personality of his own instead of being a self insert cardboard cutout.

    What do you think of the story so far? How ahead are you by this point? Does playing the game help you ‘get’ a few more things about the First Order anime?

    • AstroNerdBoy says:

      I don’t mind the small talk, other than the fact it sometimes can get too wrapped into tired old anime tropes and cliches.

      Haha! That’s true.

      Regarding the dialogue options, they don’t seem to matter at all. I don’t think the story ever changes into different paths no matter what you say, the plot is highly railroaded.

      The only difference that may happen is a character reaction to what is said. One choice may make the character happy or reflective or the other.

      What do you think of the story so far? How ahead are you by this point? Does playing the game help you ‘get’ a few more things about the First Order anime?

      Well, thanks to late nights and mega early mornings where I’m tied to work, but waiting for offshore to do their pieces, I’ve been able to do all of the stories that the US version has, which is through the 2nd Singularity of Septem. And since the US version has reduced AP needed to farm stuff, I’ve farmed EXP and other things as much as I can. Finally figured out how to properly do Craft Essence so that even a 3* essence card can be more useful without costing a ton of points. I’d love to get Gilgamesh while he’s available, but having scored four Saber Altria (ugh – still don’t like that spelling), one Jeanne Ruler, and one Waver Caster (I did pay a little bit of money to the game, which I usually do for mobile games I enjoy), I think I’m doing way better than most other players on the 5* thing.

      As to the story so far, I haven’t felt anything has revealed more about the supposed overall plot. The plot seems to just be a vehicle to do the different singularities and clear them. I will say that I was surprise that Leff was already removed (apparently) from the story. I didn’t expect that. I wish I could have scored Saber Nero as a prize for completing the 2nd singularity just because I found her character fun. But otherwise, I’m not sensing a great deal of plot advancement.

      As to getting a few more things about the First Order anime, I would need to rewatch that, but I would guess that it did help a bit. I was surprised at how accurate the anime was, though they didn’t make the Shadow Servants the same, which I’m actually glad for.

  6. Animefused says:

    This is pretty nice list of games sir! Thank you so much! it also have details and guides. Good job! I wonder if you can also check if there is an anime style mmorpg. 🙂

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