Heaven and Hell are at war – time for some roguelike RPG action then…
NIS America are still dropping interesting games onto the PS3, proving that there is still plenty of life in the older console. Whilst most of the games that make their way from NIS to the PS3 are quirky JRPGs, The Awakened Fate: Ultimatum, sequel to The Guided Fate: Paradox, is much more quirky, turn-based roguelike RPG. Still, at least it is quirky.
The good news is that anyone who passed on The Guided Fate: Paradox, or didn’t even know of the game, will be able to jump into The Awakened Fate: Ultimatum with very little trouble. In fact, the entire game is quite approachable, which makes a nice change.
Players will take on the role of Shin Kamikaze, a teenage boy who, after a brief encounter with demonic forces which results in his death, is resurrected in the angelic city of Celestia and given the power of God. It turns out there is a war between Heaven and Hell, and it is the job of Shin, and thus the player, to bring balance in this conflict. Okay, it is a little cliched, but surely having access to both demonic and angelic powers more than makes up for it.
There is a lot more to the story than this, and players will be treated to lengthy scenes of dialogue and story setting in the early game that could even be enough to dissuade some players from continuing. While the overly long dialogue scenes continue throughout, both introducing characters and moving the story along, the heaviest concentration is at the beginning and once the player wades through all of this, it gets much easier to handle.
And that is at least in part because the gameplay is really enjoyable. Through the course of randomly generated, grid-based dungeons, players will find themselves having to deal with all manner of angelic and demonic enemies. Running out of energy will not only mean losing everything that the player has found already in said dungeon, but also losing any equipment that they took with them into the dungeon, creating a lovely risk/reward system which will see the more adventurous players pushing that little bit harder for the chance at finding better equipment, while also running the risk of losing it all. Add to this that The awakened Fate is not an easy game, with even the most minor of foes capable of taking down the hero if the conditions are right, and you have a game that can be quite frustrating, especially for those new to roguelike games.
There are mechanics in place to make things a little easier, such as the ability to take on either angel or devil form with the simple press of a button. Each of these forms are completely separate from each other, with different skills and abilities, and assuming a form against an enemy of the opposing form will give the player a massive advantage. It is even possible to summon both forms together for limited time, super powerful attacks.
Fighting through will earn the player points which can be applied to either of the two forms, allowing the opportunity to improve both forms equally, or specialize with one form. Points can also be earned from the “Ultimatum” choices that the player will be presented with along the way. These cut scenes will give the player a choice between either an angelic or demonic decision, and the player will be given points for whichever form’s decision they chose. These choices can also have a lasting effect on the direction of the game, although for the most part they just present the player with an interesting decision.
The Awakened Fate is a game which will involve a whole lot of grinding and repeating of dungeons. This is made much easier thanks to both the nice visuals and excellent audio work. The cut scenes are nicely done in an anime style, whilst the actual dungeon crawling is colourful and easy to follow. The soundtrack is incredibly atmospheric, and the voice work, available in both Japanese and English, is very well done. The presentation overall is well above average.
With relationships to build and moral choices to make, along with an ever more complex combat system, The Awakened Fate: Ultimatum can be quite the thought-provoking game. It can be difficult to get into, thanks to the elongated cut scenes, and it is undoubtedly challenging, but this is something that roguelike fans will already be prepared for. If you want an easy to understand yet challenging to play Japanese roguelike dungeon-crawling RPG, then The Awakened Fate: Ultimatum will happily tick all of your boxes.