Visual novel review: Fate/hollow ataraxia
I was always planning to try doing visual novel reviews on my blog. I figured Fate/hollow ataraxia would be a good title to start with considering I only finished it recently, and it helped me come up with the name of my blog in the first place. Anyone who has been reading my blog may have noticed that my anime reviews haven’t really been that great, but part of the reason for me to start blogging in the first place was to improve my writing so hopefully there will be some noticeable improvement soon. I tried to keep this review free of spoilers as much as possible, so feel free to read without worrying about spoilers.
Fate/hollow ataraxia is a visual novel by Type-Moon, it is the fandisk/sequel to the popular Fate/stay night. It was originally released on PC in 2005, and was recently ported to PS Vita in November, 2014. Like Fate/stay night, the main game for the most part has the text presented in a way that reads much like a normal novel. I’m a pretty big Type-Moon fan, at the moment it’s probably my favourite franchise so I’m not going to pretend this review might be a bit biased. I really like Nasu Kinoko’s writing style and I find it easily helps me immerse myself in the story and the world in which it is set.
Fate/hollow ataraxia starts off 6 months after the Heaven’s Feel (holy grail war) from Fate/stay night ended. It seems to be set in an alternate timeline to the Fate, Unlimited Blade Works, and Heaven’s Feel routes though. The setting has similarities and references to all three routes from Fate/stay night.
The story starts with the Heaven’s Feel being restarted, Bazett Fraga McRemitz gets sent by the Mages’ Association to be their representative with her servant, from the Avenger class. Emiya Shirou is living peacefully in his house and all the servants from Fate/stay night are still alive, no one seems particularly interested in fighting in the restarted Heaven’s Feel. Kotomine Kirei is dead and a replacement is at the church to oversee the Heaven’s Feel.
There is a time loop, a four day period where everything resets during the night before the fifth day. The story is either told from Avenger’s point of view or from Shirou’s. Shirou tries to investigate why the Heaven’s Feel has been restarted while Avenger works with Bazett to try and win the Heaven’s Feel before the fifth day.
The time loop makes it really easy to 100% the game, because whatever choice you make, you can always come back and choose the other option during the next loop.
There is only one sex scene in the main story, Caren Ortensia is the main heroine and her sex scene is honestly really good. I generally don’t really care much for sex scenes in visual novels, when sex scenes appear, it often comes across feeling forced and unnecessary. Caren’s sex scene doesn’t feel this way at all, in fact, it is very important to the story. If you’re the type of person who will skip sex scenes when you can, I would highly recommend not skipping this one.
There are also sex scenes for the three heroines from Fate/stay night. When they are unlocked, you can view them from a section called Eclipse from the main menu. There’s nothing really special about them, but they managed to portray a similar mood and feeling from the character’s respective sex scenes from Fate/stay night.
Because of the four day time loop, there are a lot of scenarios which don’t directly progress the main story. The characters are always entertaining when interacting with each other but it can get a bit tedious with all of the comedy and slice-of-life sections. Not to say that those are bad, most of them are really good. Just comparing them to the more serious parts which actually progress with the story makes them seem less interesting in comparison.
Some of the servants have more information about their past lives revealed and clarified during Fate/hollow ataraxia, mainly Lancer and Rider. Also reveals more information about what happened during Fate/zero
Unfortunately, there is no voice patch for Fate/hollow ataraxia like there was for Fate/stay night. Hopefully one day someone manages to extract the voice files from the recent PS Vita release and inserts it into the PC version. Although I didn’t notice most of the time because in my head all the characters were speaking with the voices they used in their respective anime that they appeared in.
The soundtrack I don’t think was very memorable, but it did a good job of portraying the right atmosphere for the situations.
EDIT: I recently looked at the Beast’s Lair forums and noticed that a voice insertion project has been started. Someone has taken it upon himself to manually record all the voiced lines from the Vita version. I’m looking forward to when this is completed, I’ll definitely be re-reading through at least the main story again to hear it voiced.
There are a few mini-games in Fate/hollow ataraxia. A collection of arcade style games at Illya’s castle, as well as a Hanafuda card game, where you play as different master/servant pairs and defeat the other master/servants to gain access to a magical hot spring. There are some CGs to unlock by progressing though the mini-games, but they aren’t really necessary so you can stop if you get bored.
I personally enjoyed this game a lot. There wasn’t as much serious parts as there were in Fate/stay night, but it was still a great experience reading through everything during the better part of a week. I hope one day they make an anime series or a movie out of it.
Final score: 8.5/10