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The Awakened Fate Ultimatum Review—Make the Ultimate Choice

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The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is the follow-up to The Guided Fate Paradox, which came out in 2013. Both of these games are, in fact, spiritual successors to the Zettai Hero Project game that came out for PSP in 2010. All three games feature mostly traditional rogue-like elements, tasking players with moving through a dungeon while collecting items, beating baddies, and strengthening your character.

The Awakened Fate Ultimatum features a protagonist named Shin Kamikaze, a humble human who is disenchanted with humanity as a whole. On his way home from school one seemingly random day, he is assaulted and killed by devils. An angel comes to his aid, named Jupiel, and with the help of the (potentially mad) Scientist Ariael, they resurrect Shin. This resurrection isn’t as clear cut as that. By modifying Shin’s body through the use of the Fate Awakening Crystal, Shin is actually made into a God.

The game proceeds from there, throwing the player into rogue-like dungeons while progressing Shin’s Angel and Devil powers. That’s right – as God, Shin has access to both ‘good’ and ‘evil’, ‘angel’ and ‘devil’ powers. This becomes a large focus of the game, as throughout the story the player will be making ‘Ultimate Choices’ as Shin. While the sides are indeed pretty clear cut as you make the choices (There’s a scale with one blue side, and one red side), the choices themselves are less clearly good and evil.

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For a good example, the first ‘Ultimate Choice’ you’re presented with is saving a number of dying angels in front of you, or trying to take out the enemies, thereby saving more angels overall. This seems to be more of an emotional versus logical response, which is really quite nice, as neither choice is actually evil. This pattern extends to the later choices as well, with the so-called ‘evil’ choices never actually being things that you feel bad picking.

Of course, there are also a large number of conversation events that will also having the player decide between two options, though the outcome is far less drastic story wise. They will still influence the story and the scenes the player will view, but the overall story impact is low compared to the ‘Ultimate Choices’. These scenes are used instead to help build trust between Shin and the other characters, hopefully drawing them closer as friends, comrades, or even more.

The game features a number of characters, all with exquisite art. All of the art is handled by Noizi Ito, famous for her work in the Haruhi Suzumiya novels, as well as the Shakugan no Shana novels. All of the character designs and art in The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is fantastic, really giving life to the characters. And not only that, but the titular Haruhi and Shana even both appear in the game during some late game side-stories!

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The story of the game, unfortunately, is not all that engaging. While the character interactions and characters themselves are fun, the story tries to get serious in strange moments, and the pacing is inconsistent, leaving parts of the story hanging or feeling incomplete as it throws you into a dungeon to complete before continuing with the scene. It’s not a huge problem here, as the choice points, if nothing else, do feel consistent and are treating with care-even if some of the lesser scenes seem tossed around carelessly.

One thing I would like to cite here is the translation. The translation/localization teams did great work with The Awakened Fate Ultimatum. The language and word choices are consistent with the Japanese moreso than most games I’ve seen recently, and they didn’t over-localize, which seems to be a problem that many games and anime run into. They also did a good job with the Ultimate Choices, keeping the wording on most of them more in the grey area and less black and white.

Now, as for the gameplay, the most commonly found comparison is that The Awakened Fate Ultimatum plays similarly to the Pokémon Mystery dungeon series. However, for people with a bit more obscure knowledge, the game play is more similar to Shiren or Izuna. It’s very simplistic in nature, and requires some good grinding.

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Unfortunately, that simplicity makes the gameplay very bland. Ultimately, the game comes down to how well you utilize Shin’s two forms, the Angel Form and the Devil Form, accessed through ‘Deitizing’. By becoming God associated with Angels, your attacks will deal more damage to Devil enemies, while attacks during Devil form will deal more damage to Angel enemies, and you will encounter plenty of both.

Throughout the game you’ll be developing your two forms to your liking through the use of skill tress that are filled with ‘Crystal Points’. CP is generated in two ways. First, through levelling the traditional way, you’ll gain CP that can be used toward your Angel or Devil side. The second way is through progressing the story and side stories. As you answer Ultimate Choices, you’ll be given CP based upon the side you chose. So, if you go with the Angel side, you’ll be given CP that you can only spend on developing your angel half, and vice-versa.

In addition to this, you’re able to strengthen yourself through ‘Item Boosting’. This synthesis-type system will allow you to strengthen items by combining them with the same items to boost their base strength. You can also implant Skill Crystals into items, which you’ll come across throughout the game.

Creating various items, weapons, armor, and such are your ticket to make it through the game without issue. You can change your equipment on the fly as you travel through the dungeons, so switching out what you have equipped to better yourself in attack or defense will keep you one step ahead of your enemies. Abusing this system makes most enemies laughable, if you take the time to build up your arsenal carefully.

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So, The Awakened Fate Ultimatum has a very solid gameplay base, but ends up not really doing anything too significant with it. It’s fun, but doesn’t have the spark that Zettai Hero Project had; something that was sorely missing from The Guided Fate Paradox as well. It’s not so much that The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is a bad game, because it’s really not. It’s solid, just not as good as its predecessor.

If you’re contemplating whether or not to pick it up, doing so is not a bad decision. The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is a strong game, and one of the few games that still carry the rogue-like torch—it’s just missing that last little touch to make it great. And ultimately, that’s how the game feels; it’s a good game that is just shy of being great.

The Awakened Fate Ultimatum was reviewed using a code provided by NIS America. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.

Overall: 7.5

The Good:

  • Solid rogue-like gameplay
  • Breathtaking character designs / art
  • Characters that are less cookie-cutter than the norm for the genre
  • More story involvement than the genre usually allows.

The Bad:

  • Gameplay, while solid, feels like it’s missing that special touch
  • Weak overall story
  • Poor story pacing
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About

I'm a pretty chill guy. Huge video game fan, but a bigger anime fan. I also love to write - obviously.



50 comments
  1. Dammage
    Dammage
    March 10, 2015 at 5:12 am

    Any opinion on Guided Fate Paradox? These games look pretty fun and I kinda wanna try that one first

  2. The_Mad_Monarch
    The_Mad_Monarch
    March 10, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Paradox is a game I felt had a lot of potential. Though it’s story pacing was off, and the most interesting bit was the very first story segment, and it mostly went downhill after that. Biggest issue is the gameplay gets boring pretty fast. If you can find it cheap though it’s a good time killer.

  3. Chris Gregoria
    Chris Gregoria
    March 10, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Basically that. Both ‘Fate’ games were huge letdowns after Z.H.P. They both feel over-simplified in comparison. Less fun too.

  4. Dammage
    Dammage
    March 10, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Welp guess I’m skipping them then. Way too many other games to play and not enough time to waste on timewasters

  5. Samuel Roberts
    Samuel Roberts
    March 10, 2015 at 1:56 pm

    Guided Fate Paradox was great. Awesome soundtrack, wonderful character design, intricate systems that you absolutely need to understand to beat the game, and a ton of replay content. It’s probably my favorite NIS game.

    It’s probably really cheap now too.

    Also the opening them is one of the best on the PS3:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mu1mxt5iUbs

  6. Thanatos2k
    Thanatos2k
    March 10, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    My problem with the first game was combat was so focused on attack damage. Defense was nearly useless, so basically if you didn’t kill every enemy in one hit, you had problems. So better dump everything into attack and there really was no downside or strategy.

  7. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    March 11, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Ok guys so here’s the ground rules for our giveaway – U.S. fans only (sorry, I’m poor and can’t afford international shipping), and the entries will be cut off next Wednesday, March 18th, upon which we’ll decide a winner.

    So how do you win? All you have to do is comment here on the review saying if you prefer to play as “good,” or as “evil.” Give some interesting, even possibly funny reasons. The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is about these sort of choices, so we’re looking to see how fans react and decide when put into that sort of scenario.

    I can see your email addresses and IP addresses, so please don’t even try to double post to increase your chances – don’t ruin this for everyone else. Good luck everyone!

  8. Cy
    Cy
    March 11, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Seems cool, even if it is a total waifu simulator. I love the idea of having story choices in JRPG’s, even minor ones, since “linear story” and “role playing” never really seemed to fit together for me.

  9. Landale
    Landale
    March 11, 2015 at 3:02 pm

    Generally I go with evil when given the option as games generally don’t go that route without it being optional so it’s nice to experience from time to time. I also find that whether the options are evil or “evil” they suit me better. True evil often adds extra challenges to the games, while things that are merely evil in name only come off more along the lines of Chaotic Neutral, which was my favorite alignment to use back when I had people to play things like D&D with.
    And with this game in particular evil means siding with the cute redhead. Why would you do anything other than that?

  10. Ruka
    Ruka
    March 11, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Good because what I usually do first in games.. plus I like being a good guy

  11. FalseTragedian
    FalseTragedian
    March 11, 2015 at 4:02 pm

    I prefer to fight something that’s fighting back. I’m also generally a very empathetic person IRL. This is why I choose good.
    I don’t really have many funny anecdotes to go with this… But there was the time I didn’t realize you could own more than one house per town in Fable, because I didn’t go around killing innocent townsfolk and thus there were never any vacancies.
    And the fact that the only thing keeping me from Platinum trophies in inFamous 1&2 is the evil-side trophies, but I’m too attached to the idea of good guy Cole to do an evil playthrough.

  12. perfig
    perfig
    March 11, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    I played TFGP and finishd story mode. Ex Missions were difficult so the grindan is a must in this game. This sequel is less difficult (I think) and I always choose the sexy girl… so play as “evil”

  13. PleaseHelpMe
    PleaseHelpMe
    March 11, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    I always pick evil cuz all my life I’ve heard video games make you become things and I want video games to make me become Sephiroth someday.

  14. Phelan
    Phelan
    March 11, 2015 at 6:34 pm

    Uh oh can we (Europe) participate without participating? :P I mean not entering giveaway?

    Because it really seems like quite a fun :P even without getting anything in return :P

    It all pretty much depends on definition of what is “evil” and what is “good”. The whole concept of it is pretty much restricted to European civilization and countries that were born from it. So if you you take a look at Asiatic civilizations we would notice that there is no concept of “evil”… instead we have acts that are against either community or law. So killing is a ok as long as it is done for the greater good. Similar case with “good” deeds… charity is seens as useful not because it is “good” but because it is useful to society.

    So why there is Japanese game about making choices? Well… that’s the influence of European civilization.

    But whatever let’s return to topic. Even in Europe the whole concept of being “good” or “evil” is rather doubtful. There were many great philosophers that treated such division as something rather silly. The best example would be Nietzsche and his two masterpieces “Thus Spoke Zarathustra” and “Beyond good and evil”

    “Das, was ein Alter fühlt sich böse zu sein ist in der Regel ein vorzeitiges Widerhall dessen, was ehemals als gut – der Atavismus eines alten ideal.”

    or in language that can be understood by majority:

    “That which an age feels to be evil is usually an untimely echo of what was formerly considered good – the atavism of an old ideal.”

    There is simply no one “evil” and one “good”. Those change all the time, the question is who is the person who decides upon that? As logic should whisper to once ear – > the evil man do

    Alas… if the individual want to be trully individual he is bound to be evil.

    That is why I’d rather be considered as evil…

    tl;dr since I was lil kid I always played in D&D as lawful evil

  15. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    March 12, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Of course. I want to encourage discussion as well!

  16. Mike Nieto
    Mike Nieto
    March 12, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    I’d like to play as both good and evil because that way, I manage to experience the entire outcome of the story.

  17. Batora
    Batora
    March 12, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Guided Fate is the better game.
    Unlike Ultimatum, Guided Fate was
    developed by the Disgaea A-team.

  18. Fenrir007
    Fenrir007
    March 12, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Would it be possible in future giveaways to make it so people outside the US can pay for the shipping if they win? Or at least have some digital game giveaways as well – that way you can simply send us the code.

  19. ironexe
    ironexe
    March 14, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    I prefer to play as good. Evil doesn’t really hold any allure to me. I usually don’t enjoy it, the exception being Force persuading an alien to jump into a pit in KOTOR2 so he could “get to the bottom faster”.

  20. Tanner Thomure
    Tanner Thomure
    March 15, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    Good for the first play-through and Evil for the second play-through. I gotta see both sides of the story and characters!

  21. Kyle Gaddo
    Kyle Gaddo
    March 15, 2015 at 10:16 pm

    >playing as a good guy
    evil forever, duh

  22. Valwin Mediaz
    Valwin Mediaz
    March 15, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    Good guy all the way

  23. mwvdragon
    mwvdragon
    March 15, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    Evil because I consider it a change of pace than always being the good guy which you are in most games it seems. But I will go good as well if the story is different down that path.

  24. Teepo
    Teepo
    March 15, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    Normally, I choose ‘good’ but I kind of like the ‘evil’ one in this game. >:D

  25. Joey
    Joey
    March 15, 2015 at 10:23 pm

    Evil because the dark side has cookies.

  26. Prowizzles
    Prowizzles
    March 15, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    I would be evil just so everyone will be bowing down to me at the end

  27. Joshua
    Joshua
    March 15, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    For this game, evil.

    I’m not a fan of angelic stuff, just never feels strong or looks cool to me. Devil power all the way ya know?

  28. LenLovecraft
    LenLovecraft
    March 15, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    I prefer to play as good, because even in fantasy I can’t stomach to be bad. I really can’t. I might be the only person that has played a fallout game without stealing just because of the anxiety and the guilt. I’m very spergy that way I suppose, lmao. It’s that catholic guilt you know?

  29. Fire.fire.kun
    Fire.fire.kun
    March 15, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    I would likely go with evil. Being evil makes you a badass that everyone loves to hate, and if there wasn’t an evil guy, there would just a bunch of boring good people doing things which is BORING.

  30. Morstm
    Morstm
    March 15, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    As a misogynistic shitlord cis scum fedora-kin, naturally I’ll choose to play evil. That way I can be just like my idols: Not Important and Donte the Demon Killer.

  31. HerbalNekoTea
    HerbalNekoTea
    March 15, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    I will go with evil because you are free of doing what you want, raping, molesting, destroys, bukake, steal, blackmail, extorc, enslave anybody. I am Maou-sama, fear to the ultimate end of the world i made in Tokyo, 10KM2 of kid with gun on a mix of cocaine and speed shooting anybody with a political figure as otage into this doomed region while i ask the gov to release so criminal including my father. Ok, i should have not read The Devil on the G-String (G-Senjou no Maou). Here’s a quote : “Oh, come, lovely child! Oh come thou with me!/For many a game I will play there with thee;” -Erlkönig

  32. Cody
    Cody
    March 15, 2015 at 11:39 pm

    I prefer to play as good because I’m a goody-two-shoes. I always play a Jedi in Star Wars games and I like being the ISA in Killzone. Even when I want to be bad, I will do the right thing. I’m a terrible bad guy, to be honest. Don’t have it in me.

  33. Snowdancer
    Snowdancer
    March 15, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    I would be good because I’m a goody two shoes that likes to manipulate evil that thinks they are smart. Basically I’m cute as diabetes good that makes you fear me if you are evil. The good guy chessplayer.

  34. ultrapwnd
    ultrapwnd
    March 15, 2015 at 11:46 pm

    Good, I like playing as good characters. Playing bad ones makes me feel mean D:

  35. Wand
    Wand
    March 16, 2015 at 11:27 am

    I bought The Guided Fate Paradox on day one and have yet to begin playing it ;_; damn university.

  36. Demetirus
    Demetirus
    March 16, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    With regards to if I’d choose good or evil on my first playthough, it always depends on the characters i’m interacting with. If they’re folks who don’t annoy me, I’ll actually try to be a good guy and help them out. However this, just as in real life, doesn’t extend to folks who annoy me or annoy folks I *do* like. (don’t mess with my friends and family, yo)

    Ultimately, this uncaring attitude towards those who probably have reasons for their obnoxious behaviour (even if the writing never reveals it) usually tends to get me slapped with the evil label. I honestly can’t see it ever playing out any differently, not even in this game. I just can’t help but be like that unless i’m making a conscious effort and when I’m first playing through a game, I just want to relax and enjoy it.

  37. combat1921
    combat1921
    March 17, 2015 at 2:14 am

    I find the weaker a game is from a story and character standpoint more evil I’ll be. Generally if I’m given the option to do terrible things but there are good characters I’ll feel there is some risk of them finding out and me disappointing them (or falling into their plans if they’re villains), or even just feeling like shit, but if I feel the world is completely unresponsive ala Skyrim I don’t see why I’d care about slaughtering civilians. I have no sense that these people have their own motivations, thoughts, personalities, or senses of self, they are just facsimiles of humans that function as item and quest dispensers who I can overpower in great numbers,preferably while playing heavy metal ,they don’t even seem to suffer at all no matter what I do.

    in short, I’m only going to want to be a tyrant if the only person I care about is myself(shocking, I know).

  38. Ben
    Ben
    March 17, 2015 at 8:49 am

    I always like to play as evil at least for first playthrough. Best believe when i go into your house everything that isn’t nailed down is getting put in my inventory. Don’t worry though it’ll all be available again at your nearest shop :-D

  39. PintSizedPurple
    PintSizedPurple
    March 17, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Good, because that’s what all the tsundere girls like.

  40. Okam
    Okam
    March 17, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Evil because I want to know their viewpoint. Why do they do what they do? What are their motivations? Were there born this way or did life events shape their sense of morals? I want to understand evil.

  41. Okam
    Okam
    March 17, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    nerd

  42. Ramirez
    Ramirez
    March 17, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Evil. I usually go Neutral, but I’m always hoping to find a game where the Evil path isn’t cartoonishly evil.

  43. Fred Bloss
    Fred Bloss
    March 18, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    Good, because Evil uses all kinds of dirty tricks making for a more interesting struggle.

  44. Kyouraku
    Kyouraku
    March 18, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I always pick good the first time around because I love spouting off heroic cliches at my TV and making people around me worry about my mental state.

  45. Reny Ramos
    Reny Ramos
    March 18, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    I would surely finish playing both, but i would really like to try the Evil route first, that’s something that is not enough explored in games, because i want to see how evil can i be (well i could never get the pure evil rute in Overlord) before my morality stop me XD.

  46. Shawn ★ ⒸⒶⓈⓀⒺⓉⓉ
    Shawn ★ ⒸⒶⓈⓀⒺⓉⓉ
    March 18, 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Good because its usually the canon telling of the story. The beauty of games is that you can replay them and witness both sides of the story!

  47. LockeCole
    LockeCole
    March 18, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Good. While evil can be fun sometimes, I just generally find being good to feel better in the long run. Playing evil eventually makes me regret playing that path in most games.

  48. matty
    matty
    March 18, 2015 at 4:55 pm

    Bad. That’s where the best and strongest waifus are sided with.

  49. DanteJones
    DanteJones
    March 18, 2015 at 6:51 pm

    Good, because when given the option it’s what I always go for first. I save Evil for my second playthrough when I want to go back and destroy everything. ;p