Having to spend christmas in the tech shy region known as wales with the family meant that I had some time to put fate/unlimited codes through it’s paces since the Trusty PS2 was all I had access to. Not even some tools for model building! Well, it wasn’t all bad…

The game is a 3D beat-em-up played (mostly) in a 2D plane and uses the cast of fate/stay night as characters. It also shares more than a passing resemblence with the tsukihime fighter, melty blood: act cadanza in terms of how it is played. It’s easy to pick up, special moves are relatively easy to perform and players will be performing combos without too much issue. Unfortunately, it’s not as polished as other fighters and it certainly has it’s fair share of issues.

Loved:

The theme song, code by tainaka sachi. It’s a really nice tune which made me sit through the credits just to listen to it. I’ll need to track it down tho it’s still not as good as Kimi to no ashita (the song played on the last ep of the anime credits)

It’s fate/stay night! – unlike it’s older sister, tsukihime, fate lends itself much better to a beat-em-up. Afterall, it is about a tournament where servants and masters fight eachother for a prize.

Hated:

Unbalanced AI – I was playing on the normal difficulty throughout the game and while most characters were in the “wimpy” category, there were one or 2 opponents per character where the difficulty suddenly jumps up to 11. It was like you were fighting Bruce Banner for most of your fights when you suddenly encounter the hulk!! Or when you are playing left4dead and you are happily mowing down regular zombies with reckless abandon only to find yourself in an enclosed space… With 4 tank zombies… AT THE SAME TIME!!!
I had massive amounts of trouble with berserker for a lot of characters (tho one character who didn’t was Luviagelita. Ironically berserker, a character who looks like he wouldn’t be out of place in the WWE got destroyed by a small lady who uses pro wrestling moves.)
Also, the difficulty seems dependent on the character you choose. Gilgamesh could reduce players to tears when fighting as saber yet he’s rather weak against archer, even though he’s the final boss for both stories!
Oh, and let us not mention saber alter..
When I played as Leysritt, my playtime was almost 2 hours. No prizes for guessing where most of that time went towards. No amount of upskirt shots can hide the scars of our encounters (occasionally, you can see saber alters panties during her victory sequence. You get desensitized after the first couple of dozen times you see it)

Inconsistent mechanics – one thing which really annoyed me was how some characters were able to ignore moves while others did not. Using saber alter as an example, when I did my super move on her, the move would be canceled if she had already started a basic attack as she would hit me and knock me out of the move, wasting a super bar. That’s ok if it was consistent but it’s not. When I was in the same situation, my attack actually went through her, leaving me with a face full of Excalibur.
Combos, once started, are also an unbalanced affair with the one being attacked often being left at the mercy of the attacker until he decided to end the combo. You can break the combo using a technique but it costs 2 super bars to perform, something you often will not have.
Such things are not what one expects from a beat em up.

Saber lily – OK, so hated is a little harsh for what I had in mind but after some fanfare, a limited edition figma and requirement which make you go through several levels of hell to unlock her, I expected more than just a new skin for saber. Heck, saber alter was way cooler and had her own moveset so why not lily?

There’s also a lot of confusion as to how to unlock her. All I know is gamefaqs is wrong. It took me 10 playthroughs to unlock saber alter. I completed the game with saber, rider, archer, rin, luviagelita, leysritt, sakura, shiro, lancer & berserker (in that order). If some people are to be believed, you can unlock saber alter by completing the game with the above characters save for rider, lancer, luviagelita and leysritt.

Once I got saber alter, I completed it one more time with her to unlock saber lily, although I picked up zero lancer along the way.

Hope that helps some people who may be having difficulty in getting her. But saber alter Is better.

Overall, I can’t help but think that the game is relying more on the fate/stay night name than the underlying game. That’s not to say that it’s bad. It certainly has it’s charm and will almost certainly gain a following, much like how melty blood has done.
The problem is that it has the same hangups as melty blood with some portions of the game feeling broken or just plain unfair. No doubt, the fan cult will be able to perform some amazing feats but for the rest of us, we’ll just get hung up on the not-so-great stuff and find the overall experience unrefined. .
There’s also an issue with lack if modes. Aside from arcade mode there is only vs CPU, vs 2P, watch, practice and mission mode to keep you entertained. Mission mode should last a while but that’s assuming you have enough grasp of Japanese to decipher what the mission objective is!

I guess one of the main selling points would be the figma that came with the special edition. But I wasn’t that impressed with saber lily either.
It’s competant enough but with the number of big hitters in the genre either already here or on the horizon, there’s not much to recommend it outside of fans of fate/stay night and melty blood. Unless you’re going just for the figma, which is silly.

Still, it managed to keep me entertained for a few evenings (and late nights), even with saber alter, who pretty much reduced me to…