By: Ted Chow
With roguelike dungeon delving and an Anime story to package it up, The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is a game that tries to bring the best of both worlds. In doing so you get a game that is light hearted visually, but one that can be punishing if you die. It is a weird disconnect as most roguelike games embrace the sinister undertones while this game nonchalantly dresses up the angel genocide with cute monsters and chibi characters. In the end, however, The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is ever so polarizing in its identity; as it is in your story driven decisions as you ascend into Godhood.
You control the protagonist, Shin, as he traverses the realm of phantasma in your epic dungeon delving action! But in all honesty, the game is split between story driven cut scenes and going through dungeon stages in a world outside your haven. Much of the controls felt understandable, though the sensitivity could be a little much as the slightest of flicks can move you multiple tiles or accidently input a move command when all you meant to do was face the enemy and fight.
The battles themselves felt a little lackluster and unsatisfying as it was primarily a one-button press combo without much though process behind the combat system. Overall, all of it felt standard without any noticeable points worth mentioning.
As far as the anime visuals, the graphics and the soundtrack really didn’t hit it with me this time around, and this is my inner otaku talking. The user interface felt clean and the cut scenes and backdrops were pleasant to the eye, yet the in-dungeon chibi characters and cute monsters were off putting to the overall tone.
The soundtrack for an anime game such as this is usually a big selling point, but the introductory song didn’t set the mood for me. The rest of the soundtrack was pretty standard without all too many noticeable mentions, but at least you have a menu opinion to listen to them in your downtime.
The Awakened Fate Ultimatum plays like a solid dungeon crawler with procedurally generated levels and punishing mechanics in the form of losing all your equipment on hand if you die. While the premise sounds cool, the execution felt a little lackluster. Never did I feel any attachment to my equipment nor felt threatened with the thought of losing progress when all I needed to do was reload a previous save.
In hindsight, it felt like a slight nuance rather than a reason to feel any reluctance or trepidation when turning that next corner. While I can understand the mechanic, it is negated when you get into random situations such as three monsters ganging up on you; at which point there is little you can do in those instances.
The dungeon crawling aspect also comes with your standard RPG mechanics in the form of equipping/looting new items, one-time use items and ways to improve your overall stats. Upon leveling up, you are given points that you can spend in either the angel or devil trees to acquire new skills and buffs.
Accessing these powers requires a resource called SP, which is gained through continual movement and depleted when you use abilities tailored toward the angel or devil. Health also regenerates in a similar fashion. Another resource called AP is most accurately compared to a dungeon stamina bar that needs to be replenished in order to remain in the dungeon.
Back in your haven of Celestia, you are given a list of things you can do from replaying earlier dungeons to purchasing items at the shop. A storehouse is also available if you want to stash valuable items that you don’t want to lose in a dungeon run if you accidently die. Additional features, such as the music and art hall, are available for you to see all the music and gallery art that you’ve acquired throughout your playtime.
Story mode in The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is similar to a visual novel where you read through text and make critical story branching choices that tether between light and dark. The connotation of said choices will affect your story ending, so multiple playthroughs will be needed to see all the endings.
The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is decent at best with a few interesting mechanics here and there to round out its offerings. The story was rather generic, as are the characters, with no real emotional development. There was just no reason to feel any attachment, creating a lingering feeling of apathy throughout my play experience. It’s a shame as there could have been much more possible with this fusion, but alas, the underlying fundamentals turned out to play it safe rather than innovate.