Fate/Hollow Ataraxia is the sequel to Fate/Stay Night. Both are visual novels, which is a genre I wasn’t too familiar with for quite a while, however I was fascinated by the story of the first game. It’s about the Holy Grail War, a magical ritual which allows for the summoning of the Holy Grail, the omnipotent wish granting device. Mages fight over the possession of it, and many of them don’t value human life at all. The main character, Shirou Emiya, was a pure-hearted pacifist, whom did not want to join all this, however he still ended up doing so, just to prevent a tragedy from happening.
There’s a LOT more to it than that, but I do plan on discussing the Fate franchise in due time on my review show, so I feel like that’ll do for now.
The first Fate game was flawed, for one it was too long! Once I beat the entire time, the in-game timer displayed 7 days, 16 hours, and 15 minutes! A lot of that time was filled out with padding… often the game would be put on ice, because the characters have to eat breakfast. Another major problem was…. the sex scenes. I am told that this is one of the main draws of Japanese visual novel games, but to me, it was just disgusting.
Imagine watching the Avengers, and all of a sudden Thor loses his powers, and asks Captain America to have sex with him, because only that can restore his magical energy. It’d come out of nowhere, and would be at complete odds with the rest of the story!!!!
I tried hard to buy this, to not get pulled out of the game, but then the characters began to act like porn actors, and I just held on the Enter key, to skip the entire uncomfortable yucky scene. The best thing I can say is that the scenes were big huge “big lipped alligator moments”, in that once they were done, they were not really addressed again, and you could just move on and ignore them…. unlike with other games (*cough* Fate/Extra CCC cough).
But hey, I’m not reviewing that game! Why am I talking about this?! …
In Hollow Ataraxia you play as Bazett Fraga McRemitz, one of the competitors in the Holy Grail War of the previous game. She did not appear in Fate/Stay Night, as she died before the players could meet her. But there she is, alive, next to a mysterious servant called “Avenger” (huh, suddenly my reference to the “Avengers” feels inspired by something), whom tells her that the fifth Holy Grail War is underway and they better make their way.
So here’s our mystery: How can the 5th Holy Grail War still take place, when it already ended in the first game? And who is Avenger?
And now forget all about that! Even if most sources say that Bazett is the main character of the game, in reality it’s Shirou, the protagonist of the first game, who is stuck in a Groundhog day scenario where the same 4 days repeat on loop. I’ve read one review which said that Shirou notices this right away… which is the biggest, fattest and most insulting lie I’ve ever read!!!
More than 24 hours of gameplay had to pass before Shirou even started to pick up on this! So if our protagonist doesn’t know that something is up for so long, what do we do in the meantime? Fart about in the city, talking to people! The player can make minor choices, such as where Shirou should go next and the like, thus he gets to talk to different people, which gives you “funny” little scenes to watch.
Funny should have HUGE quotation marks…. Some have compared this game to “Carnival Phantasm”, a parody series that featured characters from a few Typemoon games (it’s the company that made Fate/Stay Night). But to get a clearer picture, one must imagine that show being much less funny, and each joke taking at least 10 extra minutes to be fired off. The timing is abysmal to say the least.
At some point a few cheesy silly minigames got unlocked, which did give me a small chuckle and I felt bad for expecting something serious…… only to then get back to Bazett & Avenger, where the story is again serious! Mood whiplash doesn’t even describe it!!!
I’ve read some reviews online, which have praised this game, and some even called it superior to the original, which pains me so much to hear. How on Earth could this be superior?!
Fate/Stay Night had a narrative, a story, one with a goal in mind. Even if sometimes things were put on hold, you were always progressing towards something, discovering new things.
Fate/Hollow Ataraxia seems to do its best to fight progress. It insists on doing not important things, it wants to waste time.
One could insist that Fate/Stay Night had a lot of filler too, but the “filler” there meant a pause between things that happened. Here these interludes make up a vast majority of the game. I get so inpatient, begging for progress, but NO! You don’t get that! The game will tease you as long as possible!
It got so painful for me that I just started thinking that “Hey, this must be more for the visual novel fans”, but …. again, Fate/Stay Night did not do stuff like this, meaning it was different, its player base was different, so I assume they’d want something like the first game, but …… nope.
Sorry, I realize this was less of a review, and more of a rant, but I feel really dissapointed by this game. I was hoping for another thrilling story, but instead what I got was just a bore-fest. ADMITTEDLY, now that I know the full story of the game, I can see how this idea had potential, but sadly the authors decided to pick the worst way possible to tell it.
I needed 37 hours to beat the game, much less than the first game, but this felt so much longer….
Lancer! DARLING!!! ❤