• Several years ago, Zero Hero Project released on the PSP console. It was a terrific and hilarious take on the rogue-like genre. After some time, it’s spiritual successor The Guided Fate Paradox was released on the PS3. While it is also a rogue-like, it was a less zanier setting than ZHP. Now, after about two years, The Guided Fate Paradox has received a sequel in The Awakened Fate: Ultimatum and it’s a perfect example of why you shouldn’t ruin a good thing if it isn’t broken.

    Much like it’s predecessor, the game’s story revolves around the protagonist suddenly finding out that he has become God, and that he must use his power for the sake of others. However, while The Guided Fate Paradox was about granting wishes, The Awakened Fate: Ultimatum is more like a dark gritty retooling of the previous game. Now you play as a character named Shin Kamikaze, who ironically enough dies in the first five minutes. He’s resurrected through the use of an object called the Awakening Fate Crystal. This crystal also grants him the power to govern Fate, effectively making him like a god. However instead of granting people wishes and altering their fates, Shin is treated more like a tool of war. The angels want to use his power to repel the Devil’s forces and help them win the war they’ve fought for countless years. It’s an interesting enough premise, but there are a few missteps that kind of ruin it.

    First of all, the story occasionally suffers from some rather overdone anime tropes, like how Shin is the inexperienced young teen now granted with power he isn’t exactly ready to wield. Then there is the scientist Ariel who has a weird obsession with instant ramen.  The quality of the dub cast is pretty mixed as well. The story is something that’s been told before, but the themes are pretty heavy. As a God, Shin has to make some pretty tough choices when determining the fate of certain plot developments. In addition to dealing with the fact he’s been forced into this position against his will, there’s the fact that he’s pretty much being used as a weapon. Top that off with the fact the situation on the Angel’s side is so grim that they have drafted child soldiers to help them fight the Devils. Unfortunately, the choices that Shin has to make are meaningless in the end. All that your decisions really do is alter some minor plot points, and whether or not you gain Angel or Devil Points. These points are used to increase stats or unlock abilities for Shin’s Light and Dark forms.

    As for the gameplay, after going through several story events, you will enter and traverse through a randomly generated dungeon, comprised of several floors. Like any good rogue-like, enemies move whenever you take any action, and HP and SP regenerates over time. And the AP meter acts like a hunger meter, and once it goes to zero, you lose health until it’s restored. To fight enemies, Shin can make use of his Angel and Devil forms to more effectively fight enemies depending on their alignments. Using these forms does consume SP while active, so managing it becomes a central issue. Of course you also have a limited inventory, so item management is another key factor. You can also go through an upgrade system to make your weapons or armor stronger and give them passive attributes. Being defeated in a dungeon means losing all your items so be careful.

    While all of this serves as tension and challenge to make for a winning rogue-like formula, it’s presentation is severely lacking in quality from the previous games. The shift to 3D from a 2D isometric perspective is pretty drastic. Character’s now also have a chibi look to them, making the game look more like something you’d see in any other rogue-like released in the last few years. It also begs the question why it was made for the PS3 as opposed to the Vita. Then again, maybe that’s a blessing, as the game’s not really designed for short bursts of play. This is because there is no way to save in the middle of a dungeon, with the exception of the suspend feature, which is actually just a temporary save. Oh, and prepare to hear the same boring dungeon music over and over again, as it’s the only one that ever plays. The rest of the music is pretty average as well.

    This game is such a drop in quality it’s saddening, and leaves one wondering why NIS let this happen. The dungeons are less interactive, more boring to play in and look at, and the story suddenly became dark for the sake of being dark. Despite a few failed attempts at humor to lighten the otherwise dreary story, Awakened Fate: Ultimate is a prime example at why you should never rock the boat of good ideas.

    The Awakened Fate: Ultimatum - Review
    An interesting story brought down by a mediocre rogue-like experience.
    Our Score5.5
    Positives
    • The story is interesting in the presentation of it's themes, despite some overuse of some tropes or average quality voice-acting.
    Negatives
    • Auto text scroll speed needs some tweaking so you can have time to read everything.
    • The rogue-like element is severely lacking compared to The Guided Fate Paradox and Zero Hero Project.
    5.5Overall Score
    Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
    6.1