You know, you can always count on NIS America to bring over plenty of RPGs for fans that often go through long droughts without anything new to play. While this month is a bit busy with big releases, including Bloodborne and Final Fantasy Type-0 HD, there have been many periods where all one has to subsist on are the offerings of more niche developers. With that said, let's look at NISA's localization for this rather RPG-filled month, Awakened Fate Ultimatum.
Awakened Fate Ultimatum is the spiritual successor to 2013's Guided Fate Paradox, which in itself is a spiritual successor to the 2010 PSP title Z.H.P. Unlosing Ranger VS Darkdeath Evilman. Don't worry, though; no prior knowledge of either game is required to play this new entry to the "series", as it is a completely stand-alone title.
Arguably, the the biggest pull of the narrative comes with the decisions Shin is forced to make throughout the game. At many pivotal moments throughout the story, players must choose one of two options - an ultimatum, if you will. Oftentimes these are not easy decisions to make. Will you let the prisoner live or die? Will you take the risk trying to save everyone on the chance that you will fail and watch them all die? Who will you share your room with? Whatever decision you make, you're forced to live with the consequences of what you've decided. Awakened Fate Ultimatum does change the dialog and plot points depending on the decisions Shin makes, and you'll find that many times, such situations do not give a clear-cut, 'best' solution, and Shin will be forced to live with the regret.
Overall, the story is actually rather bleak and a bit grim; Awakened Fate Ultimatum isn't afraid to show players the darker sides of war. The game really manages to weave a compelling and solid narrative, one that is both deep and many times almost heart wrenching, which is all the more driven home by the fact that you are forced to make many of the difficult decisions that decide the fate of your allies.
Beyond the narrative, though... the gameplay is actually pretty basic. Shin will traverse rogue-like dungeons that change every time you enter them, complete with random items, traps, and monsters strewn about. Most of the dungeons are relatively short, with only the final dungeon going above ten floors.
Which isn't saying much, actually. Barring a sudden difficulty jump during the final chapter, Awakened Fate Ultimatum is a fairly easy game. To take myself as an example, I'm pretty bad at rogue-likes as a whole. However, I was able to go through almost the entire game without grinding. I did have one occasion where I failed a dungeon, but between taking more of my good items and the extra one or two levels I got from going through the dungeon again, I was able to decimate the boss with ease. Again, the only problem I ran into was the final dungeon, which is longer, contains two bosses, and has tons of powerful enemies; it's such a step up in difficulty that it's more frustrating than welcome.
Also, in terms of mechanics outside of the dungeon crawling itself, Awakened Fate Ultimatum errs on the side of simple. You can level up Shin's Fate Awakening Crystal in between dungeons which can help you level up his forms; while you can go all into one form if you desire (barring a few crystal points you might get from making decisions), it's of course best to keep the two balanced as you'll have to use both almost equally. You can also level up equipment and apply Gems to them for special effects, and that's about it.
Still, the plot is strong, and anyone looking for a great story can't go too wrong with Awakened Fate Ultimatum. The gameplay is mostly unobtrusive, which allows most players to fully enjoy the deep plot without too many road blocks along the way. Granted, this title isn't perfect, but is still a good entry to the NIS library that you will want to consider picking this one up.
Versions tested: PlayStation 3
Disclaimer: A copy of this game was provided to RPG Site by the publisher.