Sword Art Online : Fatal Bullet
Language : Japanese Only
One of the sad things I found was the game only has Japanese audio. It doesn’t ruin the enjoyment of the game and I’m sure many anime fans prefer this. Something that is more reasonable to complain about is that even though I don’t understand Japanese, I hear the same voice lines over and over again and sometimes the same lines overlap.
If you do pick up this game you might notice the tremendous amount of reverb on a lot of the dialogue. Weird huh? Anyways. There’s so many places we could start this review. So let’s just start with what stuck out the most during playthrough.
I think this is one of the best looking anime style character creation systems there is. It just lacks some quantity. So whilst you will be able to make a good looking character that appeals to you, you just can’t finely tweak the things that make that character feel like yours. What I mean by this…
So you want a specific eye color. You can’t do that. I personally found that the two red options for my eyes were not red enough. Why couldn’t they give us a custom colour palette for hair, eyes, skin, and clothes?
So after you’ve designed your character you’ll get to put clothes on them. You have the main outfit and two accessories. You can’t equip two hats though. I wish they would have allowed for traditional equip slots like Torso, Shoulder, Gloves, Pants, Boots, Head, and so on. With the option to equip a ‘full outfit’ over the top for cosmetic purposes.
You can alter the colors on your outfit or gun but the level of control is minimal for many outfits. Such as this outfit with 2 parts that can be colored.
There are a lot of outfits though. It doesn’t seem like it to begin with but as the game progresses it becomes more visible. As I may mention later though…I kinda wish the direction for the game was to create a bit more of the Gun Gale universe. It would be nice if we could go around and visit various shops.
AI Party Members
First up! You can switch out all three of your party members for almost any character that appears in the anime, and a bunch that aren’t! I found there are clearly some AI that are better than others but overall you are left to do 95% of the work.
Whoever you group with will gain affinity with you. There are 7 characters that you can pursue romantic options with, and a bunch of “sleep over” options outside of those 7.
I…don’t know why this has to be in the game.
This is a game based on an MMO virtual reality game in an anime, that plays heavily like a game. I wish I could go and explore the city, find various shops with different gear, join the tournaments that go on. This game doesn’t have any of the ‘world’ feel you get from the anime.
For crying out loud if you want to do anything you need to go to Kirito’s apartment where the entire cast of Sword Art Online is. You need to upgrade a weapon? Kirito’s room. You want to buy an outfit? Kirito’s room. You want to accept some repeatable quests? You don’t have to go to Kirito’s room but hell that functionality is in his room.
Battle of Bullets
The Battle of Bullets three rounds of 1v1 and then a final battle royale. In the anime there are lots of players but in the game there are only 7 finalists. It goes against the feeling of a world when the Battle of Bullets is a mission you accept rather than an event that you occurs that you can participate in. You can repeat these missions fighting the same enemies.
This game really should have been crafted more in the image of being like an MMO. Instead the world exists to support the story. When watching the anime all I could think is “The writers have never played an MMO before”. So the same holds true for the lead developers of Sword Art Online : Fatal Bullet.
You are the main protagonist. It is a story revolving around you and a super rare AI you find. I don’t like to spoil so let’s talk more about how that story is told. You’ll probably get about 30 hours out of the game before shelving it if you include watching the cutscenes. Personally, blasting through the game and doing a bit of farming, I felt the game just suddenly ended. It’s an incredibly short game with few enemies and bosses.
Oh it’s nice to see your character in cutscenes. Probably one of my favourite parts…sadly. or happily?
It’s very story driven. Perhaps overly story driven because there are a lot of fluff dialogue scenes with characters. It’s actually impressive how much useless dialogue there is. If you’re a fan of the universe then I think you’ll like this a lot! It’s certainly nice to hear more of the characters and learn about them slowly over time. If you don’t care then we can be grateful for a skip button.
The game has dialogue choices. Any time there is a dialogue choice you are presented with two options. Both options are the same. WHY does it give us any dialogue option at all? The options are always Yes and Yes or No and No.
This game doesn’t understand cutscenes either. There are dialogue scenes where the characters just stand straight and face you, whilst describing a battle they are partaking in, or grunting. In fact most of the time every other character is stood facing you. It gets…extreme…
Thank god this game has a crouch button. I watched a lot of youtube videos before I purchased this game and I initially thought this game didn’t have crouch. Turns out those people either don’t know it exists or are happy failing. No prone though so we can be sad about that! I feel like any game that wants to include snipers should have a prone button…and Bipods. Snipers are cool with bipods.
The basic shooting mechanics are very simple. You can have an auto aim function which does less damage than if you aim normally but not by much. It’s not a big deal because it remains true to Gun Gale’s system in the anime. You have a computer auto-aim assist and if you’re naturally good at shooting then you can rely on those skills to increase your damage.
Classes and Abilities
The abilities is where I feel the game gets a little more interesting and harder to explain. You can unlock abilities with skill points. From increasing damage, defense, throwing grenades, throwing knives, performing melee attacks, creating magical shields or barriers, healing, forcing enemies to attack you and so on. Using those skills will level up their proficiency.
Every weapon also has a weapon skill but this is purchased at an NPC. The game, in many places, doesn’t tell you the things you perhaps really should know. To be honest though I tire of games giving me tutorials across multiple chapters. But there is something to be said about intuitive designs. Perhaps having an NPC in a store that sells weapon skills would lead the player to checking it out rather than some random NPC on the side of the street!
Dungeons and Bosses
The first interesting boss arrives when you enter the fourth region and it’s a breath of fresh air from battling mechs none stop. Sadly it doesn’t take long to get back into repetitive monsters and bosses. The quality of the bosses doesn’t match up to TERA or even World of Warcraft. Yes there are things to dodge but there are very few attacks each boss has. You will have to dodge the same attack way more than 20 times.
Seriously, the bosses could do with some attention to…well…not detail. This shouldn’t have hit me. There’s no “detail” in there.
To add to that the themes of the dungeons are very repetitive. It’s grey concrete walls with unusual layouts. You don’t raid a lab or cave, even though you do come across a ‘cave’ dungeon and a ‘lab’ dungeon but their interiors are entirely the same.
So all in all, there’s about 10 dungeons and only one of those looks slightly different.
There are missions which allow you to play many of the characters in the anime and more, either solo or part of a group. These missions basically consist of a small room and a group of monsters. So the missions themselves are lackluster but it’s nice to play as some of the cool looking characters from the anime.
Multiplayer is disappointing. You can’t co-op the campaign or explore the regions openly. It’s a simple case of creating a lobby and playing a selected boss or PvP match. There are 33 co-op missions which range from level 25 to 275. There are a few dungeons but it’s mostly just jumping right into a boss that you will have fought during single player.
It’s a shame because with all the classes and skill combinations you could make some interesting partnerships with online friends. The game “God Eater 3” looks to have better co-op options with a monster hunter style system and full campaign co-op. Let’s check that out next yeah?!
Oh and I forgot to include this cheese. Come on! Games shouldn’t be like this in 2010+. We have invented AI.