Fate/extra is quite an amazing game considering how horrible Fate/Stay Night was adapted from an eroge visual novel into a horrible anime and a movie that chops up most of one of the original FSN routes. The game starts with some unknown run of the mill student of the newspaper club doing some research and soon you start figuring out that there is more to the school than meets the eye and you will eventually see the truth behind things before this character dies. After that unnamed and little loved DMC (not Devil May Cry, but rather Decoy Main Character) the true MC steps in. You will also see several familiar faces on this game and all are clones so to speak of some of the original FSN cast.
The game will give you three options for a servant: Caster (a foxy woman), Archer (an enigmatic blacksmith and the same Archer from FSN) and Saber (A boisterous woman). Each gives a different feeling to the story and how they are handled. Caster starts as the weakest of the servants, only to become the second most powerful or arguably the most powerful of the servants (depends on what side you take on raw damage vs status effect). Archer who is quite balanced and will give you some troubles at the start, but later on will be able to demolish anything after invoking his Noble Phantasm. Finally we have Saber, who starts powerful early game but has serious issues on late game.
You saw me mention Noble Phantasm. For those who are new to this, a Noble Phantasm is what makes a servant a servant. Using it reveals the name of the servant, not like Phoenix Wright that has OBJECTION! but rather the Noble Phantasm is something so unique that can only be pinned to a single person (Agatha Christie fans think of the gown in the murder on the orient express) be it a weapon, an ability or even phrase. It is something that would tell the enemy who the servant is.
For those that already knew the above, be happy, because you can actually control the phantasm. So you can chose whether to use it or not. Yes you can activate Unlimited Blade Works, hear Archer's poem and see his "factory" replace the battlefield for the remainder of the battle.
The game uses two different mechanics for combat. The old dungeon crawl method is how you navigate, and you can either avoid or stun your enemies (does not applies to masters and servants). Once you enter into a battle you will have a rock, scissors, paper command system termed here as attack, break, guard. However, if you don't wish to spend the entire game seeing the same three set of animations then you can press the square button to display the item/code cast (master skills that are given to them via formal wear, more on that later)/Servant skills. All three servants have useful skills to use, however one of two servants and most of another deserve a mention.
Saber: She has multiple skills but Thrice Setting Sun and Fountain of Chronos are among the most memorable, one raises her ATK and the other can bring her back from the dead a single time.
Archer: Fake Helix Sword which can do with ease 40.000 points of damage (it leaves the final boss with 150-800 HP points, the bonus boss is left with 1000 points).
Caster: Her three base mantra act as the equivalent of one of the physical commands, but with an added bonus, it will cause stun if the target survives. Bestial Sky raises her MGC even more, to absurd levels if I may add. Apothic Cave allows her to diminish damage done to her and absorb MP saving you on consuming elixirs, Sakura's lunch and other scarce but valuable items in the long run. Her final skill of note is that once she has less than 30% of her total HP she can inflict poison, which kills enemies fast (servants die even faster due that no master uses items or healing skills).
The history is quite interesting, as it seems that the world became stagnant for some reason and a powerful family of plutocrats rose to power adding more fuel to the fire. The Holy Grail War this time will literally chose the fate of mankind. If the plutocrats were to win the world would be static, no progress at all. Other masters would merely use it to fuel their desires. Various people have goals that might surprise you, like the rebel/terrorist Rin Toshaka (yes Rin is a rebel and terrorist this time around, there are a number of skilled people that are under these plutocrats control who wish to remove all other masters). You however are an amnesiac person who will quickly grow to be a pain and a bother for them.
Onto the characters several of the FSN characters return: Rin, Sakura, Shiji, Taiga, Kotmine Kirei, Archer etc. Some have completely different personas than those found in the original source material while others are very similar. But four particular character I feel the need to mention and point are: Touko Aozaki and Ryogi Shiki, the same people of Kara no Kyokai, and Arcueid and Aoko also appear in the game.
In conclusion Fate/extra is a surprisingly fun RPG that is very well rooted on the nasuverse mythos. The only sad thing is that the formal wear (the armors you find/buy or are given) that Rin/Rani or that your servants might give won't carry over to any New Game Plus playthrough.