Review: FATE Undiscovered Realms

Posted by | July 17, 2009

FATE Undiscovered Realms is the sequel to FATE by WildTangent. Both of which have all the appearance of Diablo clones with numerous UI and game play design elements in common with the famous Blizzard game. A great deal of the story is front loaded in a long, tedious narrative voiced by an almost Shakespearian actor, but when it comes down to it, playing this game is less about the story and more about plunging through wave after wave of interesting monsters and then tripping over their beautifully rendered corpses.

The narrative and story of this game could have been done a lot better than it was. Especially being that the entire story at the beginning was narrated. Instead it comes across as a 1-2-3 style quest with nearly no explanation of why the 1-2-3 need be done. We found ourselves just doing them out of the sheer desire to descend deeper into the dungeons before us, get better loot, and see weirder monsters.

Upon first entering the game there are three zones: the Temple, the town of Druantia—a sylvan paradise threatened by its dungeon—and the town of Typhon—a winter wonderland also threatened by its dungeon. Just like FATE it became our sworn duty to descend into these dungeons and clear them of everything that moved with extreme prejudice. Leaving no monster un-maimed we went about our duty with gusto and verve. Well, mostly our minions did so.

Also like FATE we start the game with a pet. In this case we get to choose a dog or a cat with all the requisite sounds and actions that come with either; although neither lasts very long in that countenance as the game revolves around transforming the pet into various monster forms. These forms come about through feeding the pet various fish caught from the numerous ponds in the towns and in dungeons or dropped from enemies or bought from vendors. Most fish transform the pet for a limited amount of time into a particular monster: spiders, gryphons, electric snails…but one type, the flawless fish, makes the transformation permanent. The type of pet form decision often reflects how the player chooses to play.

We generally went with something quick moving, heavily armored, but low in damage output—mostly because we ran with a summoner. There are a multitude of different magical schools, defensive, attack, and charm. The charm school is mostly miscellaneous effects that happen to include summoned minions, although weaker than most pet transforms there were six of them. And those six added up really quickly.

Both of the dungeons gave rise to quests granted by people in the towns. The quests were delivered to us with the recognizable yellow and white exclamation point symbols. And eventually we descended far enough to run into mini-bosses required by two quest givers in the Temple. They also allowed us to pick up special Heroic gear, which were really trinkets that would go onto a pair of statues in the Tempe. Once the statues were totally completed it allowed us to produce the essence of these heroes.

The essence acted like fish on our pet, permitting us to turn it into a form similar to the quest giver near that statue. It did come in handy for the last boss.

The mini-boss fights only lead to permitting us to go to a final quest giver in the Temple who opened up a portal to a third and final dungeon.

By the time we got there we were so bored with the wave-after-wave of enemy that we had to mow through and step over their trail of corpses that we just hammered our way through the levels until we finally met him and sent him to his maker. The game can become quickly repetitive; if it wasn’t for the varied style of quests and gear that they offered, it would have probably bored us to death rapidly.

Replayability? Yes, but limited. Even at higher difficulty ratings it would be the same old, same old all over again except with more difficult and more interesting monsters to go up against, challenging but ideally just the same game all over again, and without an interesting story to live through again.

If you liked FATE this is more of the same; and it has the same sort of obsessive appeal. The graphics are gorgeous, the dungeons are fun to reveal, the enemies are numerous and continue to leave interesting corpses.

Good grinding. Helvetica out.

Be sure to check out The Helvetica Venture (here on Vox ex Machina) and Black Hat Magick by Kyt Dotson.

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