Fate Grand Order is a game that even non-players know about. Its presence in the free-to-play world is known throughout every platform even though it is just a handheld game. In 2018, it became the most talked-about game on Twitter, defeating the mega-successful battle royale Fortnite. The glorious fan arts (and also the “other” fan arts), videos, anime, and hilarious 4koma series all contribute to its popularity.
So, how is it so popular? Is Fate Grand Order good? Are Fate Grand Order characters that memorable and iconic? Does the gameplay hold up to RPG fans (and even non-RPG fans)? In this FGO review, we’ll take a deep dive into the game and why it is arguably one of the best free to play RPGs ever made.
Fate Characters from All Walks of Life
From the cover itself, you can tell they’ve included the characters from the original Fate/Stay Night visual novel. That includes Artoria (Saber), Rin, Sakura, Medusa (Rider), Illya, Medea (Caster), Taiga, Shirou, Emiya (Archer), Gilgamesh (also Archer), Cu (Lancer), Hercules (Berserker), and Sasaki (Assassin). Added in the roster are other Fate games and shows like Astolfo, Nero, Gilles, Tamamo, Jeanne and Mordred.
It also introduces original characters like fan-favourite Mash Kyrielight, Dr. Roman, Leonardo Da Vinci (which you can now freely say Da Vinci is so hot), and the Master (that’s you).
Of course, the only way to receive most of them is through the gacha madness (which we will talk about later on).
And, perhaps, the biggest reason why the game got very popular contributes a lot from its characters. They may not have the same interaction as the girls in Azur Lane and Honkai Impact 3. Still, they indeed have a lot of personality from the game’s story and ridiculous events.
I love all the characters in the game, especially my waifu Kiyohime and – yes – even Edward Teach (who is such a meme in the FGO community).
The Main Gameplay
All these talks about characters and popularity, but what about the Fate Grand Order gameplay? FGO’s combat combines turn-based strategy and a light card system. This is how the game goes:
You start with 3 Servants (2 of yours, one from a friend while three others sit at the back as backup) to fight against 1 to 3 waves of enemies. When it is your turn, you will have five cards to choose from. These five cards are randomly generated based on three types of attacks: Burst, Arts and Quick. Burst (Red) is the most devastating basic attack. Arts (blue) help increase your Servant’s Noble Phantasm (NP) meter. Quick (Green) generates crit stars that increase your critical hit chances on your next turn.
Besides the cards, you can also activate the Servants’ multitude of buffs and debuffs along with your spells as Master. When a Servant’s NP hits 100%, you can unleash their ultimate ability. That’s whether it is a single target attack, multi-target AoE, a large buff for the whole team or a game-changing debuff towards the enemies.
Some Servants blend well together, so you better pick your cards right. Its gameplay is a hit or miss in the community; others feel like it is too slow and boring while some enjoy it a lot. As for me, I do enjoy it. It’s one of the most active gameplays I’ve experienced in a gacha game since Honkai Impact 3. As for upgrading, we can talk about that some other time.
Fate Grand Order Game Graphics
Nothing is astonishing in this game but seeing the characters, not as chibi avatars feel great. The sprites retain their overall looks and personalities. However, some of their movements look stiff, especially the ones who never had a revisual yet. The backgrounds are semi 2D and 3D, but some of the backdrops look gorgeous especially in the latter part of the game.
If you want the best of what FGO has to offer in terms of graphics, it shows off its beauty through the Servants’ Noble Phantasms which all of them look beautiful to watch every time they cast it. The added expressions for every character during cutscenes are an excellent little detail, too.
Game Story Flow & Content
The most vital point of FGO underlies in its story. Each chapter of the game is an excellent throwback to the old Fate series along with original twists for the new characters. Every chapter of the game is well-written with some great dialogue sequences from certain characters. The later part of the game gets so gripping; its story can rival that of other bigshot RPGs. One of the chapters – Demonic Front Babylonia – was so good, it got its original anime. If you aren’t here for the gacha, then stay for the story. It’s very intense.
The Events in Fate Grand Order
Events are one of the biggest selling points of FGO. Arguably, their events are the grindiest experience ever for a gacha game (I still hate you Hawaii event) yet contain the best stories of FGO or even gacha games in general. From the Paul Bunyan event itself, the story is so well-written, you’d wish it was a permanent arc.
I like how the writers don’t take the story seriously with some great dialogues for the Servants along with some humorous references and 4th wall breaking comedy.
Fate Grand Order Match Sounds
Besides the story, this is where FGO also shines. From the fantastic epic-themed music when fighting a hydra to the nostalgic sounds of Gilgamesh’s theme or Emiya’s Unlimited Blade Works, FGO does not shy away from its talent in music. Some of the menus even include the original songs from the old shows too. Now, that part makes it a nice touch for the original fans.
As for voice acting, that’s where FGO is best at. Everyone from the first Fate/Stay Night down to the latest Fate/Apocrypha includes all the voice actors for the Servants. From Artoria shouting “EKUSUKALIBA” to Merlin calmy chanting “Garden of Avalon”, the dialogues never get old.
Alright, man, look. The less we talk about the Gacha, the better. No, really. This is where the madness begins and where the salt piles up. FGO’s gacha is the real definition of gacha hell. Their 10x rolls do not guarantee 4* Servants, and the 5* Servants are all consistently at 1%: no mercy Summon, no other guarantees. Get ready to pull a lot of mapo tofu. The Saint Quartz and Tickets are hard to grind for, and the real currency exchange for the SQ amount is not worth it. Not unless you are filthy rich and you want to collect all the Saberfaces and Sakurafaces.
Just pure salt. I’ll get you soon, Mama Raikou.
Fate Grand Order Overall Impression
Despite its relentless gacha pulls and hectic grinding, FGO is still a great game. If you are in it for the story and characters, FGO does it best. It’s free, and none of the gameplay feels like pay-to-win as long as you upgrade your servants properly. Experience all this and more by playing Fate Grand Order on PC. Check out the game here.