Fate/Samurai Remnant is the upcoming Musou action RPG adapted from Koei Tecmo and Type Moon’s gigantic, ever-spinning Fate multimedia franchise. While the series is large, it’s not often that a game is released for the series, especially a good one. That’s why the upcoming game is a highly anticipated title in the community, and after playing through the game, I can say that despite having some issues, it has gone above and beyond my high expectations.
Fate/Samurai Remnant takes place in the Keian Era of the Edo Period in a time of peace. It follows Miyamoto Iori, an orphaned young man and warrior in solo training who lives on the outskirts of Asakusa with his younger sister. He lives a fairly regular life as a pseudo-law enforcer to earn money. However, his life changes forever when he’s thrown into the midst of the Waxing Moon Ritual, another type of the series’ flagship Holy Grail War between seven heroic spirits who serve as Servants controlled by their seven masters and wield their command seals. One thing leads to another, and Iori unexpectedly forms command seals amid all the chaos and summons Saber as his servant. The two then begin their quest to win the Waxing Moon Ritual by defeating the masters and their servants, forming alliances, and learning the true nature of the war in the process.
Fate/Samurai Remnant’s narrative is more compelling than I expected. The story wastes no time introducing its several characters and concepts in a very epic and attention-grabbing way from the first hour alone. It’s worth noting both Fate fans and new players will find things to appreciate in this game as it introduces several characters and Classes seen in other Fate media. However, several of them are of different classes, like Jeanne Arc of Fate Grand Order, who is now a Lancer-class, and Miyamoto Musashi, who looks a tad different and is now a Berserker class. Additionally, without spoiling too much, the game introduces new characters in the form of rogue servants who have no masters, all of whom are surprisingly endearing with compelling histories and stories to tell.
As they progress through the game, players will also learn about the intricacies of the Waxing Moon Ritual through engaging visual novel conversations, making for a rich narrative with detailed lore that rewards players for their progress. As players progress in the game, they’ll learn more about every servant, the reason for the existence of rogue servants, and other grand narrative revelations that make the narrative incredibly engaging. However, there are moments in the game where the narrative feels like a slog, specifically when players have to find the next territory to invade or before finding the next servant. But it’s incredibly enthralling and hard to stop playing when it does get going.
Gameplay-wise, Fate/Samurai Remnant uses a Musou real-time combat structure, which is unsurprising for a Koei Tecmo game but is not as Musou-heavy as the studio’s other titles. The game puts the players in the streets of 17th-century Edo, where they’ll take on several waves and hordes of enemies but in a more linear structure. Instead of having many open lands for players to kill hundreds of enemies, Fate/Samurai limits things to moving to and from separate, open areas. I much prefer this structure, as it succeeds in distinguishing the game from its other counterparts and showcases an outstanding balance of gameplay and story.
The game gives players several combat stances, like the Earth stance, which is best for attacking single enemies. The Water stance allows players to mow down multiple enemies, the Wind stance which is sort of a combination of both, and more.
Additionally, players are given lots of tools in combat, the most effective tool being their servant Saber. After dealing enough damage, Iori can swap with Saber to perform even more devastating moves and combos. Iori also has his own skills, from magic spells to combo sword attacks. More advanced moves for Iori and Saber can be acquired from a skill tree that is very direct and simple to understand. Mowing down enemies with a combination of all the tools given to you feels quite fun and satisfying. Players can also upgrade Iori’s katanas, specifically each part, including the scabbard, handles, and more, similar to a game like Jedi: Fallen Order. This system is excellent, as it is not only a creative way to change your Katana’s look but also affects the weapon’s damage and other stats.
As a Musou game, it’s no surprise Fate/Samurai Remnant also incorporates tactical elements via the checkers-like the Spirit Font system. The system puts players on a top-down board that also serves as a map of Edo. Players move from location to location on the board, defeating enemies while forming spirit lines, defending their base, protecting allies when necessary, and cutting off enemies’ spirit lines while occasionally entering real-time battles with each progression.
The system is quite fun, at least, until you have to play through it several times, with each time usually more drawn out than the last. It can get very tasking, especially as it takes a while to clear the board or move from point A to point B, as more enemies will keep appearing as obstacles. However, when it works, it works well, and it’s still more approachable compared to Koei’s other titles, which have more overwhelming warfare elements.
Visually, Fate/Samurai Remnant is impeccable. The character designs are incredibly detailed and attractive, with intricate differences between each character. The world design is incredibly faithful to the 17th-century Japanese aesthetic, and the highly vibrant and dynamic cutscenes are almost on par with Ufotable’s level of animation seen in many Fate anime, with an overall flawless art direction. The game is one of the best-looking games I’ve played this year and perhaps the best-looking Koei Tecmo game in a long time.
The game also sports an incredible soundtrack with a range from epic tracks that perfectly match its bizarre and grand moments, to calm melodic songs with Japanese instruments that match the era of the game. Performance-wise, the game runs flawlessly, especially for a pre-release build. Fate/Samurai Remnant allows several performance settings on PC and keeps a consistently high framerate with no glitches.
All in all, Fate/Samurai Remnant is an incredibly impressive game with lots to offer both Fate and Musou fans. It sports a compelling narrative, incredibly fun gameplay, great lore, and much more. While it has its drawbacks, I was pleasantly surprised and satisfied with my overall experience.
Fate/Samurai Remnant launches on September 29 for PC, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch.
Fate/Samurai Remnant is an incredibly impressive game with lots to offer both Fate and Musou fans. While it has its drawbacks, it still sports a compelling narrative, incredibly fun gameplay, great lore, and much more.