You might remember that we reviewed Fate/EXTELLA: The Umbral Star for the PlayStation 4 when it originally released back in January of this year, you can read that review here, but we’re back again this time with a review of the Nintendo Switch version courtesy of Marvelous Games.
I won’t spend any significant amount of time going over the story and basic mechanics of the game, you can read our previous review for that. The essentials are that you assume the role of Saber’s master and are the winner of the last Holy Grail War. Now the ruler of the Moon Cell Automaton computer on the moon known as SE.RA.PH you should be watching over your Kingdom with Saber (Nero) at your side. Things, however, have not worked out too well in your favour and corruption in the system leaves you fighting it out for territory against another master and their servants. There are three main storylines that will see you pair up with different servants, the first being Saber.
I mentioned in my previous review that Fate/EXTELLA: The Umbral Star is a continuation but not a sequel to the events of Fate/Extra and Fate/Extra CCC but have since found that the previous games are required knowledge if you want to have a complete picture of the story that is taking place. The game is perfectly playable without said knowledge but may have you feeling like you have missed some important backstory during the game.
The Nintendo Switch version of the game comes packed with all paid DLC previously released on the PlayStation 4 and Vita versions as well as some exclusive new content. A sweet proposition if you’re planning on picking up the game for the first time or if you’re looking to grab some more games on your new Switch console but have already shelled out for the DLC before.
I will admit that I was unsure about how the game would run on the Switch given its performance on PlayStation 4. That said I was immediately surprised by how smoothly the game ran from the very start. No slow down, dropped frames or screams coming from the console’s fans like the PlayStation 4 did. Aside from some very minor aliasing during gameplay, I felt the game runs better on the Switch. I would go as far as to say the game feels more at home on the Switch and the PlayStation versions could be seen as the sub-par ports.
Let’s talk about slow down, now when it comes to Musou style games you are going to experience some slow down when there are a large number of enemies on screen. Over the console generations, we have seen continually more enemies per game thanks to the increasing performance of newer systems. This comes with a caveat though, as more enemies on screen at one time really puts a console through its paces and as I’ve previously mentioned the PlayStation 4 did suffer on occasion. In regards to the Switch version, I haven’t noticed a reduction in a number of enemies that appear, like I assume the PlayStation Vita version would have, and can only assume the Switch version is better optimized.
Only on a few occasions have I found my PlayStation 4 and even Nintendo Switch get so hot during gameplay that the fans on the console are literally screaming. So it surprised me to see that even during the visual novel aspects of the game the PS4 was crying out in pain. Thankfully, the Switch version runs quietly throughout and barely even gets warm even during the more intense gameplay moments.
I enjoyed my time with Fate/EXTELLA: The Umbral Star on the PlayStation 4 even with its few shortcomings but I really enjoy playing it on the Nintendo Switch. I feel as if the game was made for the Switch as it’s a much smoother and more satisfying experience. While both the PlayStation and Nintendo Switch offerings will serve you well I definitely recommend the Switch version as the definitive release to go for.