Dungeon crawlers have evolved quite a lot since their origins, and have taken every shape and form. Transforming from environment to the next, they all consist of quite an entertaining experience, exploring dungeons mainly for items to upgrade your character and make progress easier, or at least try to. The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is a typical dungeon crawler, which combines the typical dungeon gameplay with a neat story and a lot of decisions which influence the upgrades which one may pursue.
The Awakened Fate Ultimatum starts with the main character dying, which already takes the game into a different path from most other similar titles. The death of Shin Kamikaze, who does not die in a suicide bomb explosion as his name may adversely imply, occurs inexplicably from a gang who jumps him on his way home from school. He then wakes up and finds himself in a laboratory in Celestia, an angel stronghold, where he discovers two women, Jupiel and Ariael, have implanted in him the Fate Awakening Crystal in the place of his heart to revive him. As it turns out, Jupiel is an angel and Ariael is a devil, who was imprisoned by the angels. Having achieved a deal with the angels’ commander, Mariel, who happens to be Jupiel’s older sister, she can roam free in Celestia in exchange of her Crystal Energetics knowledge, which was ultimately the key which revived Kamikaze. This crystal has turned Kamikaze into a God, having angel and demon powers and tasked with defeating the devils to put Celestia back in peace.
As all dungeon crawlers go, the gameplay features a character roaming the areas with the aim of going further into the dungeon until you clear it, but unlike usual games, you actually see the enemies roaming around the dungeon as well, and do not jump you Pokémon style. Instead, you can see the enemies going about the map when you’re close enough. What is also different than normal dungeon crawlers is the battle system. Since there are no random encounters, there is no battle transition, and combat takes place on the spot. Even if combat takes place spontaneously, it is turn based. Once you get within fighting range of your enemy, generally one or two squares on the grid shown when pressing square on the Dualshock 3, the battle begins and one can decide whether to use normal attacks, with punches or any weapons if picked up, or spells. Spells are used in either Angel mode or Devil mode, and consume SP. The game features both angel and devil enemies, so using magic of the opposite affinity will prove to be more effective. Kamikaze can also melee attack while in Angel or Devil form, which also will deal more damage if the opponent features the opposite attribute, but will consume SP as well. Moving while having either Angel or Devil form active will also have SP trickle down, but at a much slower rate than casting spells.
The game also feature another meter alongside the HP and SP meter, which is the AC meter. The AC meter represents activity, and while HP and SP will increase when walking about, the AC meter will decrease when doing actions such as walking about or fighting. The AC meter goes down rather slowly, but if it hits 0 you lose the game as if you run out of HP. Failing a dungeon means that you lose all of the items which you carry, not only the ones found in that dungeon only, which brings a sense of almost realism to the game as well. Luckily there are some items which restore this AC, and quite a large number of it, so if you use the resources wisely one should never have this problem. One should also mention that dungeons contain traps. These are triggered when stepping on them, and can be both buffs or debuffs or damage. It is important to not step again on the bad tiles, like I did several times in the beginning of the game, since these re-activate and will refresh the debuff or damage you again. There are items which you can use to show items and traps around the map, but these are quite rare and have to be used carefully.
The main choices in the game revolve around choosing between, basically, morally right or wrong. The right choices are represented by Jupiel, while the wrong choices are on Ariael. These choices affect how the story progresses, but they also affect the upgrades available for Kamikaze. This is because The Fate Awakening Ultimatum’s upgrade system follows the usual tree style, where you need to fill out the slots in order to unlock the adjacent ones. Upgrades are earned by levelling up, which nets you Level CP, and by making choices, which earns you Angel CP or Devil CP, depending on which side you choose. One can decide to choose alternatingly to unlock CP evenly but it is probably better to follow your heart and do the choices which you would do, to further engage into the story as it unfolds.
As what regards the artistic side of the game, the main characters, being Shin, Jupiel and Ariael, are designed beautifully, each looking to have his own personality and traits. Their dialogue also reflects this; while Jupiel is righteous and seeks to do good at all times, Ariael is just a scientist who only cares about her creations and eating instant noodles. Yep. Kamikaze, on the other hand, undergoes a change of character from the shallow, weak human that he was in the beginning of the game, and begins transforming slowly into a powerful man who can step up and defend his beliefs. The dialogue in the beginning of the game is quite awkward and not that good to go through, but as the story develops the cutscenes become as interesting as the gameplay, which is a quite welcomed change. The Awakened Fate Ultimatum also nails its soundtrack; the songs are a great accompaniment to the game, and even by themselves are also cool as well. I found myself leaving the music on while doing something else just for how catchy the songs are.
Having a fair death mechanic and balancing enemies with the Angel or Devil form, the game is probably one of the most balanced game I have ever set eyes and hands on, which is quite a good thing. The decision making would not normally be seen in a game of this type, but it is executed quite well, taking it to another level. If you’re looking for a solid dungeon crawler with a strong story and also a hint of strategy, look no further because The Awakened Fate Ultimatum contains everything of the above.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.