Note: there’s going to be spoilers, so you may want to skip this.
Things I liked. Things I didn’t like.
First, I can’t stand whiny villains (cough Kadoc cough) who have inferiority complexes and whose only goal is to one-up the protagonist. In the case of Kadoc, every one of his dialogue scenes, my right hand started to twitch with the urge to back-hand him into a fucking wall.
The story itself was a slog, except for the last 6 chapters, with some predictable elements. Predictable elements: Atalante Alter and Patxi both betraying the protagonist, with Patxi pulling an about-face after the first fight with the Minotaur. Avicebron redeeming himself for the bullshit he pulled in Fate/Apocrypha was pretty awesome, though. Since I’m on Fate/Apocrypha anyway, I didn’t find Atalante to be a very interesting character in F/A, either.
The scene with Salieri playing Dies Irae to weaken Ivan the Terrible was one of my favorite scenes. Also, the final scene with Salieri playing Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star at the last, with the Yaga experiencing music, clear skies, and stars for the first time before their world fades away was especially poignant. It drove home the fact that in order for the protagonist to save their world, they have to end other worlds—even if those worlds were dead-ends anyway.
Love the fact that Billy’s character was more fleshed out from the E Pluribus Unum chapter. Makes me more inclined to level him (he’s sitting in my second archive at level 30).
Holmes and Loli Da Vinci were fun (as always), though I kept wanting to kick Goredolf in the ass on several different occasions. I hope he improves and grows as a character (which according to people playing on the Japanese server, he actually does improve so I’ll withhold some of my judgement there.)
Koyanskaya !== Tamamo. I fucking hated Koyanskaya both in the Prologue and in this Chapter. I suppose that’s to be expected, for the kind of villain she is.
Game-play-wise, other than the lack of diversity among filler enemies, the bosses were pretty easy to tank. The Minotaur fight, I used Euryale to charm-lock and burst down on each of the bars. The same tactic worked with Ivan the Terrible, though I had a hard time keeping Tamamo alive to provide the additional Arts support. Thankfully, this was before the Ortinax costume-change, so I was able to use Mash’s defensive skills and NP to prevent damage to the rest of the team, and boost attack levels.
The final Ivan fight, that tactic didn’t work as well (plus I didn’t realize just how much I depended on Mash’s old costume for defense/attack boost—more on that later). I ended up rage-quitting, and trying again with a team composed of all Assassins, with Jack and Summer Scathach. About the only thing Ortinax was good for was tanking Ivan’s hit and allowing me to replace Mash with another Assassin without using Order Change.
Atalante Alter’s fight—if I remember rightly now (oh, c’mon it was only a few days ago), I used support Waver, my own Merlin, and Tomoe Gozen to basically destroy both HP bars. That fight was over in like 3 or 4 turns. I killed Atalante first, then had Tomoe clean up the two Saber Yagas (first one after eliminating Atalante and the second one on the turn after).
The Anastasia fight went about the same as the Atalante fight, except I used Quetzalcoatl+Waver+Merlin, and I ended up needing SQ to continue towards the end of that fight. RNG went against me here—seemed like Anastasia exclusively targeted Quetz, and left the two Casters alone.
The final battle against the Tree—that one went the same as the last Ivan fight, with a similar team of Assassins (replaced Summer Scathach with Ryoki Shiki). That fight went quickly as well. I still didn’t make it out of that last fight without relying on SQ, though. Sadly, I’m having a hard time remember if it was this fight, or the final Ivan fight that I used SQ on.
Finally, fuck Ortinax. Mash is basically worthless as a defensive support now. I didn’t realize just how much I depended on her defense skills, taunts, and Lord Camelot to provide that attack boost, and damage-down for the rest of my team. It’s going to take some getting used to, I guess. I understand what the writers are trying to do, story-wise—which is allowing Mash to grow into her own as a Servant but damn…still doesn’t make the sting of losing those skills that we’ve all grown so reliant on any easier to deal with. On the plus side, I heard somewhere that Ortinax gets better somewhere in Lostbelt 5, but that’s still 2 years out for NA. As for defensive supports that we can use in place of Mash? I’m pretty sure (oh gods above, to hell with my memory) I used Jeanne’s NP in one of the fights to get past a difficult point, but for now, I may have to gear my teams towards pure offense.
Off-topic but: fuck you Samsung for moving the screen recorder out of the Game Drawer. I really wanted to record some of these fights, but couldn’t because the latest Android update moved the location of the screen recorder. I didn’t find it until yesterday.
Now here’s to the wait for Lostbelt 2!