With impressive spin-off titles such as Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, and Persona 5: Strikers, Omega Force and Koei Tecmo might have raised the standard for musou games even higher with the upcoming launch of Fate/Samurai Remnant.
Taking place within the popular and ever-expanding Fate universe from Type-Moon, this multimedia franchise is getting a new video game that fans should absolutely keep their eyes on. After playing through the prologue and part of Chapter 1 of Fate/Samurai Remnant, I was left longing to play much more.
Fate/Samurai Remnant Introduces a Captivating Narrative
While the Fate series -- particularly the various anime projects we've seen over the years -- have flashy visuals and outstanding action sequences, the plot's always been the selling point for me and plenty of others. With Type-Moon's involvement with the narrative for Fate/Samurai Remant, fans will be pleased with the opening hours.
In many ways, the introduction hearkens back to Fate/stay night and the newer Fate/strange fake in tone. Samurai Remnant begins calm enough, but as this series loves to do, it isn't afraid to go from zero to sixty in no time.
Set in Japan in the 1600s, players take control of swordsman Miyamoto Iori. He takes odd jobs as hired muscle here and there to feed himself and his sister, but as fate would have it, he's thrust into a conflict involving heroes from history.
This plot will sound familiar to many Fate fans. Instead of the Holy Grail War, we have what is called the Waxing Moon Ritual. Participants of this ritual summon servants -- the aforementioned heroes from history -- to aid them in battle. Servants are very powerful and have always been the part that captivated me the most about Fate.
I'm immediately entranced by the setting and the new crop of servants in this entry of Fate. Saber, Iori's servant, is cocky about their abilities in battle yet has a charming innocence about them. Other servants get less time to shine in the opening hours, but I can't wait to learn more about Berserker, Assassin, and more.
If other servants get as much development as Saber in the opening hours, the writing will be a hit with other Fate fans. While exploring various villages in Samurai Remnant, Saber will take an interest in various parts of everyday Edo life and it leads to funny and, frankly adorable, conversations between them and Iori.
I'm even more excited to learn more about Rogue Servants in Samurai Remnant. These are Servants without a Master, and it seems like Iori will eventually be able to use them in combat as well. We've seen Rogue Lancer Cú Chulainn, notably from Fate/stay night, and having seen him in action in the anime, I hope I can control him in Samurai Remnant.
Let's be honest, though: Fate is an intimidating series to get into. If you haven't consumed any Fate media at all, you might not even think this is a game for you. Thankfully, I was pleased to find the writing easily explained the basic concepts of Fate, the Waxing Moon Ritual, and the Master/Servant dynamic very well.
Even for those interested in Fate but haven't taken the leap into its world yet, this should be a pretty accessible entry for most people. If you aren't necessarily interested in this franchise but enjoy musou games, you might be surprised to find the writing to be charming, engaging, and even accessible.
Fate/Samurai Remnant Might be the Best Musou Yet
For those unfamiliar with musou titles, these games are synonymous with the Dynasty Warriors franchise. With overpowered warriors, players fight against dozens of foes at the same time while dishing out flashy abilities through simplified combos.
Though, if we are to compare Samurai Remnant's gameplay with that of other musou games, it resembles Persona 5: Strikers the most. Combat isn't constant, nor are battles as frequent as your typical musou. Don't get me wrong, the combat is similar, but Fate/Samurai Remnant does much to stand apart from the rest.
I spent much of my preview exploring various districts of Edo (ancient Tokyo), and Omega Force encourages players to interact with various elements and explore. There are NPCs to talk to, side tasks to complete, and more in these hub areas. Occasionally, there are marks on the map where Iori and Saber can fight large groups of enemies in short bursts.
When combat, ensues, you start to see the true potential of Samurai Remnant. In typical Fate fashion, Master and Servant fight side-by-side. You'll mainly control Iori to fight enemies, but thankfully he's quite capable in combat. He's a mage, after all, so in addition to using his swords, he can cast spells like fireballs.
You'll mainly be using your swords, though, and even with musou's simple hack-and-slash gameplay, there is some depth to Samurai Remnant. Iori can change stances to perform different attacks. Earth stance is slower and uses one sword, while Water is much faster and uses two.
There are two empty slots for stances, so it looks like there's even more later on. That prospect alone makes me curious to see what else is in store, not to mention other new spells and abilities I can unlock. The depth doesn't end there, though, when you throw Servants into the equation.
Servants are overpowered in Fate, and always will be. While Saber fights by your side, you can use special, bombastic abilities with them once you build up enough of a gauge. Build up another gauge further and you can temporarily take control of Saber yourself. At that point, you can melt through enemies, and it's so satisfying to use.
You gain more spells as you progress, and there's even a rather robust skill tree to enhance both Iori and Saber even further. The progression in Samurai Remnant kept me engaged and will continue to do so in the final release, for sure. This doesn't even take into account other upgrades to Iori's swords, and more. There is a lot to do.
This preview kept throwing more and more surprises my way. There's this whole turn-based tactical mode spanning across the entirety of Edo. I haven't seen the full scope of this mode yet, but the breadth of Samurai Remnant continues to impress me.
I'm a fan of the Fate series, but I didn't expect Fate/Samurai Remnant to blow me away. But, as it so happens, I was blown away. It's highly ambitious and has thus far delivered on providing both engaging gameplay systems and an exciting story. Fate/Samurai Remnant skyrocketed to one of my most anticipated games for the latter half of 2023.
Fate/Samurai Remnant was previewed on PC with a copy provided by the publisher over the course of 5 hours of gameplay - all screenshots were taken during the process of review.