I am always a fan of Musou games, especially when they add a lot of variety to their characters and gameplay. I also happen to love the Fate series. I was a huge fan of trying out Fate/Extra Link, so I was super hyped seeing that there was an announcement of a new Musou game geared towards an original story in the Edo period of Japan but in the Fate world. Fate/Samurai Remnant also happens to be a Musou game published by Koei Tecmo, who I consider the “King” of Musou games. Yep, the stars have aligned, and it’s time for a Fate/Samurai Remnant review!
Game Name: Fate/Samurai Remnant Platform(s): PC (Reviewed), PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch Publisher(s): Koei Tecmo Developer(s): Omega Force, Koei Tecmo Release Date: September 29th, 2023 Price: $59.99
Fate/Samurai Remnant is played from the perspective of Miyamoto Iori. The current era of Japan is in a period of peace, and samurai are generally not needed anymore in society. Miyamoto’s master, Miyamoto Musashi, agrees with this but still finds that he can’t help but train Miyamoto Iori as a samurai. Iori spends most of his time doing odd jobs for the town as he breaks up fights or stops rogue swordsmen from trying to plunder markets.
One day as he is fighting a samurai, he gets a mark on his hand that he assumes is just a scratch from a sword. That night he wakes up to a terrifyingly powerful individual trying to kill him that he can’t even have a glimmer of hope to best. Right before he is about to die, a girl with a sword appears before him protecting him with a sword filled with water. He learns he is a master, and she is his servant. Now Miyamoto Iori and his servant, just termed as Saber, must find a way to stop this Waxing Ritual from killing everyone in Japan as battles become huge displays of power that can total towns with each encounter.
The World of Fate
Fate/Samurai Remnant is a Musou-type game. Combat itself has normal strikes and special strikes. You can combo normal strikes into special strikes. When you unlock it, you can do an ultimate-type move with your character. It deals a ton of damage to enemies as well as a ton of damage to any magic shields they might have. There are three types of enemies. Normal enemies, Magical enemies, and Servant type enemies. All three types have larger-than-normal enemies that can have magical shields. You have to make sure you are either using magical strikes or waiting until after they do a big attack and start glowing to deal damage to their shields. Once the shield is depleted, you will break it and stun the enemy. It will be broken for a chunk of time before they can get it back. This is when they will start taking damage from your normal strikes. You can dodge and jump to make sure you don’t get hit by enemies or their abilities. If you time your dodge at the right time, you can perform a riposte. A riposte lets you deal an attack back at the enemy that will stun them for a bit of time, letting you deal some more damage.
Throughout most of the game, you will play as Miyamoto Iori and Saber. However, there will be moments when you can bring rogue servants with you to battle as well. You have to fill up their affinity gauge to full before it will let you play as those characters for a set time. Until then, you will be playing as Iori and Saber will be helping you out with a few small combos here and there. You can use a bead of the affinity gauge to help your servant perform an affinity technique. This is a special move unique to each servant you have. Saber will have the most customizable techniques and can learn new ones as she levels up. Generally, they do damage to an enemy or group of enemies. If you do an affinity technique while a bigger enemy just got done with one of their special moves and they are glowing, it will stun them.
Some levels will require you to fast-travel to them, other ones will require you to travel through Leyline. Traveling through leylines requires a game in and of itself. You will control Iori to move from one location to a different location along the path of where you need to go. If you meet up with an enemy, you will be in a small arena fighting a bunch of enemies. Then once you beat them, the leyline will be under your control. You want as many leyline areas under your control as you make your way to your destination. If you reach the destination with a ton of leylines under your control, it will give you a huge boost to your stats as you start the level there. It can also give you a sizable boost to your magical stat permanently.
Iori also has magic he can equip. You can have up to four magical abilities equipped at once. These require ambers to be activated. You only have a certain number of them at a time, but you can get more by beating enemies. Some magic deals damage, some can be used to buff yourself or your servants or even heal yourself when you are hurt. Make sure not to go too crazy with magic, either. Stronger spells use up more amber, and it makes it tough to utilize other magical spells. Comparing this combat and kit with other Musou games done by Omega Force, I have to admit they went all out to make this have a lot of variety in combat and style. You can even change stances that will change how you play in general. You begin with the Water stance and Earth stance. Earth stance uses one sword and is a more defensive playstyle that won’t get you stunned as much. It also has passives that reduce the amount of knockback you receive. Water Stance uses two swords and is a much more agile and faster play style. It increases the speed of your combos and improves damage done to human-type enemies. It has buffs that generally help you increase your evasion effectiveness.
You will get access to two other stances as you progress in the story. They can generally be unlocked with the Mage Workshop. Once enemies have threatened to destroy your home, Iori becomes determined to make his house a bunker by turning it into his own Mage Workshop. You can use the Mage Workshop to apply upgrades to your equipment, create statues for money and experience points, research upgrades for your passives or active abilities, and can be used to look at the biographies of people you have met in the world. This is a Fate game, so be sure to know that figuring out the names and identities of servants is important to the story as well as the engagement of the game.
Playing through Fate/Samurai Remnant gives off vibes of Fate/Unlimited Blade Works for those familiar with the series. The story is bonkers, and figuring out the characters and their motives is a huge part of the game. It is also interesting to see how often a one-on-one fight turns into a two-on-one or even a three-on-one fight which makes it so you have to have a lot of strategy and focus on these boss fights. The boss fights in this game can be pretty simple, making sure you evade and attack at the same time, but they are all spectacles in terms of execution.
Bringing History to Life
Fate/Samurai Remnant is beautiful. Models and environments may not be too spectacular, but the animations, the effects, and the aesthetic of this game look amazing. As fights break out in cinematics, I just felt myself get hyped and impressed at the same time. Each weapon clash had an impact, and it showed the damage done to the environment so well. You feel Iori’s shock when it comes to the damage that these fights cause around the cities where these clashes take place. They did a fantastic job with choreography and placement in these fight scenes as well. I can’t wait to see what music videos these scenes cause for people to make.
PC Performance Concerns
One thing you might notice is how there are different images with different resolutions throughout this review. It is time I explained why. I initially started this game on the Steam Deck, and it wasn’t bad, but it was very noticeably stuttering. The pause menu would sometimes crash the game on Steam Deck, so I imagined the game was not created with Steam Deck users in mind. I could only get between 30 to 45 fps in the game. I swapped over to the Asus ROG Ally to see if I could get better performance.
The good news is I was able to get a better performance out of it. Sadly it still was not optimal, though. I would get between 40 to 60 fps while trying to limit it to 60 fps. When I took the limiter off, it would range from 40 to 80 fps. Not a good consistent baseline, and it made some fights feel sluggish. I would not recommend this game on any of the handheld options. Frankly, I am worried about how the performance will be on Nintendo Switch. I booted it up on my PC, which has an RTX 3060 Graphics card, and it was night and day. I held a consistent 120 fps at 1080p and had no dips or stutters in sight. There was also no problem with crashes of any kind. Until this game gets a performance patch, I would not recommend trying this game on the Steam Deck or any other PC-based handheld.
Fate of the Samurai
Fate/Samurai Remnant is a really good Musou Game, and it looks beautiful. The only big problem for me, other than the performance problems, is how often you are playing the game as Miyamoto Iori. You have a variety of great servants shown throughout the game, but 80% of the game has you playing as Iori with limited spurts as other servants like Saber. I do believe that this game is a huge improvement on the Musou game style itself, though, with how many mechanics and interesting gameplay decisions they added into it. With the spells, servant switches, and stance systems, this game has a fleshed-out combat system that is highly enjoyable to play with.
Review Disclosure Statement: Fate/Samurai Remnant was provided to us by Koei Tecmo for review purposes. For more information on how we review video games and other media/technology, please review our Review Guideline/Scoring Policy for more info.
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Fate/Samurai Remnant is a fantastic Musou game that adds more layers and mechanics to what it means to be a Musou game. It also has a story highly reminiscent of the other action-based Fate Series anime.
Story is great and has huge vibes of the Fate Series
Combat is an evolution of the Musou genre
Animations and cutscenes look like God himself came down and constructed them perfectly.
Too much time playing as Miyamoto Iori and not enough time as the Servants
Performance problems on Steam Deck and ROG Ally
Only get bonuses from petting the same cat once? More pets for the animals!