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First Impressions: Fate/Grand Order

I've finally picked up Fate/Grand Order, after months of dilly-dallying and browsing through quick-start and installation guides. Hours spent playing Love Live! School Idol Festival, watching anime, reading manga and putting my new PlayStation 4 Slim through the ringer certainly didn't help me procrastinate any less. 

On hindsight, however, maybe I should've spent more time deciding instead because the game is threatening to take over every minute of free time I have. Being a huge fan of Fate/Stay Night and its many spinoffs does not help my cause one bit. Not to mention the generous amounts of experience points that quests give. I'm starting to understand why this game lords over the rest in the Japanese iTunes store's Top Grossing list.

It has only been just over two weeks since I started playing Fate/Grand Order but I've already reached level 71, with a current cap of 130; a testament to how easy it is to level-up. More good...or bad news awaits as a game update tomorrow raises the level cap to 140 and a new chapter in Grand Order's story mode is added, or 'Singularity', as the game calls it. 

For those of you wondering why I've been hesitating for so long, it's due to my less than fluent Japanese. Not being able to understand the text in the game's story mode or the various error codes was a nightmare to me. Fortunately, the guides from the Fate/Grand Order community on Reddit and 4chan along with the game's judicious use of English throughout the different menus made the learning curve gentler.

To stay I don't regret picking Fate/Grand Order up would be a gross understatement. The combat system is unique and it's rewarding to ponder for several seconds before tapping on the different 'attack' cards instead of other combat-oriented mobile games that offer an 'Auto' option. I simply don't see the point of a game if you're watching and not playing. Like any other mobile game, what lines the pockets of developers Delight Works is the gachapon system utilising Saint Quartz, the game's premium currency. 

In Love Live! School Idol Festival, you 'scout' for the 18 girls from the two groups. In Fate/Grand Order, you summon Servants (the 'idols' in this case) and Craft Essences; cards that you equip to your Servants and provide HP and/or Attack bonuses along with useful passive skills.

3 Saint Quartz nets you one 3-star or above Servant or Craft Essence and 30 will let you summon 10 at one go. What sweetens the deal is that you're guaranteed a 4-star or above Servant or Craft Essence along with a guaranteed 3-star or above Servant. It's obvious which option is better but I'm sure no one is able to resist the lure of potentially summoning a 5-star Servant or Craft Essence with just 3 Saint Quartz.

Fortunately or otherwise, I'm not planning to spend a single dollar on the game, partly because of the hoops I need to jump through just to buy Saint Quartz and partly due to the game's generosity. Beginners are rewarded for the first seven days and veterans aren't forgotten either, being rewarded for logging in for a consecutive number of days. Don't forget the free Saint Quartz being handed out just because the game undergoes maintenance to patch in new 'Singularities' and events.

If you're wondering why I haven't mentioned any in-game events that are a staple in mobile games, it's because I started while the Valentine's Day was ongoing. By the time I understood the format of the event and reached a level where I could complete the stages comfortably, I was only left with 3-4 days, hardly worth the effort in my books. However, I do plan to participate in the next event and the experience will be included in my full review of Fate/Grand Order in time to come.

(Common across all mobile games)

Keep a look out for my full review of the game in the coming weeks and considering this post is only about my first impressions, expect the coming one to be much more detailed. Till then, I'll be sacrificing my sleep and free time clearing these pesky enemies so I can roll the gacha over and over.

Written by ET

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