Soon western fans of the Fate series will be able to play the Type-Moon developed Fate/Extella: The Umbral Star, coming to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita on January 17 in North America and January 20 in Europe.
With Extella being a sequel to 2011’s PSP release titled Fate/Extra, publisher XSEED has put together a limited edition for the upcoming game called the Noble Phantasm Edition (Moon Crux Edition in Europe). Along with either version of the game, this limited edition contains a 128 page hardcover book, sixteen collectible cards, and a cloth poster.
Normally, I’m not one to get excited enough about a limited edition to write about them, but the book that this contains is something that I see had a lot of work put into it and deserves some time in the spotlight.
At first, I assumed (or hoped) this was just a typical art book with mostly fan service illustrations of some of my favorite Fate characters, I’d look through it once or twice and then put in on my shelf to never look at again. However, what I found is that throughout my time with the game, I continued to return to the book to provide a deeper understanding of the world that unfolds. Furthermore, almost every page contains paragraphs of text detailing each character’s bio, along with multiple illustrations of them.
More importantly, there are 30 pages of text that can potentially catch up any fan new and old with ease. This is beneficial to help and explain the often head scratching story of Extra as well as the events that lead into where the characters find themselves in Extella. It’s in these pages that I felt this book makes the best companion to the story and world of Extella. In addition, this portion provides an encyclopedia-like batch of information made to assist players who might need to brush up on the Fate knowledge.
The Fate series hasn’t always been the easiest to follow, but they all seem to revolve around the same elements of fighting, love, and loyalty. This series spans across a main story, spin-offs in a separate universe, and various other stories that sometimes weren’t so good. However, in the west it’s been hard to completely keep up with the series due to the lack of localized material. The series has many unofficial/official visual novel releases that provide a huge amount of detail to the universe.
That being said, Extella was released in Japan to a fan base that has access to all the projects and games. Which could explain why the story in the game refuses to slow down and explain things that have most likely been touched upon numerous times. This is a big reason why the book came in handy so often as it offered a deeper understanding of the game’s history.
That’s not to say that the player needs this text to enjoy the game. One could understand the story if they pay close attention to the story sections and learn each character’s personalities through their actions. However, with that said, the story does little hand holding after the general introduction to key terms.
The Fate series could have an overwhelming amount of lore and nuance, but by adding this extra information I personally felt more connected to the characters and story after their six year absence. So if you’re an excited fan, or a confused newcomer, I’d recommend this limited edition to assist with the deep character development and story of Fate/Extella. In conclusion, I recommend other publishers take this approach to art books by offering fans an encyclopedia of information on their favorite series.