[Review] SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET Complete Edition – Nintendo Switch

Written by slimwiggins

Reviewed by Thomas

  • Developer: Dimps
  • Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment
  • Release Date: 09/08/2019
  • Price: $59.99 / £49.99
  • Review code provided by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment

Intro

Over the past few years I have become a fan of the SWORD ART ONLINE series. I’m not a guru by any means. I couldn’t name every character or episode. However, I thoroughly enjoy the story and world that have been created. I was excited for the opportunity to review SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET Complete Edition. This edition for the Nintendo Switch is loaded with extra DLC, an expansion and additional in game items. There is a lot of content and it is an excellent bargain for the Nintendo Switch. Take a look at my review to see how the game plays out.

Your Choices Are Heavier Than a Bullet

SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET starts with you creating a unique avatar. You are taking control of a new gamer in the Gun Gale VR universe. There are no lack of options when customizing your character. Once you enter the game, you meet a friend who shows you the ropes. For anyone unfamiliar with the series, it even provides a run down of the SWORD ART ONLINE history to get you started. Once you’ve been properly briefed and begin the tutorial, you find yourself head to head with one of the top players. As a courtesy, he let’s you move forward without engaging in combat since you’re new. As luck would have it, this sends you to a rare in-game item which turns out to be a personal AI. This AI is also completely customizable. Known in-game as an ArFA-sys, this companion helps you fight and is the backbone of the story.

The main story is centered around a new in-game DLC where a ship is set to appear. The mysterious relation to your new ArFA-sys AI gives you somewhat of an advantage in solving the clues to be the first to experience the DLC. In addition to the main campaign, there are a handful of other story arcs to experience in SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET Complete Edition. You can enter BoB or Battle of Bullets which is featured in the anime or you can play what is called Kirito Mode.

Say Hello To My Little Friend

Kirito Mode was unique and a lot of fun as it lets you play out the actual anime show. Though it’s not too challenging, it does take some time before you can unlock it. In Kirito Mode you can unlock new abilities and face Death Gun in challenging combat. 

The different stories in SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET Complete Edition are voiced in Japanese with subtitles. There is a lot of dialogue. Sometimes a little too much. Most of it was entertaining as a fan of the series but I expect a lot of it will be skipped. The ability to interact with the characters from the anime was really cool, and you can recruit them to fight with you from the start of the game. Running and gunning with Asuna and Kirito at your side was pretty epic. That said, you don’t have to have seen SAO to enjoy this game. The third person shooter mechanics were pleasant enough to dive into this vast game without any knowledge of the show. Granted, you probably won’t want to engage in a lot of the side stories.

You Can Run, But You’ll Die Tired

FATAL BULLET does a fantastic job capturing the essence of the Gun Gale universe. It is dubbed the first-ever “TPSRPG”, or Third-person shooter RPG. Though I can’t say if it’s the first one ever, it certainly blends both genres very well in an engaging title. You have an assortment of armaments to attack your enemies with ranging from handguns, assault rifles, sabers and even rocket launchers. All over the shoulder view unless your weapon can zoom in like a sniper rifle. There are various gadgets such as grenades you can use as well. Experience points can be gained but you don’t level up until you head back to the main hub. Using RPG elements you can boost your stats to allow you to handle specific weapons.

Customization is huge in SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET. Aside from aesthetic alterations you can improve your favorite weapon. There is plenty of loot to be found and all of it adds to your overall bounty score which is tracked for the duration of your play through. Quests can be undertaken during the normal game and I found myself constantly getting side tracked to fight one more enemy type or hunt down an elusive treasure. You can even engage other enemy players. Though in the main portion of the game they are still AI controlled. 

Did He Fire Six Shots? Or Only Five?

The multiplayer aspect is just as fun. You can compete with other players or join them on boss hunts. Some of my attempts were met with no other players to join but persistence won out. I found a squad to take on a level 200 boss while I was at a mere level 50. Between the single player modes and online, there is no shortage of ways to enjoy all the content FATAL BULLET has to offer.

Aim Small, Miss Small

I first played FATAL BULLET docked on my television and I couldn’t help but notice how blurry the character models looked. Over time I didn’t notice as much but it did stand out. I figured playing in handheld would alleviate that problem somewhat. It didn’t. Even on the reduced screen size, the graphics seemed scaled down.

The music was upbeat and catchy. I even found myself humming along at points and it never got old. The songs would change based on location and if a more difficult enemy entered the fray so it always stayed fresh. The sound effects were well done other than at times my weapon would become quite. I made sure I wasn’t using a silenced weapon and it continually happened where I couldn’t even tell if I was firing my gun or just running around like a fool with an empty magazine. Though it was a minor thing, it was noticeable. The game features lovely Japanese voice acting. The voices did echo quite a bit making the sound quality a bit poor.

There was one slightly annoying setting with aim assist. The game defaults to helping you with hitting your target. I did use it when I really had to stay on my toes and fight on the go. The majority of the time I wanted the feature off. You can press up on the D-pad to toggle the setting or change it in the options, but every time I transitioned to a new screen, it would come on again.

When You Have to Shoot… Shoot, Don’t Talk

Other than what was mentioned above, I didn’t run into any technical issues. The game ran smoothly in either mode I chose to play. I preferred playing docked with my pro controller since it was easier to aim my sniper rifle while running and rolling around. SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET also takes advantage of the Nintendo Switch motion controls. I didn’t use the feature all the time but it was helpful when I did. It made aiming a lot easier and since hitting your target in specific spots granted a huge damage bonus, it made a big difference in boss battles.

Final Wrap

SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET Complete Edition is overflowing with content. The third-person combat is a lot of fun and whether you’re a fan of the series or not, the gameplay is rather enjoyable. There are a few technical issues and long dialogue which can bog down the experience but overall I had a blast launching rockets at massive behemoths and getting to know Kirito and crew a little better.

Pros

  • Enjoyable Blend of Third-Person Shooter and RPG
  • Great Story Continuation for Fans
  • Loads of Customization

Cons

  • Sound Quality Sub Par
  • Minor Technical Issues

Verdict
SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET Complete Edition is a vast game with mountains of loot and even more to do.
4/5

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