Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet, due on Steam February 8, looks like an anime Mass Effect

Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the greatest fan of popular anime series Sword Art Online, but this just-released Japanese gameplay trailer for the upcoming Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet has officially caught my eye. It showcases an interesting mix of third-person shooting, RPG stat-crunching, grappling hook-aided mobility and fighting a lot of robots of varying scale, including ‘enormous and stompy’; the best size for a robot to be.

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Offering both single and online co-op play, Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet takes place in the sci-fi MMO world of the second season of the anime, as opposed to the more traditional swords n’ sorcery setting of the first. While there will apparently be some sections where you get to play as Kirito – protagonist of the show – and other official characters, you’ll primarily be playing as your own custom protagonist, and assisted in offline play by a similarly customised AI partner.

There’s something about the gameplay shown – especially the larger-scale fights against larger robotic enemies – that fills me with nostalgic memories of chewing through the Geth en-masse in the earlier Mass Effect games. While I fully expect the story to be far more linear in structure than Bioware’s classic RPG franchise, the combat alone seems an interesting enough hook for me, and reason enough to keep an eye on this one going into next year.

Fatal Bullet isn’t the first Sword Art Online title to receive an english Steam release. Last month saw the quiet release of Accel World vs Sword Art Online, offering a crossover between the two MMO-themed anime franchises, including competitive online multiplayer. While reviews for the game seem few and far between, the general consensus seems to be that it was a decent enough game, although didn’t do much to stand out at the time.

Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet is due for a Japanese release on February 8th on PS4, Xbox One and Steam. Whether this will be a simultaneous worldwide launch has yet to be announced.