Given how some gamers (and some game journalists) have a real bug up their butts about games based on animes and mangas, it might seem risky that Capcom are going to be releasing an American version of Fate: Unlimited Codes, a 2D fighter for the PSP based on a computer novel turned manga and anime, neither of which have been released in the U.S.
But while not many in the U.S. will be familiar with the original comic book or cartoon, Fate’s gameplay — as we leaned from our time playing the game at Capcom’s recent Captivate 09 press event — will be very familiar to gamers, since the title employs many of the tenets of your standard issue 2D fighter. You know, like Street Fighter IV. In fact, the game was originally made for Japanese arcades, with this version being a revamped port of the PS2 version that was in Japan.
The game features seventeen characters, most of whom look like they come from the School For Japanese Character Clichés. Rin is a Japanese school girl, Shiro is a moody, t-shirt wearing teenager, while a bunch look like they bought their clothes at renaissance fairs. The game also has the usual sorts of fighting arenas, from the tree-lined Einzbern Forest and the self-explanatory “Underground Cavern,” to the much-in-need-of-an-extreme-makeover Einzbern Castle.
This brawler also has the usual compliment of attack combos, including some magically attacks as well as some acrobatic moves that Jackie Chan couldn’t pull off on his best day. Except that some of them are, well, weird. Well, weirder than usual for a Japanese fighting game, anyway. Rin and Luviagelita both like to bitch slap people rather daintily, while the latter also does this spinning thing that makes her look like Lynda Carter changing her outfit on Wonder Woman. And then there’s Rider, whose special attack could better be described by a Hustler editor.
But while some of these attacks are easy to pull off — the game’s controls are as responsive as you’d hope — that doesn’t always help since this ain’t a game for people who haven’t been in a fight since the fourth grade. Some of these ladies may be cute, but thanks to the game’s uncompromising difficulty level, they will bitch slap you back to the stone age if you’re not careful.
As you’d expect, the game features all the usual modes, including single-player, two-player ad-hoc brawls, and a story-driven Arcade mode that comes complete with text boxes of lengthy dialog.
At the moment, Fate plays like your typical Japanese 2D fighter. There’s nothing flashy or new about it, but nothing broken or unappealing either. And with Capcom planning to release the game digitally — via the PS3’s PlayStation Network and on the web, which suggests it might not be a $40 game — it looks like this won’t be a risky proposition after all.