"Fate/Grand Order" is a mobile gacha game that is based on the popular "Fate" series established by Type-Moon. The game, which was popular enough to inspire an anime adaptation, looks promising. Although it was released in the United States just a month ago, it has already garnered over 100,000 downloads in the Google Play Store alone. Most reviews appear to be positive, and the developers promise "content that both fans of the 'Fate' franchise and newcomers will be able to enjoy." But looking past all of the hype from the success of "Fate/Grand Order" in Japan, gamers might be disappointed by what turns out to be a mediocre game.
The gameplay of "Fate/Grand Order" definitely has room for improvement. Regarding the basic mechanics, the player controls three "Servants" who fight against waves of enemies in turn-based combat. On every turn, the player chooses three cards — red, blue or green — in order to command the Servants’ order of attack. Occasionally, a special skill may be used that is unique to each Servant.
The main issue is that it soon becomes repetitive. Choosing cards and watching the Servants complete does not feel interactive or satisfying. In addition, the battles are often drawn out because the player is unable to skip animations. Watching a character execute the same movement for the hundredth time is enough to make a gamer want to force-quit the app.
Another aspect of a decent gacha game is the ability to earn, manage and equip characters or gear. For "Fate/Grand Order," the main characters and equipment are gained from the "Saint Quartz Summon." The first thing to note is that the rates are quite low – only a 1% chance for a five star (highest rarity) character. The game also lacks customization, as only a single piece of equipment can be assigned to each Servant.
Story and characters
"Fate/Grand Order" does have a captivating story. The premise is that the player must travel back in time to pivotal historical events, destroying "singularities" in order to avoid human extinction. With time travel as a part of the storyline, players can visit periods such as the Hundred Years’ War and come across historical figures such as Jeanne d'Arc. Although the story is interesting as the player travels through time, the cutscenes are spread apart, and the player has to endure stages of repetitive gameplay in order to progress. Sometimes, it might seem more convenient or less time-consuming to just look up the story online.
The Servants also come from historical or mythical figures – William Shakespeare, Marie Antoinette, Lancelot and Merlin. Even the game’s store merchant is a female Da Vinci. These characters look beautiful in their portraits and while fighting, and it can be rewarding to finally unlock a character from your hard-earned Saint Quartz.
Graphics and sound
Regarding graphics, the developers succeeded in making the game appear vibrant, sharp and unique in each setting – whether it be Fuyuki, Orléans or London. The Servants’ skills are also flashy, although they can sometimes be overwhelming and cause the game to lag. Regarding sound, each Servant is accompanied by quality voice-acting, and skills are explosive and match their over-the-top animations. However, the background music can become repetitive after a while.
"Fate/Grand Order," which was released in the United States on June 25, is currently available for download on both Android and iOS. The game is free to download, but there is also the option to buy in-game currency. Overall, if you can tolerate the dull gameplay, it may be worth to sticking around for the characters and story.