The best Musou game ever created.
What They Say:
“Your wish shall perish…” A Holy Grail War begins in Edo Japan. A brand new Fate action RPG presented by TYPE-MOON and KOEI TECMO GAMES.
The strongest Musou games take the idea of a hack-and-slash battlefield experience and mashes it well with the licensed material. In this case, Fate/Samurai Remnant stands out as the most impressive and best Musou-style game I have ever played.
It surprisingly takes the idea of a new Holy Grail War, like seen in Fate/Stay Night and Fate/Apocrypha, and applies to the Edo period of Japan. This is an entirely new war and it doesn’t hold back in being exactly what it sounds like from a story and gameplay perspective.
Players have the chance to explore much of this older version of Tokyo, including familiar locations to anyone who has visited the city, such as Asakusa and Ueno. The beautiful world looks surprisingly good on the Nintendo Switch version with various towns and streets to explore.
As you explore these locations, there are occasionally optional battles you can take on against bandits, spirits, and more. These battles have the familiar Musou gameplay but stay away from the lengthy wars against thousands of onscreen enemies like in other similar titles.
This tighter focus helps the game in the end, as battles don’t last too much longer than they need to. In addition, the hack-and-slash gameplay works quite well in this format. There are the smaller and weaker enemies you can slash through to death in a single hit or two.
But then there are the larger foes, which have a health bar and take many more hits to eliminate. Outside of the usual mechanics with the faster slash and the heavier one, players also have many different skills to use. These skills let you ride waves of water to blast through foes or send down attacks from the sky to damage enemies.
These skills are quite varied and there is even the classic magic spells that the Master you play as, Iori, has access to. The best part is you are able to switch often to his Servant, Saber, who is a fascinating new character with powerful moves.
The gameplay has a lot of depth despite how short many of the battles are. This is mainly there for the longer boss fights, which happen against the other Servants and Masters. These moments are exceptional, as they have tons of incredible visual effects and capture the wild battles from the anime adaptations.
The stakes feel quite high in Fate/Samurai Remnant and the intense amount of content in the game make it a fairly short or long game, depending on if you want to do all of the intriguing side quests or not. But there is one element of the gameplay I am not a fan of.
There are Leyline battles Iori and Saber get into, where it is almost like this game board where you move across the pieces of Edo to capture them with the ultimate goal of usually taking the base of the enemy to continue the story. Along the way, if you meet enemies capturing their own points on the same spot as them, you’ll have a more typical battle to gain control.
While I like the idea of this more tactical mechanic, the execution feels a bit boring and too long. Given how fast-paced the rest of the game is, these moments kill the vibe a bit. They stand out as one of the only issues I had with this otherwise fantastic game.
A huge portion of why I enjoyed my time with Fate/Samurai Remnant was the surprising story and characters. It takes a bit of time to get going but once it does, this is a true Fate storyline with multiple Servants and Masters battling to get ahold of the Holy Grail to make their wish come true. This means deaths, betrayals, and all the good stuff you come to expect from a Fate story.
It is honestly pretty good and I would be down for an anime version at some point in the future. The exceptionally fun gameplay and solid storyline make this one of the strongest sleeper hits of the year.
Fate/Samurai Remnant impresses because it is a true Fate video game. It takes the hack-and-slash stylings of the Musou games but it makes it feel completely unique with the Master and Servant system, various magic spells, and weapon skills to use. With a terrific story about a previously unknown Holy Grail War, it represents some of the strongest action combat and stories of 2023.
Developer: Koei Tecmo
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Age Rating: 13+
Release Date: September 28, 2023
Platform: Switch (reviewed), PS4, PS5, and PC
This review was done with a review copy provided by the publisher. We are grateful for their continued support.