By now, we know what to expect when we hear the words ‘Sword Art Online’ said out loud, right? It’s time to jump in to another fantastically realised, video game world with our hero Kirito as he battles to escape a virtual world on the verge of disaster.
Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet is everything fans have come to expect from the hugely successful series except, well, it’s not. Fatal Bullet is completely changing gear and taking the franchise in a bold and exciting new direction.
Welcome to Gun Gale Online
The immediate difference is the world you and your heroes will be exploring: Gun Gale Online. Long gone are the fantastical worlds last seen in 2016’s Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization and 2015’s Lost Song, instead replaced with a devastated and deserted landscape where monsters and maniacal mechanical enemies rule. Most importantly though, bullets will fly in Gun Gale. A lot of them.
Following from the dramatic shift in setting, and tone, the entire genre of Sword Art Online is changing. Described to us as a third-person shooter RPG, the action in Fatal Bullet is loud, fast and filled to tipping point with explosions and gunfire.
Our session with Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet put us in the role of Sinon, a sniper-equipped, green-haired, and masterfully agile warrior. Utilising her Sniper Hecate, you’ll be able to provide your group of 4 characters with far-reaching support in any situation, picking off monster-size crabs and humanoid automatons left, right and centre. Other times, we were able to swap to a standard assault rifle for closer combat, and a faster pace. A lot happens on-screen during Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet, but thanks to a well-suited camera, your chosen character will always be front and centre (well, a little to the left but you get what we mean).
Speaking of characters, we were shown two during our time with the game – Sinon, and series staple Kirito. Kirito takes a unique approach – as all 4 members of your party will – and swaps Sinon’s sniper for a trusty blade. Keeping in the style of Sword Art Online, Kirito’s play-set allows for a much closer combat style and requires precise timing in order to reach your enemy before their bullets meet your face. Luckily, all characters will be equipped with their own UFG (Ultimate Fibre Gear) that makes getting around the battlefield so much easier.
The UFG allows you to latch on to nearby surfaces and gain momentum in combat as you dash around, outpacing enemies, gaining an advantage point with Sinon’s sniper, or pulling yourself closer to have Kirito’s blade land a deadly blow. How does it look? Imagine if Zorro’s whip was Qui-Gon’s lightsabre and you’re good to go.
A Bullet With Your Name on it
Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet has some high-end calibre behind it, too. Not only is it running on the astonishing Unreal Engine 4, it’s in good hands with developer Dimps (Dragonball Xenoverse, Freedom Wars) steering the wheel. Bandai Namco want to make sure this is a Sword Art Online game for the ages.
Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet is currently pencilled in for an Early 2018 release date, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.