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Fate (PC) artwork

Fate (PC) review

"Is it ironic when a dungeon crawler with over two billion floors lacks depth? "

Fate (PC) image

I pinch myself whenever I browse my digital video game libraries. They're all brimming with delights I paid an insignificant sum to acquire. As a youngster, I literally and figuratively dreamed of possessing massive video game libraries. Steam, Desura, GOG and Origin (not to mention digital stores linked to consoles) have made it possible by hosting vast collections of low budget and independently produced titles across a variety of genres. There's also such a surplus of 2D platformers and roguelikes that I sometimes feel as though the '90s never truly ended. Sadly, though, the massive influx of such titles has left both categories saturated with middling products.

Enter Fate, a rudimentary Diablo clone bathed in lighthearted charm. Its quest kicks off with a basic storyline spoken by a man who sounds like he always smiles, owns a fierce white beard and smells of cheese. From there, the game generates a dungeon and promotes a random critter from the immense abyss to the rank of "final boss," issuing said antagonist a ridiculous moniker like "Goblinlicker the Awful" or "Deathkisser the Disemboweler." You, on the other hand, get a dog. He may not be as awesome as an epic villain name, but at least he can carry some of your goods, nip at foes' ankles and transform when fed fish.

Fate (PC) image

As you amble into the game's hub town, Grove, you discover the extent of Fate simplicity. For instance, there are no classes and you're free to build your munchkin however you see fit. Unfortunately, the equipment offered throughout the campaign only allows for standard build types: strength, magic and agility. You could dual-class, so to speak, but doing so requires a hefty amount of grinding in what is already a plain RPG.

If you're hoping for rich lore or lively NPCs to boost Fate's depth, then brace for disappointment. The supporting cast ranges from stereotypical shopkeeper to cliche wizard. They have little to add to the game, except that they expect you to complete tasks within the dungeon in exchange for money and experience. Thankfully, embarking on quests at least provides some addictive thrills for a few hours. Since they're quick and rewarding, you can't help but spend all night initiating and completing them. Unfortunately, Fate only offers three types of mission types: kill X monsters, annihilate a certain beast or fetch a particular item. As you can imagine, these errands grow wearisome before long, especially when there's no backstory or mythology to bolster them.

Fate (PC) image

I will admit that Fate held my attention for a goodish chunk of time. As you enter the battlefield, vast hordes of standard RPG monsters (e.g. rats, giants, slimes, etc.) rush toward you. There is naught to do but click them all to death, gain experience, level up, acquire new skills (both active and passive) and advance to the next stage. Now and then, a mid-boss materializes and reminds you how challenging and rewarding the experience can be. Never mind that you've fought the same mid-bosses a few times over...

In fact, aren't all of these digs and creatures growing a bit familiar? I asked myself something along those lines about fifteen to twenty levels in...

Over time, Fate's repetition grows wearisome. It doesn't take long before you've seen everything it has to offer, and by that point you're just repeating its paper thin premise until madness sets in. Without standout functions, there's no reason to recommend this game above any other roguelike. Of course, if you're the type of gamer who enjoys extremely casual products, then you might be able to look past Fate's lack of bells, whistles or all around depth.

Well, okay, there are a couple of neat features, but they're not grand enough to fully recommend Fate...

Fate (PC) image

Once you fell the antagonist, you have a choice: retire or continue to delve deeper into the shadowy chambers. The former option allows you to transform one of your items into an heirloom, which your new hero can use in New Game+. Whoop-dee-doo... Personally, I prefer the old import/export system, a la Icewind Dale. It's a shame more RPGs don't use that. The latter choice allows you to push further into the darkness in a futile attempt to reach the bottom. There are no other "final" bosses, so every stage from this point onward will be identical terrain until you either give up or somehow reach the lowermost region.

You know, level 2,147,483,647. I'm not even exaggerating, either. According to developer WildTangent, there are over two billion levels, and the aforementioned stage is the finale.

This is assuming you can stomach Fate long enough to scotch the villain in the first place. Honestly, I couldn't wait to be done with this adventure. It's functional and addictive for a short while, but it's so banal that playing it sucks the enthusiasm out of you. Thanks to the previously named marketplaces, you can find scores of roguelikes superior to this one. Fate is more than just Diablo Lite, it's Skim Diablo.

(Yeah, I made a food reference in a review. Deal with it.)

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (October 09, 2010)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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