The Deal with Fate Grand Order

My history with the Fate series starts as early as Fate Stay Night’s release back on the PC when I mostly saw my brother play it before I went through it myself a couple years after. Fast Forward a couple of years after that dreadful Studio DEEN adaptation, the Unlimited Blade Works movie, and the franchise expanded while I mostly kept with the FSN stuff in my head without giving much thought to the series again. A friend of mine told me about a PSP game called Fate Extra and the new Fate Zero gets recommended to me by my brother all in the same year and I get dragged back into the Fate series again.

It was also around that time, around the time after CCC came out and whispers of Fate Grand Order started coming around and it was another moment I took a break with the series while only “roughly” keeping up with the tidbits of news for FGO until it finally released in 2015, and I didn’t play it at all. Despite that, it was hard to ignore with how much fanart and buzz FGO was creating and it wasn’t until 2017 I really started paying attention to it with the SERAPH event before it finally became available for the western mobile market and I decided I needed a game to liven up my commute.

So where am I going with this? Well aside from being a primary contributor to Sony Music’s billion dollar revenue stream and its utterly notorious gold card rates, there’s many a word going on about the quality of its story as it holds the current spotlight of being the main source of Fate’s unfolding universe.

To anyone that isn’t aware, explaining the Nasuverse is a daunting task all on its own because many of the works aside from a few direct sequels are mostly disconnected from each other in alternate timelines, but the baseline for events all come down to the 4th and 5th Fuyuki Grail War that is shown through the “mainline” Fate entries, Fate Zero, Stay Night, and Hollow Ataraxia. Then you get your spin-off series like Extra, the Apocrypha light novels, Strange Fake, Prototype, all that stuff that mostly take place in other instances in the same universe but as mentioned, in different time lines. Fate GO stands in the same category was its own series of events in the Nasuverse where the organization known as Chaldea undertakes a rather monumental task in saving humanity’s future by means of ray/leyshifting in points in history to correct “singularities”. Now I could go into detail but there’s already an adaptation of the intro and “1st” Singularity that isn’t “too” shabby that explains the premise of the story. Along with the adaptation of the Fuyuki Singularity, there’s the upcoming adaptations for the 6th Singularity Camelot through a movie while the 7th Singularity Babylonia is getting an anime series adaptation. Now the uninitiated might ask yourself what happened to the other Singularities? Well the short answer is that they’re all horrendous or at the least, completely unremarkable.

The anomalous Singularity in Fuyuki was at the very least a bit interesting given how much history comes with Fuyuki in general and how many returning faces were involved, and since it was tied to the prologue/set-up of the events to come, it definitely wasn’t the worst of things. The first proper Singularity in France introduced the universe to everyone’s favorite Jeanne Alter who at this point was mostly just a really really angry Jeanne but she eventually got popular enough to be summonable later down the line. Aside from that, it’s mostly dragons and Marie Antoinette being a walking pop-culture reference machine. Singularity two was were a lot of people’s gripes come from and I definitely didn’t like it either because Nero’s character, in my opinion, deteriorated heavily since her debut in Extra. Even her voice-work got way more high pitched as early as CCC and my favor for her dwindled with each successive appearance. Her being the main star of Septem already made it a pretty contentious story years before I got it. Okeanos was much like France, only that there literally wasn’t anything going for it to really stand out.

I think things started to mildly improve by the fourth Singularity since London had you traveling out with a group of servants but had a home base for you to return to. The usual singularity dynamic is just traveling around, Mash asking you for orders, meeting an enemy/ally servant and then traveling to the big bad but London had some investigating going around to fight who said villain was and then a surprise last boss waiting at the end. To be fair, Okeanos had this structure but Hans and Mordred really made the events memorable, especially since Mordred hints at the servant who Mash fused with. America was mostly a mixed bag since the opposition, aside from Cu Alter generally being cool in concept, wasn’t all too impressive. I did enjoy the servants that were traveling with but they get separated soon enough. People say that America is in the better category of singularities and I’m not too keen on admitting that when the two singularities afterwards are actually worth talking about.

Camelot was when people started paying attention, full stop. Since Fate’s most prominent cover character is King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table bring a lot of ethos and weight given how important it is to the setting. Zero introduced Lancelot and Extra brought Gawain and then FGO came in to reveal not only Tristan and Agravain, but Mash’s fused identity with Galahad. The story also introduced one of the other favored and serious incarnations of Arturia herself, the Lion King, the person she would become if she never drew Excalibur and utilized the Rhongomyiad instead. While most of the actual story takes place in the mountains with the Hassans and Arash, the enemy opposition with the Round Table knights being buffed by the grail also introduced a level of challenge not yet introduced into the game at that point. That isn’t even all that makes Camelot pretty interesting as King Hassan makes his first appearance and the follow-up to the question of Romani Archaman’s identity is comes up again while lightly being hinted at in London. Not to mention Ozymandias and Nito being around for some funny interactions helped Camelot become quite memorable, even if I personally found Romani’s identity part to be the most interesting. The movie might be fun so as long as they pace themselves, which I’m sure they will. Babylon getting all the hype it gets is in my opinion well deserved as character-wise, Gilgamesh is at the best he’s ever been, Merlin is always a treat, and the escalating stakes makes it for one hell of a scenario that I honestly really enjoyed more than I ever thought I would. Expect me to cover the anime, it was that fun of an experience.

As far as Epic of Remnant is going, Shinjuku wasn’t all too bad. It had a layered structure, a lovable group of misfits working together, and Moriarty’s schemes along with Holmes’ wit make for some fun times. I hope to see the other EoR episodes, even if I already know the upcoming Agartha has been widely panned. So in the end, FGO’s story is actually really entertaining but most of it is pretty unremarkable and thankfully those parts aren’t the ones with adaptations being made for it. I didn’t cover events because there’s way too many to honestly critique them in any serious fashion but I can say this, they are a fresh of breath air when you consider just how weak the early singularities were. Since I finally got this done, I’ll probably make some more Fate related topics because it’d be fun to talk about some FGO-only servants and not the returning faces.

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