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Good as a 1-2 hour time filler, not much else

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    Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet

    Rating: 2.0 – Poor

    Good as a 1-2 hour time filler, not much else

    Note: The following is my opinion and should not be taken as a fact.

    I love SAO. I really do. I bought every SAO game to date, even those rather mediocre mobile games. I’ve read all the Novels up to Volume 19, so I guess I’m quite knowledgable about Sword Art Online.

    Now, here is a new SAO game, completely unlike any other before. The games before it took place in a fantasy world with magic and swords. That was the norm.

    But here comes Fatal Bullet, a game seemingly for people that like to play Call of Duty genre type of games. Will it hold up? Let us find out together.

    Story: 3/10

    I wish I could say it is good. I really do. But coming from all the prior SAO games, I wasn’t really expecting that much. And I’m sad to say that it’s gotten even worse.

    You are a new character that just logged into GGO(Gun Gale Online, the setting where it all takes place). One thing to note is that you can edit your avatar. It’s not really on Dragons Dogma level, but it’s passable. You meet your standard fare childhood friend. She forces you to participate in a tutorial kind of sort. After a few minutes of tutorial, you meet Arfasys, your soon-to-be Android sidekick. Kirito attacks you, Arfasys wakes up. You get to edit her too, by the way. Which is kinda neat. Ater some yapping, the tutorial is done. You meet Kirito and his gang. They join you for a rather weak reason. And then it all falls apart pretty quickly. The basic, overarching plot for the first 10-15 hours is to get into the SBC Flugel, a giant spaceship. That is kinda it. After you do that, it’s searching for keys for the Flugel Depths. I won’t spoil the rest, but it’s not really that much better. The main story will take around ~25 hours to complete, which is pretty short. But like I said before, I went into the story with prior SAO games knowledge, so I didn’t expect some grand adventure.

    Later in the story, you also unlock Kirito Mode, where you’ll play as… gasps… Kirito. And let’s be honest, that is what most of us want.

    Characters: 8/10

    Needless to say, almost everyone you know is there, with some more DLC characters coming down the line. You got your standard fare:

    From the main SAO franchise: Kirito, Asuna, Leafa, Sinon, Lisbeth, Silica, Argo, Yuuki, Klein, Agil.

    From the games: Strea, Philia, Rain, Premiere.

    New: You, Arfasys, Kureha, Itsuki, Zeliska, Bazalt Joe.

    From GGO Alternative: LLENN, Fukaziroh, Pitohui, M.

    So, plenty to chose from. And most of them have their pillow talk again. So, lots of fanservice. For me, I’m happy that they included so much new characters. The old ones really started to get stale. You got to note that the characters from GGOA don’t matter to the story. They have a few scenes talking with you and sending you emails. But that is it. Everyone else stays the same trope they always are. Most of the girls still have the hots for Kirito, so that doesn’t really change. I’m pretty niffed that it seems to start including Yuuki. But hey, those are my grimes.

    One new thing to note is that your Avatar also gets a share of the action.

    Every character has something called ‘Affection’. Game breaking, I know. As you start to include them in your line up, heal/buff them in battle, their affection will rise. It’ll start with some more emails from them. There will also be some extra scenes with them. Getting them to 4 unlocks their pillow talk, plus some random talking before. The new thing is, that the pillow talk depends on either you or Kirito. Kirito gets the girls from the main franchise, you get the ones from the games and the new original ones from Fatal Bullet.

    Bear in mind that affection grinding takes a really long time and is also necessary for the true end. Which leads us to…

    Graphic/Sound: 5/10

    Coming from the Unreal Engine, I expected a lot more. The first area especially looks pretty awful. I know it’s a low budget game, but seriously, it is plain ugly at times. And there is almost no dungeon variety. It always looks almost the same. With the exception of the Flugel. Lazy.

    That leaves us with the sound. Thank god atleast the voice acting is a saving grace. The characters all really talk quit a lot in battle and if you’re not that proficient in Japanese, it can get pretty annoying. And they repeat the same lines over and over and over… The voice acting in cutscenes is good. Every character sounds like he should. Yoshitsugu Matsuoka did an amazing job as Kirito again. Your Avatar only really talks in battle and is the sort of silent Protagonist. Sure, they give you a few dialogue choices, but apart from one or two at the very end, they do not matter.

    The sound affects are a mixed bag. The sound of guns and grenades are good, but sometimes it can’t really follow the action and glitches out. It’s decent, all in all. The BGM is forgettable.

    Gameplay: 6/10

    The meat of it all. You can equip a variety of Guns, from Handguns to Assualt Rifles all the way to Gatling Guns and Launchers. There is also a sword, but it’s really lacking in my opinion. The Sword/Gun combo Kirito uses is also unlockable. The weapons also have Weapon Arts, which charge over the course of battles, giving you a healthy edge in fights. Later on, you can also unlock dual wielding for them, if you have the stats for that. You have Gadgets, like Grenades, Proximity Mines and First Aid Kits. The combat is nice and fast, but can get very frustrating later on. There are of course RPG elements, meaning that the more you kill, the more your level rises. Leveling up gives you CP that you can spend on your stats. Strength, Vitality, Agility, Dexterity, Intelligence and Luck. You also can get SP, which will let you earn skills for your weapons. Like a healing shot, or a poison inducing shot.

    Weapon farming will also take you quite a bit of time. There are accessories you and your Arfasys can equip, which will boost your stats and give other nice benefits. You can also buy costumes for you both.

    You can also take up to 3 A.I. partners with you. And that is where the problems start. The A.I. is awful. And I mean, totally awful. Most of the time they’re dead and when they’re not, they don’t act in any logical way. It really baffles me how that could be approved. There are some specified commands, but they only seem make it worse. Using them will completely disable the A.I. Like they will only run around like headless chickens, shoot holes in the air, or stand around drooling. As of now, there is no patch that fixes it. And forget try doing it alone. The Handgun/Sniper enemies in the game will just headshot you and be done with it.

    And do you have fun with enemies that move so fast that the clipping fails? I had that happen with one boss. He moved so fast that the game could not catch up. That is not really how it is supposed to be. Speaking of bosses, you better buckle up. Like mentioned before, your A.I. partners will probably be dead in the corner somewhere, or will be in a constant recovery loop. Every boss can be abused, though and I had no real trouble even on extreme, except screaming at the TV about how useless the A.I. is.

    There is also multiplayer, but as of now, it’s a mess. Most of the people are only there to get the online trophies. The rest are hackers. Yup.

    Final Verdict: 3/10

    What went wrong? Quite a lot. A new version of a SAO game as a shooter sounded so good on paper. What we’re left with is this. Fatal Bullet fails to deliver anything worth to note. I know it’s a low budget game. But that can’t be an excuse for this trainwreck. If I wasn’t a SAO fan, I would rate it even lower. It’s semi good as a time filler, but there are way better anime like shooter out there. Don’t bother with this unless you’re a die hard SAO fan.

    Maybe not even then.

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