The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is a rogue-like game that plays in the same style of the popular Pokemon Mystery Dungeon series. A direct sequel to The Guided Fate Paradox by the same team at Nippon Ichi Software, The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is a game that, while being in the same genre, changes up the gameplay quite a bit from the first one.
The story is based around an average high school student, Shin Kamikaze. The story starts with Shin being killed and resurrected by a group of angels to serve as God. What that means is that Shin has to become strong in order to become the ultimate weapon against the devils, who are winning the war against the angels. You are introduced to your main two companions relatively early, Jupiel Soraumi, an angel assigned to you personally to assist you in learning how to become God, and Ariael Agarie, a devil scientist that created the Fate Awakening crystal that has been implanted into Shin in order to make him God.
The gameplay itself is just like a normal Mystery Dungeon game, with you progressing through randomly generated floors fighting enemies and picking up items in order to progress to the next floor, in order to clear the dungeon with some dungeons even having a boss at the top that you have to defeat. The game mechanic specific to Awakened however, is the Angel and Demon forms. All enemies in the game are divided into Angel and Devil categories with the opposite form being more effective on the other.
The ability to use your forms is determined by how full your SP bar is, which is drained anytime you use any ability or whenever you spend a turn in one of your two forms. You can switch to either form at any time on a given turn, but using an attack or ability uses your SP points and you can quickly run out. Surviving in the dungeons is all about learning to balance turning on and off your forms, abilities, and watching your SP bar, as your normal state will basically get you instantly killed.
The enemies in dungeons come in a lot of varieties, with each having their own qualities and gimmicks to them as well as coming in both Angel and Demon forms. The enemies are varied enough that they present some kind of challenge, but I found out quickly facing 3 or more enemies at a time will get you defeated fast. The game’s difficulty is pretty characteristic of a rogue-like, as you can be doing really well one second, and then a series of unfortunate events can occur and instantly kill you. The worst part is that when you die, you lose all your items. Pushing forward without equipment is really hard, but the game does allow you to buy from the shop in order to rearm and try again.
The more you level up, the easier the dungeons become so eventually it becomes a test of endurance. The shop also allows you to buy new items any time you clear a dungeon or die so if you really need items badly, you can always replay old dungeons or try your hand at the newest one while putting your most valuable items in the storehouse. I do wish that the game listed a recommended level for dungeons, so you have an idea of how far ahead or behind you are in terms of levels but, it’s a minor complaint since you can save the game anytime before you go to a dungeon, so if it ends up being too difficult, you can just reload.
Equipment comes in forms of weapon, shield, and accessories which can all provide stat bonuses, as well as other effects which can help in the dungeons. You can also boost your most powerful weapons by merging them with extra weapons you find, increasing their effectiveness. The downside to this is if you die and lose everything, losing that highly boosted weapons becomes a big blow. You can also set your weapons with gemstones you find as drops in the dungeons, which give your weapons additional bonuses, making your weapons that much more valuable.
The game is split between these gameplay dungeons, and the different decisions you can make in the story events, which determine what kind of form experience you will get, and also develops your relationship with either Jupiel or Arial. A fault I found with this is that the decisions don’t have a whole lot of impact on the story itself, as your decisions will alter that chapter of the story, the outcome usually remains the same. Therefore, the only thing the decisions do is decide which form you need upgrade points for. These upgrade points are then used in your ability tree, either going into the angel or devil form, increasing your hp, attack, or defense as well as unlocking and upgrading abilities for either form. You can receive points by either leveling up or making a story decision that, depending on your choice, will either award devil points or angel points.
The whole game is based upon this idea of choosing between Jupiel or Arial, and all builds up to you having to choose one or the other in a dramatic way. It’s all up to personal preference who you decide to choose the mos,t and while I chose Arial initially, Jupiel really grew on me as the story went on, making me want to replay the game again in order to see her dialogue. Both characters are really interesting and they really add something to the story.
The story itself is all about Shin Kamikaze and his experiences after he becomes God. It isn’t all that complicated, and the English voice actors are actually pretty good on most characters, although the extras can sometimes be grating at times. I enjoyed seeing all the characters grow and getting to learn more about their motivations and personalities. I won’t go into detail much here, since it would ruin the story for others, but the game’s story is one of the things that I really enjoyed about Awakened, and while its different themes aren’t exactly new to the genre, it’s the characters that you really grown attached to. After you beat the game’s initial campaign, there are also cameo’s from characters from the first game as well as some other well-known characters that I won’t spoil here.
The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is a fun dungeon crawler with a duality based combat system, and a difficulty bar set rather high, but if you can persevere through, you find a game with an interesting story and characters that makes the whole experience worth playing.