The second, the Noble Phantasm, requires picking up three Phantasm Circuits, each of which is hidden in a different sector in each map, and activating it with a tap of ‘ZR’ will destroy everything in range with a cinematic flourish.
This last attack was the one we used least on our playthrough, if only because actually hunting down Circuits often fell by the wayside in the face of more immediately important objectives.
There’s a real emphasis on speed, for one; your characters’ combos slice through enemy hordes with a satisfying sense of forward motion, the chainable dash move (mapped to the ‘R’ button) will send you zooming across the stage, and you can even air dash continuously — by far our favourite way to fly.
How you choose to balance those competing demands can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
That means you’ll control a single, massively powerful character from a third-person perspective as you hack and slash your way through hordes of largely harmless grunts, in an effort to draw out more powerful foes.
Rather than achieving victory by defeating all enemies or making your way to the end of a level, in musou games territory is key.
Hit ‘B’ at the jumping off point of a sector and you’ll rocket through digital space, following a twisting path of flowing data as it winds its way in and around the stage to your next destination.
It’s seriously stylish, and it also gives the gameplay a distinct feel; since travelling between sectors is almost instantaneous and doesn’t involve meeting any enemies, you’re hacking and slashing for keeps at pretty much every moment — there are no unimportant spots on the map, and that makes for a thrilling, steadily high pace throughout. The ‘Master’, which can bear your name and be male or female (and changed at any time), feels like a player avatar, and the game starts right off the bat with the first Servant, Nero, already very much enamored with that Master.