Thursday, August 26, 2010

First Impression: Fate/Unlimited Codes Portable

Being a fan of the Fate series, I had always wanted to get this since it came out last year. Too bad I didn't have a chance to buy it in time. That said, I was surprised when a Best Price version was available, even cheaper than last year's price. There's no screen shots for now, but I'll add them once I have time.

Fate/Unlimited Code is a 3D fighting game, graphics wise, but it's a standard 2D fighting game. You still could evade to the left or right or 180 degrees past the AI and the screen will follow your movement. It's actually quite easy to pick up and master each character's moves even if you have little to no understanding of Japanese, with Gilgamesh as the exception. His Noble Phantasm is pretty difficult to excecute. Archer come close, but his Noble Phantasm simply requires long battles to excecute.

Gameplay can be pretty quick, if you use Normal difficulty. It took me about 8 minutes to beat Arcade Mode using Archer. I was quite surprised by this, so I tried using other characters like Leysritt, Rin and Kotomine but it was still the same. One would generally thought Normal difficulty would have the AI come attack you like any other fighting games but oddly enough, they are wide open, rarely attack or defend and you can beat them within 10 seconds for a round and get perfect each time. While that is true for Normal, Arcade difficulty is like Hard while Hard difficulty is like Extreme. I game over a couple of times by the 6th stage when playing Hard. Only managed to beat that difficulty using Saber Alter.

Now, one thing that I find irritating is the combos. Once a combo is started, getting out of it is tougher than quitting smoking. You can continue on and on and on till the AI lost all his life points. Basically, they are at your mercy, in Normal only though. Once you hit Hard, it might be vice versa. You can break the combo but you'll have to sacrifice two of your Magic gauge which you have to hope you don't need to use. Another is how unbalanced the characters seems to be. Using Saber Alter is like using cheats with her ultra powerful attacks, moves and combos all maxed out while Caster being quite hard to control and have a limited number of close range moves. If you're using Caster and encountered Saber Alter while playing Hard, you'll need all the luck you can get.

There are a few hidden characters you can unlock, mainly Saber Lily, Saber Alter, Leysritt and Zero Lanser. I can't remember how I got Lily but in order to get Zero Lanser, you'll have to beat Arcade Mode with Saber Alter and beat Arcade Mode with Berserker for Leysritt, if I remember correctly.

Now what's a game without BGM? BGM throughout the game was okay with each stage having its own BGM though the last boss will have a different BGM even if you've been at that location before. It was a little soft, despite having everything at maximum but an earpiece would fix this problem quickly.

Overall, it's a good game but not great. I was hoping of Melty Blood calibre where there's an actual story line. It'll be great if Fate/Unlimited Codes have a Story Mode. Different storylines for each different characters. It still has its own charm though. Like I've said earlier on, you don't really need to understand much Japanese to beat the game, but you might need to be able to read a little for Mission mode. You do need to know what's the mission objective is right?

Fate/Unlimited Codes did kept me close to my PSP for a while and can be a time killer if you're riding a train or bus or for that short session right before bedtime.

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