Being stabbed through the chest by a Devil is never a positive experience, but for loner Shin Kamikaze, it marks the beginning of an epic adventure.
As he lies dying, a mysterious girl appears in his defence and swiftly carries him away. Awakening in Celestia, the home of Angels, Shin is informed that upon his death, he was revived with a Fate Awakening Crystal and that he is now a God. Shin, still in shock from his death and the responsibility that has been thrust upon him, must now play the pivotal role in the fight between Angels and Devils. A fight, that will see him question his own morals and learn what it is to truly be powerful.
Sequel to The Guided Fate Paradox, The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is a dungeon-crawling RPG with rogue-like elements. Don’t worry however; no knowledge of The Guided Fate Paradox is required to enjoy this title as the story is self-contained. It’s very much a game of two halves; you’ll spend nearly as much time watching the story unfold via static screens of anime art and text as you will exploring dungeons. Luckily the story is interesting – albeit sometimes clichéd – and the art is visually appealing. It’s a pleasant surprise that the game has English audio too, although Shin’s quite frequent internal monologues are not voiced. Whilst the game largely gets the balance right between story and gameplay, there were times where it tested my patience somewhat. Especially at the beginning where the dungeons were nothing more than training exercises with only a few floors.
Anyone that has played a dungeon-crawling title before such as Azure Dreams or Mystery Dungeon will feel right at home with The Awakened Fate Ultimatum. Each dungeon has a set number of floors and it’s your job to progress through them by finding the exit on each floor. Unfortunately for you, a number of obstacles will be present to hinder your progress, such as hidden traps and a raft of enemies. Although you can’t really do much about the traps except avoid them (numerous consumables can enable you to see them), your enemies are best dispatched efficiently. Movement within dungeons is turn based, meaning that every time you commit to an action the enemies do too. Manoeuvring yourself to obtain the first strike in combat quickly becomes second nature and is a good habit to get into, as whilst the combat is simple, it can also be unpredictable and brutal. As Shin, you are limited to simply attacking with whatever weapon you have equipped or by throwing items at your foes, but by using the “Deitize” system you can quickly switch between both Angel or Devil forms to access numerous unique skills. The Deitize system is pivotal to the combat, with your stats being boosted in each form as well as you receiving a bonus to damage and defence when fighting enemies of the opposite affinity. You cannot remain in Deitized form forever however, as each action drains an SP bar when in use, and skills require a significant amount of this resource to be expended. Luckily SP gradually recovers when you are not in deitized form, so with effective management your SP can remain fairly buoyant between bouts of combat. For particularly dire situations, there’s also an “Ultimate Deitize” mode which further improves your stats, but this can only be used sparingly.
Being a rogue-like title, your time spent in dungeons is a perilous affair. Whilst being defeated doesn’t result in GAME OVER, it does see you returned to Celestia bereft of any belongings you were carrying. Many items you won’t be too bothered about losing, but you will grow to be quite attached to your weapon and shield as they form the basis of your attack and defence. By finding equipment in the dungeons with a “+” modifier upon them, you can boost the stats of your favourite sword or shield by combining them with the “+” modified item. This allows you to create very powerful equipment over time so losing them via death is a very real threat. As you battle in the dungeons you’ll also level up Shin and fortunately, unlike some dungeon crawlers, this level is persistent so even if you venture into a dungeon and die, you have at least developed your character somewhat. Aside from increasing Shin’s stats by combining items and levelling up, crystal points can also be used to increase the effect of deitize mode and its related skills. Levelling up, making Ultimate Choices and talking to either the devilish Ariael or angelic Jupiel at set points all grant crystal points. Whilst points earned by levelling up can be spent on either the Angel or Devil skill trees, points earned by making Ultimate Choices and talking with either Jupiel or Ariael award Angel and Devil crystal points which can only be used on the corresponding skill tree. While the game eases you in with some easy dungeons, the difficulty soon picks up and you will find that you may need to repeat some earlier dungeons to bolster your equipment and skills. This is not much of an issue initially as the dungeons are fairly fun, but after a while it can become monotonous having to grind in order to level the playing field.
Overall, The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is a fun rogue-like dungeon crawler but it’s unlikely to appeal to those that aren’t already fans of the RPG genre. The deitize system is a nice gameplay mechanic that adds an element of strategy to the combat but it feels a bit underdeveloped. Surprisingly, it’s the game’s moral ultimatums that stood out as a highlight for me. Never as clear cut as they seem, the outcomes of your choices are often refreshingly surprising. With a large amount of depth and some great characters, The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is a title I can easily recommend to those wanting a rewarding experience that they can sink a lot of time into.