Nippon Ichi Software releases games for two kinds of people: those who love anime and those who love math. The heights to which you can powerlevel and force your stats into the stratosphere in the average NIS America title speak to the latter, naturally, and roguelike titles Zettai Hero Project and The Guided Fate Paradox were great examples of this. NIS’s latest localization, The Awakened Fate Ultimatum, mixes up the formula a bit and aims to appeal to the former group with simplified gameplay and a more story-heavy approach with decisions that matter.
The Awakened Fate Ultimatum stars Shin Kamikaze, a typical high school kid who’s forced to become God through a series of bizarre situations. Yes, that’s right. God. The big man himself. Through the usage of a device called the Fate Awakening Crystal, Kamikaze’s given divine power and the responsibility to guide the heavenly nation of Celestia. He has a pair of advisers in the angel Jupiel and demon Ariael, but not only do they fail to get along, they might have their own agendas.
It’s a lot of responsibility, of course, and a big part of that is Shin’s new job of leading Celestia in a war against demonkind. Kamikaze doesn’t have to go up against the demonic and angelic menaces he’ll find in the dungeons with just his weapon, shield and some pluck. No, he’s God, after all. Thus, you’ve got the power to Deitize – by hitting L2 or R2 Kamikaze can shift into an angelic or demonic form, making him more powerful against the opposite alignment and giving him access to special skills. It’s also possible to charge up and access the powerful Resonant Deitize mode that offers even more power for those desperate situations.
Each Deitize form is upgraded by customizing the Fate Awakening Crystal. Each time you gain a level you’ll get a point to spend in this skill tree system, which you cans pend for stat boosts and new skills. It’s also possible to get additional points based on your decisions during the story. Unlike most games with this sort of morality system, angelic decisions aren’t necessarily “good” and demonic decisions aren’t necessarily “evil”; things are a bit more complex than that, which makes the plot a little more interesting than your usual angels-versus-demons affair.
This does, unfortunately, replace the Divinigram and Spirogram systems seem in the series’ previous titles, which hurts your customization options a bit. You also no longer lose your levels between dungeons, so all the systems related to storing up your levels throughout the game are gone. It’s a bit dumbed down, in other words, though that can be a good or bad thing given how esoteric the customization in The Guided Fate Paradox and Zettai Hero Project could eventually become. Opinion might be divided on this, but I didn’t mind it all that much – NISA games can seem a bit “samey” at times if they don’t iterate enough on their mechanics, and The Awakened Fate Ultimatum feels like a significant departure from previous titles.
The presentation is highly similar to The Guided Fate Paradox, though it uses a polygonal super-deformed style for dungeon delving instead of the high-res sprites seen in the previous title. I actually found those preferable as they were beautifully done per NIS standards, but the 3D style isn’t too offensive. Voice acting is standard for the genre, not particularly great nor grating, though lead angel Jupiel’s actress doesn’t really fit the character design and that can be a little odd as she talks so much during the plot.
Fans of The Guided Fate Paradox and its spiritual predecessor Zettai Hero Project are going to love The Awakened Fate Ultimatum. Roguelike players may also want to try being God if they can handle the, uh, highly anime nature of the title and mild difficulty. It’s not exactly the second coming, but The Awakened Fate Ultimatum is a decent choice that does justice to its pedigree.