The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is the successor to The Guided Fate: Paradox published by NIS America for the PS3 in 2013. The Guided Fate was a game that was praised for its humor and charming story despite the tendency to grind through many dungeons in light of the difficulty. With the release of the Awakened Fate, developer Nippon Ichi Software has returned with the anticipated sequel to improve on their predecessor’s work with a more refined storyline and battle system.
The game puts you in the shoes of Shin Kamikaze, a student who lives a boring life until he is viciously attacked and killed on his way home from school. Resurrected by his guardian angel, Jupiel and a fellow angel named Ariael, he awakens in a heavenly realm to learn the Fate Awakening Crystal has been planted within him. Shin is charged with taking part in the eternal war between angels and demons as he alters the fate of peoples’ lives and what will become of his guardian angels. The events take place after the story from its predecessor, The Guided Fate: Paradox. Along his journey, he encounters Phyllis Izayoi, the brash green-haired leader of the Celestia Annihilation Force and Hien Inugami, the possessor of the Devil’s fate and a god who challenges Shin for a fight to the death.
Gameplay reverts between extended dialogue scenes and top-down perspective of real-time battles. As Shin moves through the dungeon, his movement is similar tracked with enemy movements on the map after each step taken. You have the ability to deitize between light and dark deities to inflict heavy damage on enemies with opposite colours. The angel form specializes in melee attacks while the devil form specializes in ranged attacks. Portals allow you to teleport to the next level with treasure chests and enemy spoils to be found on every level. A careful watch needs to be kept on both your HP and SP gauges as death results in the loss of acquired items and valuable weapons or armor. Enemies will strike when they are attacked or alerted to your presence. When the Resonant Gauge is maxed out, you can “Resonant Deitize” that allows you to unleash either the Angelic or Demonic resonant skill to wipe out enemies in battle. After the successful completion, you have the option of revisiting a dungeon later to accumulate experience points. If Shin dies at any time, you are taken back to Celestia base where you can attempt the dungeon a second time if necessary to progress further into the game. A storehouse is at your disposal to store and organize your items to safeguard against any anticipated loss or sudden death.
The Item Boost in the menu allows you to strengthen weapons, armor and skill crystals. Blue crystals found in several dungeons are used to boost the stats of your equipment and can be allocated to provide weapons and armor with special effects. It should be noted that not all crystals can be used with every item as specific combinations will result in the loss of the crystal. Items used as a boost material must contain a “+” symbol for the item to be enhanced. Skill crystals can be implanted into weapons and armor to utilize various skills to avoid traps, boost defense and attack strong enemies.
Conversation events will arise in the game as Shin is the subject of debates between Jupiel and Ariael who argue over his purpose. You will be forced to choose between them and your decision will influence your relationship with both heroines and the events of the war between the Celestia and the Hellheim Netherworld. The important choices you make are Ultimate Choices that will dictate Shin’s fate as God as he faces hostility and resistance. With respect to personality, Jupiel is more understanding and compassionate whereas Ariael is more brash and pragmatic.
The Fate Awakening Crystal in Shin’s body is customizable to boost his deity abilities. This is done via Crystal Points that are obtained by leveling up, socializing with Jupiel or Ariael or making an ultimate choice. If you boost a Deitized form multiple times, it will become “Almighty” and is especially useful in difficult dungeons. The choice of customizing the angelic or the demonic side of the Awakening Crystal will determine the angelic or demonic abilities unlocked. The angel form abilities focus heavily on attack stats with the demonic form boosting the defense stats.
Visually, the game has beautiful character designs and gorgeous backgrounds. The presentation is aesthetically pleasing as it will pique your curiosity to be adventurous and explore the game to observe many stunning environments in fine detail. The Art Gallery is a welcome feature of the game as you can browse the polished artwork of the game at your own leisure. Regarding the soundtrack, the music is appropriate for the game’s intense and dramatic moments but suffers from repetitiveness with a dreadful feeling of déjà vu.
The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is an engaging RPG with an intricate plot compared to its predecessor. Though a bit short in length, the moral emphasis on decisions made keeps players engaged that promotes a second playthrough to experience the other events and perspectives. Fans of the game’s predecessor as well as those new to RPGs and visual novels will find plenty to enjoy in this simple but compelling game.
PROS – Beautiful Artwork, Engaging Combat, Intuitive Customization
CONS - The game is short
SCORE – 70%
This review is based on a digital copy of The Awakened Fate Ultimatum for the Playstation 3 provided by NIS America.