The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is a semi-sequel to 2013's The Guided Fate Paradox by Nippon Ichi Software on the PlayStation 3.
[caption id="attachment_33194" align="alignleft" width="300"] Shin's angel form.[/caption]
Some time after the events of the first game, the devils have maintained their dominance in their war against the angels. After the main character - Shin Kamikaze - is suddenly attacked on Earth and killed, he is revived on board a Celestia: a ship controlled by the angels. It turns out that the angels have become extremely desperate and have resurrected Shin using the Awakened Fate crystal in order to turn him into their god - the only one who can stave off their extinction at the hands of the devils.
Despite awakened Fate Ultimatum looking very bright and cheerful, much of the subject matter in the story is anything but. The game will frequently present tough choices and there is rarely a "correct" answer; this is war and every decision comes with consequences. Some of the darker elements present here include things like child soldiers and torture. Those coming into this expecting a light-hearted game ala Hyperdimension Neptunia are certainly in for a surprise. It was pretty interesting to see this kind of storyline and was a welcome departure from the norm.
Awakened Fate Ultimatum also has the appearance of being a standard JRPG but is actually a rogue-like RPG in the style of games like Shiren the Wanderer and the Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series. While traversing dungeons, you can pick up items, run into traps and also encounter enemies. In true rogue-like style, enemies will make a move only after the player has, giving you plenty of time to make decisions on what to do. You also need to watch your AC as you traverse the dungeon as running out of this will lead to a game over and is not automatically regained by walking like your HP and SP. Nippon Ichi also added in a system to shake up this basic combat with the ability to turn into an angel and devil form. Changing into these forms can be done at any time without taking a turn but requires enough SP to do so. All of the enemies in the game are sorted into different types that are either weak, strong or neutral to specific forms. Choosing the right form can be the difference between victory and defeat.
[caption id="attachment_33195" align="alignright" width="300"] Character portraits are fairly static.[/caption]
These forms are powered up by leveling up and by collecting angel and devil points which are generally obtained during story sections of the game by making decisions about who to talk to and what to do. Once the points have been obtained, going to the customization screen will bring up a screen full of nodes you can light up with points, very similar to a number of Final Fantasy games. Points from leveling up can be used on either side while specific ones are locked to the same type. Powering up each node increases your stats and gives you brand new abilities to use. Despite Awakened Fate Ultimatum giving you many opportunities to become stronger, the game throws some really tough situations at you. The randomly generated floors of dungeons can go from being a breeze to becoming an utter nightmare. Be prepared to tackle the same dungeons repeatedly.
Wandering around the dungeons you will also find a variety of different items including stronger weapons and armor. These are vital to obtain in order to progress but dying in a dungeon means you lose everything you're carrying and have to start the dungeon over from the beginning. This means you have to really think about what you carry with you and what you leave behind in your storehouse. Sometimes retreating using an escape item is a good idea when you find some particularly good loot. There is also a customization element to the loot system as well. When you acquire the same items of the same level, they can be combined into an even better item, making this the only way to get some of the best items in the game. All of this adds up to a rather addicting title that makes you want to tackle dungeons again and again.
Visually Awakened Fate Ultimatum is presented in a very bright, anime-esque style that is pleasant to look at. It does feel a little cheap at times though; character portraits don't move like those in Hyperdimension Neptunia and the interface has a fairly plain look to it. A lot of the visuals really make the game appear as though it should be native to the Vita, not the PlayStation 3. There is also the fact that the brightness of the game directly contradicts some of the subject matter which may be far too jarring for some players.
[caption id="attachment_33196" align="alignleft" width="300"] The interface isn't amazing.[/caption]
The sound is definitely an area that The Awakened Fate Ultimatum excels in. There is a heavy use of dramatic-sounding strings in the soundtrack that makes it a very pleasant, engaging listen. It's a welcome element in a genre that sometimes sounds too generic for it's own good. The soundtrack probably won't go down in history as one of the best but it'd be surprising if there weren't a number of people adding it to their playlists.
Overall The Awakened Fate Ultimatum was a fun entry into the genre with a surprisingly dark storyline and great music. It's a shame that it comes off a little cheap in the visual area but it certainly makes up for it in interesting characters and fun gameplay.
A fun rogue-like RPG with some surprisingly dark elements and fun gameplay. Sadly a little cheap in the graphics department and might not attract newcomers.(Review Policy)