If you’re looking for a game you can play for a few minutes a day, then maybe Fate/Grand Order is the game for you. Fate/Grand Order is a Japanese mobage (mobile game) that uses characters from the Fate franchise.
Starting off, this game is only available in Japanese. Although it contains some English here and there, you can’t depend on this to guide you. Because of this, you need to memorize the menus and buttons and what they do to do anything in this game. This isn’t too hard, as you don’t need to worry about a good portion of the menus. Moreover, the subreddit and wikia for this game are filled with lots of information, making this game easy to get into.
Although this game is easy to learn with all the resources available for English speakers, this game is region locked. Unless to live in Japan, you cannot download it from the Google Play Store. This leaves you with two options, finding the APK for the latest version, or QooApp. I’d recommend QooApp as it allows you to easily download almost any Japanese mobage easily, and also allows you to update your games to the newest version easily.
With all that sorted out, let’s get into the game. This game uses characters and lore from the Fate franchise, so things will be rather weird. Each character is separated into one of seven classes: Saber, Lancer, Archer, Rider, Caster, Assassin, and Berserker. However, you will encounter characters in different, more special, classes such as Ruler, Avenger, and Shielder. The main seven are divided into two class triangles, with Berserker being outside, in a rock-paper-scissors kind of system. Although certain classes have an advantage against others, they are not guaranteed to win.
Fate/Grand Order has a lot of characters, known as servants, for you to play with. The characters are separated by star rarities, from one to five, with five being the rarest and strongest. However, with only a 1% chance of rolling a five star, I wouldn’t recommend getting your hopes up of getting one. The servants are all (well, mostly) based off of historical characters, but with some twists. For one thing, almost all of them are girls, regardless of what their historical gender was. Characters such as King Arthur, Attila the Hun, and even Shuten Douji are girls.
While the characters aren’t bad, and I do quite like a lot of them, it can be rather off putting to see some historical characters be completely different to their real life legends. Delightworks, the company who made this game, also seems to have a way of making the characters very ecchi like. While there is no actual nudity in this game, some of the characters wear some rather revealing outfits. Of course, there are also characters who don’t dress like this, which helps to balance it out.
When you start out this game, you won’t have very strong servants at your disposal. You’ll have to make due with mainly 1, 2, and 3 stars until you accumulate quartz (the currency used for rolling for servants). As you’ll have low leveled servants, you won’t be able to do very difficult quests. Fortunately, you can bring a friend’s (or a random player’s) servant along as support. By choosing a high leveled servant from the support list, you can effectively make it through the first story area with little trouble.
For the combat in the game, three of your six servant team (five of your servants, one support) will be out on the field, while the other three will wait to replace any killed ones. Each servant has quick, arts, and buster attacks, with the amount being dependent on the class and specific character. Each character gets five cards which are randomly distributed each turn, which leads to a degree of randomness each turn. Each card also has its own bonuses, with quick cards generating critical stars (randomly distributed to give each card a chance to critical hit), arts cards to generate noble phantasm (a special attack each servant has, unique to the servant), and buster cards which just do extra damage.
On top of all this, you can also equip your servants with craft essences, which give bonuses during combat. Each craft essence also has a star rarity where once again, the higher star level means it’s rarer and (usually) better. These bonuses can range from healing each turn, increasing card performance and damage, to starting off with more noble phantasm.
Speaking of Noble Phantasm, each servant has a bar that you need to charge in order to use their special attack. By rolling multiple of the same character, you can level up their noble phantasm to level five, which makes the maximum charge of the bar 300%, which leads to extra damage and sometimes increasing the effectiveness of an effect. Noble Phantasms are unique to each servant, leading to even more customization for your teams. Sometimes, you may choose between two similar servants and decide on one because of their Noble Phantasm.
Each servant also comes with their own skillset. Usually, each servant gets three skills, but some only get two. These skills can either be individual buffs, team buffs, individual debuffs, or enemy team debuffs. This leads to each servant functioning differently from each other, with some exceptions. However, not all skills are created equally, with some skills being clearly superior to others. Generally, the rarer servants also have better skills, with some notable exceptions.
While some servants are better than others, this is also a game where people go to collect their favourite characters. While some characters are better than others, it is sometimes due to the waifu factor that you may choose to use certain servants over others. In my case, I have a habit of spoiling my favourite servants with experience cards and ascension items (used to ascend servants, which increases the level cap and unlocks their skills). While it may not seem like the best idea, there is always that one servant that catches your eye and you simply must have.
With that all said, which servants would I suggest for each class? Obviously I have biases, but I will list my favourites anyways.
Saber: Attila the Hun. While she is a five star, and hard to get, she has a very high base attack stat. I have also been lucky enough to get two of her.
Archer: Tie between Euryale, Oda Nobunaga, and Gilgamesh. While Gilgamesh is clearly the superior one, he is also a five star, and very hard to get due to being a limited servant. Oda Nobunaga, also known as Nobu, was a free servant given out for an event. She has a rather strong area of effect Noble Phantasm, and also just looks good. Lastly, Euryale, mainly due to the cuteness factor. She’s also a three star servant, so she’s easy to get.
Lancer: Cu Chulain, who is probably the best three star in the game, and arguably the best lancer in the game. While his stats are lower than a five star servants, his skillset leaves him leagues ahead of others. With a guts skill (revival), a three attack dodge, and a small heal and debuff dispel skill, he has a huge amount of survivability. He regularly lives far longer than anyone else.
Rider: Ushiwakamaru, who is a three star servant. While she isn’t the strongest out there, she was my starting servant and so holds a special place in my heart. Sadly she only has two skills, but with them being a party attack up and a party noble phantasm gain up, she is a very good support servant to bring.
Caster: Waver is probably the best, no questions asked. As for my favourites, I like both Helena Blavatsky and Nursery Rhyme, who are both four stars with good skills, with the addition of being rather cute. I also like Tamamo no mae, but I haven’t gotten to use her really since I don’t have her.
Assassin: Jack the Ripper, no questions asked, is the best assassin in the game. She is a loli (same with many others, some of which I have already listed, eg. Nursery Rhyme, Euryale, etc.), but that shouldn’t stop you from choosing her. She has an amazing noble phantasm that absolutely devastates any females and riders she enounters.
Berserker: Probably the famous Greek legend, Herakles. He was my free four star that I got a while ago (limited time event where they let you choose a free four star), so I also hold him dear to me (He was also in all the Fate anime). However, he is also just a good all-around servant, with a good skillset for survivability and a good attack to carry you through tough missions. Sadly, the berserker class takes double damage from the other classes, so you can’t depend on him living for very long.
With all that said, you should try this game. It’s free to play and download, so you have nothing to lose. Just don’t get addicted to that gacha, as you can easily run into the hundreds of dollars trying for a five star character if you don’t save up your free quartz. And remember, the rate up is a lie!