Thursday, October 28, 2010

Fate/Unlimited Codes

Fate/Unlimited Codes is a 3D fighter based on Fate/Stay Night.  While the graphics and stages are 3D, it plays much more like a 2D fighter with sidestepping added.  The camera normally stays in a fixed point of view, but moves in for throws, supers, and anything else worth adding a bit more cinematic quality to, which is actually pretty damn cool.  It makes the gameplay a little less boring when the camera moves to show you how awesome the move you just inputted is.

The graphics are great and the animation is extremely fluid.  The characters are generally easy enough to pick up, though people new to the game may want to use Saber first, just because she's the most straightforward.  I haven't actually settled on a character yet, though I have played everyone, even the three unlockable characters.

If you're familiar at all with the visual novel or the anime (or the Unlimited Blade Works movie), you'll of course recognize pretty much everything.  I'll just leave this here: it takes a lot of time and dedication, but you can actually use Unlimited Blade Works.

The primary method of unlocking things in this game is completing Arcade mode.  Survival mode unlocks after a few times through Arcade mode (I forgot to count), and a few things are unlockable via Survival mode.

At the end of Arcade mode, while the credits are rolling, press a button other than start and you can play a minigame during the credits.  Skeletons will run in and attack Illyasviel.  She blocks, but to get the counter to go up, you'll need to hit your parry button (X by default).  Consistently parrying at the right time makes the counter go up faster.  If you want to play this in a more repeatable fashion, unlock and play Berserker's EX mission.

The game has a mission mode, which I can kind of follow but after a bit I get lost in trying to figure out what the hell it wants me to do in whichever mission, since the instructions are in Japanese.  Some of the missions are just crazy, like requiring you to perform a long combo, but others are much simpler.

Also available is Watch mode, which basically lets you set up a fight and let the CPU battle itself.  Protip: turn the difficulty up before going into this mode if you don't want to be bored to death.  Just remember to put it back where you had it when you're done.

It bears a few similarities to the Melty Blood series, which kind of makes sense seeing as how they're both Type-Moon games.  I won't delve very deep into the mechanics, but the magic circuit gauge works pretty much the same as in Melty Blood.  The way it does its supers is different though.

It probably goes without saying, since pretty much all Japanese fighting games have this in common, but the game is fairly import friendly.  All the menus are in English.  You'll only need to know maybe one Japanese word (or at least recognize the symbols, even if you don't know what they mean) to make your save file (select はい and press circle when you start the game up, then go into the options and turn on auto save), but that's the same for any other import game, and once you turn on auto save, it becomes less of an issue.  Also, as always, Circle is confirm and X is cancel.

Overall, Fate/Unlimited Codes is a pretty solid and fun fighting game.

I've reorganized this post slightly.  Information about the unlockables is now after the break.  If all you want to read is the review, you don't need to click "Read More".

Since the majority of stuff is unlocked by clearing Arcade mode over and over again, naturally, you'll want to speed the process up.  Set the difficulty to Beginner, the CPU win count to 1, and the damage level to 4.  Now you'll blitz through each character's Arcade mode and have stuff unlocked in no time.
  • Finishing Arcade mode with a character unlocks their system voice (Kirei's is the default and is already unlocked), their first, third, and fourth pictures in the visual collection, and the ability to view them in the model viewer (select Material/UC in Extra mode).  Go into the sound options to set the system voice.
  • You get Illyasviel's system voice for completing Arcade mode as the random character.  With the random character selected, your character will change every fight.
  • As you do Arcade mode over and over again, the movies will gradually unlock.  I forgot to keep track of when each one unlocked.
  • There are three unlockable characters: Leysritt, Saber Alter, and Zero Lancer.  I got Leysritt on the fifth time completing arcade mode, Saber Alter on the seventh, and Zero Lancer has a special condition.
  • To get Zero Lancer, you need to get him to appear, defeat him, and finish Arcade mode like usual.  Get KOs either with perfects or supers and eventually he'll appear, usually on the sixth stage.  You're on the right track if Luviagelita appears on the third stage.  Her appearance isn't a requirement, it's merely a sign that you're doing the right stuff.
  • To unlock the stage that Zero Lancer challenges you on, beat Arcade mode with him.
  • Saber and Gilgamesh have unlockable extra costumes:
    • Saber's is Saber Lily and can be unlocked by beating Arcade mode with Saber Alter.
    • Gilgamesh's is his casual clothing and can be unlocked by beating arcade with him after beating arcade with everyone else.
    • To unlock both of these in the model viewer, use them to clear Arcade mode.
  • The two remaining slots in the model viewer are for Illyasviel, and Caster's skeletons.  These can be unlocked by beating Arcade mode twice with both Berserker and Caster, respectively.
  • Completing arcade mode three times with a character unlocks their EX mission, which is basically a minigame.  These will also be unlocked after doing enough of that character's other missions, but unlocking them via Arcade mode is far easier.
  • Completing everyone's EX mission unlocks BGM select for both VS. modes.
  • At first, Survival is 16 stages.  After completing Stage 16 the first time, you unlock Endless Survival.  The 16-stage version remains playable as Standard Survival.
  • Beating Standard Survival stage 16 unlocks your selected character's second picture.  It may also unlock after Endless Survival stage 16, I haven't checked.
  • According to GameFAQs, beating Endless Survival stage 32 unlocks the Ultimate difficulty.
The majority of the unlocks are easy and just take time.  I'd label everything that has to be unlocked via Survival as the most difficult stuff to unlock.

It may sound like you have to clear Arcade mode a lot, but it goes pretty quickly and can be compressed into simply beating Arcade mode three times with each character if you do things in the right order.  Set your options as described above and start clearing Arcade mode.  Don't forget to select the random character (the question mark in the middle) at some point, you only need to clear Arcade mode this way once.  Avoid using Gilgamesh until after you've used (and unlocked) everyone else.  With the options specified above, Zero Lancer will definitely be unlocked at some point.  I got him along with Saber Lily when going through with Saber Alter the first time.  Once you've beaten it once with everyone except Gilgamesh, beat it with Gilgamesh.  Now go through again for everyone's second clear, making sure to select Saber Lily and Gilgamesh's third costume when you use Saber and Gilgamesh, respectively.  Once more through with everyone and you'll have all the EX missions.  Set your options back to normal and beat the EX missions at your leisure.

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