From day one I have been a huge Sword Art Online fan, loved the anime and have loved the game series, so of course, I would be picking up the new Fatal Bullet game. The only thing I was worried about going into the game was ‘did they manage to pull off the gun gameplay and still make it still feel like sword art online and not your generic TPS?’ From the get-go it just felt right and if anything made the game feel new and unique from the previous instalments.
This time around the series drifts away from the usual swords and magic that we are used to seeing and gives us guns to play with. The new third person shooter element in the game was a very nice change and made this particular instalment in the franchise feel fresh and different making it the first Sword Art Online TPSRPG, sound pretty cool right. It has an array of different guns and equipment to make this gameplay out completely different from previous titles though if you are an avid TPS player you might feel a bit off with the gameplay at first.
So the game follows on from the events of the previous title: Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization and take the player into the world of Gun Gale Online. If you have seen the Second series of the Anime then you will recognise this game though the events that happen in the anime take place differently in this game as you are playing as your own character this time round and not Kirito. The original story is done by Reki Kawahara and it begins with your childhood friend inviting you to play GGO and from there you’ll make your very own character, even though you’re a rookie to the game you quickly learn the ropes and stumble upon a rare artificial intelligence which is your personal helper in the game. From there you met up with familiar faces from previous games and journey through the world of Gun Gale Online.
The game comes with all the generic mechanics you get from an RPG, levelling up your characters and stats, collecting loot and completing quests. There is a unique weapon in the game that your character has that aids in mobility around the maps which is pretty cool and helps you traverse through the dungeons and overworld. The dungeons in the game do feel lacking and simplistic but the overworld is really fun to go around and is populated with plenty of enemies for you to kill.
You’ll be able to accept quests to earn money so that you can buy equipment, ammo and weapons. You are able to interact with characters from the previous games and use them to make different costumes, enhance weapons and appraise items/weapons.
You’ll have skills that you can unlock for each weapon class and make a play style that you really like, for example, I’m using an AR and Submachine gun that shoots poison and fire bullets. You can have a max of four skills and four equipment for your loadout and this can be changed at any time you please by visiting your home in-game.
You’re able to have a party of up to four people made up from your hero and any of the characters that we love from the series. There is an online in terms of Co-Op and PVP, though the waiting times for this, however, are terrible and leave you waiting for a while for games. The Co-Op was really enjoyable and has you fighting bosses from the game with other players and trying to do it in the quickest time.
As you progress through the game your AI companion unlocked new albites that let you customise your own clothing and weapons to a degree and give it a personality. I enjoyed making my character look different and it was nice while playing online to see all the different players instead of everyone looking the same.
The game offers voice acting for the returning characters in the series as well as the new ones you meet in the game, the only thing is that your character doesn’t really speak. You get dialogue options in certain parts of the game while talking to others but you don’t really say anything, you’re like a silent hero. The text dialogue that you do get isn’t really much either and basically the options your presented with are similar or are worded differently but still mean the same thing. Though it’s always nice to listen to the characters interact with the familiar voices that we hear from the Anime.
The guns sound cool during combat and the music which is playing during combat and in the hub area also sounds good, it is what we come to expect from these games. My favourite has to be the opening cut scene along with the theme song Thrill, Risk, Heartless from Lisa. As always cut scenes in these games are a joy to watch but even more so when you have a brilliant theme song with it.
Graphically the game looks good and I love the stylised feel with the game, the very limited amount of enemies that you come across in the game look nice and each of the weapons and clothing in the game look spot on. The big problem that I had was long hair, I started the game with my character having long hair but after playing for about 30 mins I had to change it. The physics for the hair is totally horrible and really bugs me, not to mention the fact that it kept bugging out in cut scenes and when dodge rolling. The fact that it cuts through your body and seems to defy the laws of reality you would have thought the developers would have sorted it or done something about it. There was a few bugs and glitches with the world as well but not anything major to ruin the game fully.
In terms of replay value, the game has you grinding a lot to level up and to get loot. You’ll find yourself getting the same quests to complete, to then go back to the hub and do it again. Even though it sounds boring it can be really fun. Just make sure you’re levelling up your character by doing side quests and killing big bosses so that when you get to certain points in the game you won’t get owned. If you’re a trophies person then you’ll have no choice but to play a lot of the game as one of them is to reach max level with your character. Also if you want to max out your skills with each weapon that will take some time. You also have online too, PVP and Co-Op. The modes are fun but feel limited and can get boring quite quick due to waiting times and being repetitive.
I have enjoyed playing the previous game in the series and was quite nervous at first to see how this one would play out. At times the gun element in the game is quite annoying while trying to aim down the sights to shoot enemies, that move so quickly really leads to some annoying moments but thanks to the aim assist feature it really helps to solve the issue. The noticeable hair bugs and glitches did cause me to change my character a few times to make sure it wasn’t in the way and doing my head in, but if you give it time the game is really enjoyable and a nice change. It felt similar to other games in the series so I just felt at home with everything and it was nice to have another story from the Sword Art Universe. I liked the customization that I could do with the characters and have your own hero as the main protagonist was cool. If you are a fan of Sword Art Online it is definitely worth the play but if you are new to the series or have never played one of the game before you might get confused with some of the references and seeing some of the characters. I would say that the developers did a good job of bringing guns into the game but still making it feel like previous instalments. Having all the extra content now available for one price and available on all platforms including the Nintendo Switch, which you can play anywhere at any time, with all the updates as well, makes this version of the game the definitive version. For Completionists, this game offers over 150hrs of gameplay, thats a shed load of hours.