Fate/Samurai Remnant feels like more than a simple spin-off
Omega Force has been nothing if not busy these past few years; and Fate/Samurai Remnant only continues the developer's onslaught of releases, following up on their release of Wild Hearts earlier in the year. Much like with that title, the developer has taken it upon themselves to create an Action RPG that differs from their usual Dynasty Warriors flair; even if specific elements of those titles remain in Fate/Samurai Remnant's framework.
During our brief 15-minute demo during this year's Anime Expo, we had the chance to get familiar with the game, and what it brings to the Fate franchise; first and foremost, and unsurprisingly due to the game's title, players take control of Master and Servant during the Edo period of Japan. Notably, as an Action RPG, players will mostly control main character Iori - Saber's master - rather than Saber themselves, although a core aspect of the game's battle system does in fact focus on the collaboration between Master and Servant.
Iori himself has access to multiple combat stances; up to 5 in the full game, though the slice of the story we had the chance to experience found ourselves with only access to two, Earth and Water. It was enough to give us an idea of how these different forms can impact gameplay, of course; Water style focused on crowd control, and dealing with many enemies at once, while Earth was far more suitable for 1-on-1 action.
Throughout the course of the demo - which consisted of gathering outstanding debts from several overdue lenders for a client - we were treated with some hands-on examples for how this collaboration between Master and Servant plays a direct role in not just the story, but the gameplay. Upon discovering where one lender has hidden his money and that it was placed in a spot out of reach without a ladder, Saber uses their strength to launch Iori into the air, allowing access to the lender's stash.
Notably, using this action during exploration unlocked a combat skill that directly utilized a similar action for combat; as most, if not all, of the skills in the demo squarely focused on Saber, and using their abilities either alone or in tandem with Iori. Of course, while Iori is a rather capable swordsman that can hold his own in a fight - and the game makes it a point to show he's a step or two above the average fighter - maxing out a meter that then allows players to take direct control of Saber helps really sell the power-gap between the two.
The best demos are ones that you step out of wanting to play more, and that was certainly the case here. Beyond the gameplay itself feeling snappy and engaging, the overall presentation and aesthetic of the game were a delight. This Saber's design is excellent, and the unique "charcoal-colored" portraits for characters deliver charm in spades. So far the game seems to be a fresh and exciting experience for fans both new and old alike; here's hoping the full game can continue to deliver.