A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet is a third-person adventure game for the PS4, Xbox One, and Windows. Based on the cartoon, comic book, and young adult novel series Sword Art Online, this game has players using futuristic guns and explosives to kill human-looking characters. But there's no blood or gore. The game's dialogue includes such curse words as "ass," "bitch," and "bastard," while some female characters wear outfits that expose their cleavage, including one character who bends over to make sure you get a good look at it. Players can also adjust the chest size of female characters they make, though never to the point where the character looks ridiculous or unnatural. The game may make players want the books, comics, and cartoons, if they don't have them already.
What's it about?
In SWORD ART ONLINE: FATAL BULLET -- which is based on the Sword Art Online anime, manga, and YA novels -- you play as someone who is in turn playing a fully immersive virtual reality video game called Sword Art Online. It's like if someone on Star Trek used the holodeck to make a Mass Effect-esque third-person adventure game. But while the combat is gun-based, most of your time is spent talking to other people, running errands, and trying to figure out where you're supposed to go so you can talk to people and run your errands.
Is it any good?
While it may have elements of other games, this third-person action/adventure game is really only made for fans of the titular cartoons, comics, and novels. In Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet, you're one of the players of Sword Art Online, an online virtual reality game. It's like if the people behind the Final Fantasy series made their own version of Mass Effect for the holodeck on Star Trek. Which is why the action in this game is of the third-person shooter variety, but you spend way more time conversing with other characters and running around.
But while all of this works well, it does have some issues. Most notably: You need to be familiar with the original Sword Art Online anime, manga, or young adult novels to understand what's going on. Doubly so, since there's a ton of dialogue, and it's all in Japanese, so it's easy to miss something in the middle of a battle. The game's menu complexity will also frustrate those not familiar with similar role-playing games, especially if, as we said, they're not fans of the comics, cartoon, or novels. If they are, though, they'll find Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet to be a deep adventure that really makes you feel like you're in The Matrix ... I mean Sword Art Online.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about marketing. Does Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet make you want to buy the cartoons, comic books, novels, and other fun stuff? Do you think that's intentional?
Talk about violence. In Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet, you're not shooting people, you're shooting their avatars, but does this make you feel any different about the violence? What if destroying those avatars also killed the people?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Bandai Namco
- Release date: February 23, 2018
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Adventures, Friendship, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: T for Mild Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.