So, you don’t have time to watch, read, or play all the Fate/ there is out there. You have no idea what’s going on. But Fate/Grand Order looks pretty cool, and it’s in English. So, can you get into it without knowing any of the other stuff?
The answer: yes. But it’s going to be a little weird at first.
Fortunately, the game gives you a decent backstory as you go. But if you want the quick and dirty version, here’s what’s going on in Fate/Grand Order… and why you should give it a try even if you’re unfamiliar with Fate/.
Lead an Army
So the quick and dirty setting: you are a Magus, with the ability to summon “Servants” to fight battles for you. At present, you and Mash — a new friend who’s merged with a dying Servant — are traveling through time, fixing temporal anomalies. Think dragons attacking Joan of Arc, two Roman Empires. You know. Little stuff.
Servants can be of a few specific classes that, like Pokémon, are strong and weak against each other. For example, Berserkers are super effective against all classes, but also have lowered defense against all other classes. You construct teams to fight monsters, soldiers, and other Servants.
So who are these Servants, and where do they come from? Well… they’re the souls of heroic historical or legendary figures. Yeah. Really. Via summoning you can pick up heroes like King Arthur (who was actually a girl), Nero (who was actually a girl), Attila the Hun (who was actually… yeah, we’re sensing a trend, too). But it’s not just fighters. Heroic spirits also include creative types like Shakespeare and Hans Christian Andersen, folk heroes like Robin Hood, and even slightly more modern types like Mata Hari and Thomas Edison.
Now, in a game where you can literally build an entire team of nothing but genderswapped King Arthur, historical accuracy probably doesn’t feel like a priority. But funnily enough, the Servants — despite being heavily redesigned and often changed in major ways — are still accurate reflections of their historical or legendary selves more often than not.
For example, Amadeus (a Caster, like most creatively inclined Servants) looks like he walked out of Final Fantasy and summons tiny cherubs in battle. This probably never happened. But one scene shows him being kicked out of a bar for non-payment because “God loves me and says I get all my drinks for free.” Most others are similarly “accurate” to the reality or stories of their past.
Other Easter eggs abound, too. Elizabeth Báthory, whose coat of arms in reality boasted a dragon, is part-dragon in the game. Gilgamesh’s finisher, Enuma Elish, is named for the Babylonian creation myth.
With the historical and literary references, plus a strategy is very easy to learn, it might just be a game for you!