Ultimately Uneven | The Awakened Fate Ultimatum
The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is the RPG Roguelike sequel to The Guided Fate Paradox. The former title garnered a great following and a perfect segue for another release in the series. Does the finale between the angel and demon war stand up to the culmination of the event?
As the story opens, you are simply Shin Kamikaze, a typical high school student pondering the reasoning between good and evil in the world. Through happenstance, you are killed and then saved by a mysterious angelic figure. Later, you find out that the revival comes with a pricetag. You have become God and must make choices of who to save and which actions are best for the Celestia to remain intact. You will make an abundance of choices before and after gameplay sequences, often times deciding whether to get closer to your two main “protags,” Jupiel and Ariel. The story of grandeur is present, albeit the story does bog down in certain sections.
Quite possibly the most interesting idea is that your actions don’t result in an obvious outcome. There’s nothing more annoying than simply choosing ‘X’ outcome because it’s the good walkthrough. Good is a very transitive idea in The Awakened Fate Ultimatum, and it’s all the better for it. Sometimes, choosing the “good” choice results in a seemingly bad thing happening shortly thereafter.
The gameplay is split up into three parts, the dialogue sections, the roguelike dungeon crawling portions and the character management portion. The dialogue sections bookend the actual dungeon crawling. In these sections you often have to choose between helping the angelic side, or the demonic side; in a visual novel-esque setting. These sections offer up a beautiful presentation, but, while interesting, they do tend to drag on. And, the time between actual game play can be pretty lengthy.
As this is a roguelike at its core, once you die within a dungeon, you get tossed back to the dungeon selection screen with all items gone (sans those stored before entering a dungeon); this becomes an annoyance when you are on floor 9 of a 10-floor dungeon. Having randomly generated dungeons keeps the repeated dungeon playthroughs fresh but also can make certain levels more difficult with bad luck with the enemy spawns. The rigid controls only complicate matters as the gameplay is slow and plodding. There is some depth in having to Deitize (switch forms) to gain demonic or angelic powers accompanied with special moves to take out enemies of the opposite form. For instance, battling in demonic form allows for a defense buff and strength increase versus angelic creatures. The depth is there with deciding what items to bring and how when battling enemies, but that gameplay hook just isn’t there.
While battling, your character will level up, and the level-up process is pretty basic, for better or for worse. You simply decide if you want to spend a point on your demonic tree or angelic tree increasing your effectiveness with the specified form. Since you’ll be battling both forms of deities, it’s hard to veer from evening out the tree. As for loot, it is prevalent but not so much that it’ll become cumbersome. Increasing weapon strength is done when you have the same weapon and combining it to create a +2 attack stat, for example. It is not overly complicated but adequate nonetheless. The storage system will be a saving grace through dungeon crawling as that’s the only option to save your items should you die.
The grating feel of the gameplay really throws off what the game does have going for it because the dialogue sections are quirkily enjoyable. While the RPG characteristics are pretty lite, having deeper character mechanic would mean even less time making your way through dungeons. I’d be hard pressed to even say the combat was bearable; it was simply a means to an end to get to the more exciting story bits.
As is most of the game, the presentation is very hit or miss. The artwork throughout was top-notch. The portraits on display during dialogue were fantastic to look at and added some depth to the story. Unfortunately as enjoyable as these sections were, the switch between what was voiced and what wasn’t was abrupt and jarring. The game often went from spoken dialogue, then suddenly to subtitled text. While I generally enjoy voiced narration, I don’t mind reading subtitles, but the drastic change between the two was quite annoying. The actual presentation during dungeon crawling is very Disgaea-like. If you enjoy that style, you will surely enjoy it here, but it doesn’t bring anything exciting, nor anything different to the table.