Fate/Samurai Remnant Review – The Waxing Moon Beckons

The Fate series has been around for just 20 years, yet it has been a franchise that many consider to be very iconic to all when it comes to the developer Type-Moon. So when Koei Tecmo’s legendary Kou Shibusawa worked with them to release Fate/Samurai Remnant, I was really intrigued by what this combo dream team would result in.

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You Have Been Chosen

In Fate/Samurai Remnant, we go back to the 4th year of the Keian Era of the Edo period. 48 years had passed since Ieyasu, the sovereign of Japan, opened the capital to the Tokugawa shogunate, but that caused many ronin, or, samurai that do not serve under a lord, to cause trouble across the country.

You play as Miyamoto Iori, the adopted son and apprentice of the great swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, who taught him the way of the sword early in his life. One day, after defeating some rouge ronin, he notices an unfamiliar bruise on the back of his left hand.

Little does he know, that “bruise” is actually a sign that he was chosen as a Master to fight in the Waxing Moon Ritual, where seven Masters, each with their own Heroic Spirits duke it out in a battle to the death.

Each of those Heroic Spirits are inspired on historical figures across the ages, and are classified into seven types, with each Master having one particular type as their Servant. The one who reigns victorious will be granted the Waxing Ritual, said to grant any person a wish.

A Story Even Beginners to the Series Can Enjoy

Compared to other Fate stories, Fate/Samurai introduces its own unique twist on familiar elements from the series. However, it does so by allowing even those who are relatively new to the Fate series in general to understand it. And if you’re ever confused about any of the terminologies of the series, the game also provides a glossary of terms that you can consult at any time, including during the loading screens, which will display some entries.

Unfortunately, the title does suffer from repetitiveness that may challenge your patience. The story is a really cool read, don’t get me wrong, but it isn’t perfect, and there is a lot of stuff, especially in the early chapters, that feels like unneeded padding. While you can definitely see the seamless blend of the visual novel style that Type-Moon is very good at and the action by Koei Tecmo’s team, if I were to recommend this to someone else, I would likely have to use the dreaded phrase “It gets good after the first chapter”.

Classic Action RPG Gameplay

The moment I saw in the game’s marketing that the legendary Kou Shibusawa was involved, I immediately had a hunch as to how combat would go, and well, I gotta say I’m not disappointed at all. In combat, Iori can do simple and heavy attacks. Contrary to what it might seem however, Fate/Samurai Remnant is not a musou game like others from Koei Tecmo such as Dynasty Warriors. Rather, I would call it more of an action RPG with visual novel elements sprinkled on top.

Holding R1 and L1 together allows Iori to switch places with Saber, which will then allow her to slash away at enemies for a limited time while you take control of her. Progressing further into the story will also allow you to control other Servants, but for the most part, you’ll be switching between Iori and Saber. Defeating enemies can also earn you magic gems, which you can make Iori conjure some spells with L1, such as a Fire spell, and even one that can gradually restore his HP.

Switching between Iori and Saber is a must, because certain enemies will have a barrier that only Saber can penetrate through. Perhaps the one gripe I found about the combat is that dodging is quite challenging, and if you’re not paying attention, you can dangerously get Iori’s HP into the low hundreds. Even while playing in the normal difficulty setting, it was merciless, and I definitely came close to getting some game overs.

Throughout the story, you’ll also tap into the Spirit Fonts, where the objective is to seize as many points in the map as possible, but also be wary of the time limit on the bottom right. Monsters will be constantly trying to attack you as well, and later on, you might even have to dispel barriers around these fonts. You can also press R3 for a small hint on where to go next, because one wrong step has the potential of having you run out of time dangerously quickly.

An Easy to Comprehend Upgrade System

When it comes to battling, Fate/Samurai Remnant has a total of three separate systems to assist you in combat. The first is your magecraft workshop, where by spending money and materials, you can obtain several enhacements, and even add more Forms to Iori’s combat palette. Furthermore, you also have a skill tree, which as the name implies, adds more skills and increases Iori and Saber’s stats.

Inside Iori’s house, you’ll also find two minigames. The first is Sword Maintenance, where you time your button presses in order to maintain his katana. Doing so successfully will grant you an EXP boost for the next couple battles. You also have Buddha statue carving, where you must press a sequence of buttons in a given order. Success means you get a really good carving that can be sold or used for certain workshop and skill tree upgrades.

And finally, Iori’s katana can be equipped with four separate pieces, called Mountings: the scabbard, the guard, and the handle’s wrapping and decoration. Each of these four will increase a separate stat. These systems were all very easy to understand in my opinion, though they are easy to forget about–something that does make battles hard down the line, especially on harder difficulties.

A Beautiful Feudal Japan Scenery

As I’ve said previously, Fate/Samurai Remnant takes place in Feudal Japan. Specifically, around the 1600s of the Edo era. Naturally, this means that you’ll see a lot of the typical scenery of that era, with NPCs and merchants all sporting the look you’d expect from Feudal Japan at that time. And well, I gotta say the scenery looks absolutely beautiful on the PS5, especially on a 4K display. With the PS5, you can also expect silky smooth framerate. The character portraits also have this brush-style artwork to them that is very well done.

While exploring the town, you’ll be able to visit shrines, dine at food stalls, and what I consider the most important part…there are cats and dogs. Can you pet them, you ask? Why, yes! In fact, the game even urges you to! There are achivements and trophies tied to specifically finding every single feline and dog, but petting them will also recover Iori’s health.

A Game Where New Game+ is a Must

Fate/Samurai Remnant has multiple endings to its story, and you should expect at least 28 to 30 hours in order to get the first ending. And this is one of the few games where i would argue that New Game+ is absolutely required for the full experience. Luckily, character levels, EXP, certain items and even acquired skills all carry over, and you are even able to start from Chapter 2 and onward, though even that will still require a total of 50 hours or more, depending on your play style and reading speed.

Furthermore, more story content is available through the DLC that Koei Tecmo has planned for the game. However, the DLC scenarios are completely optional. That doesn’t mean that Fate/Samurai is devoid of content. In fact, I would strongly recommend that players watch a particular story ending. I’m not going to spoil it here, for obvious reasons, but let’s just say that I did not expect its developments. In particular, with Iori himself. I know, that sounds vague, but definitely take my word for it.


Fate/Samurai Remnant is truly an amazing game. With its engaging story and beautiful visuals, it allows for all fans, be they TYPE-MOON fans who love the Fate series, action RPG lovers of Kou Shibusawa or even newbies to the genre as a whole, and I wholly recommend getting this game. You can truly enjoy the truly best of both worlds of what Koei Tecmo and Type-Moon have created together.


  • A beautiful mixture of action RPG and visual novel storytelling
  • Beautiful graphics that are historically accurate to the period the story takes place
  • Well-written character development


  • Story can feel rather repetitive at times
  • Combat may be rather tough for those not used to action RPGs

Fate/Samurai Remnant

Very Good

A great game for both newcomers or veterans to the Fate series.

Angelus Victor
PS5 version reviewed. A review code was sent by the publisher.