When one little detail ruins a game for you (SAO: Fatal Bullet)

The most recent Sword Art Online game dropped on Friday. I usually buy these games when they are deeply discounted but for some reason (maybe a bunch of credit in my Xbox account) I snagged Fatal Bullet at launch. From watching gameplay trailers, it looked like the love child of The Division and the Sword Art Online anime and those are both things I enjoy.

Generally I’ve been liking SAO: Fatal Bullet, except for one little detail. It’s going to sound petty, but this little detail is preventing me from playing as much as I otherwise would.

In Fatal Bullet, rather than playing as Kirito or one of his gang, you create your own character (who meets the Kirito crew in game). You also create a 2nd character, an AI companion. I made “me” male and my AI female. HUGE MISTAKE.

While you can choose a voice for your character (the game is voiced in Japanese only), the AI companion has a fixed voice, and OMG is it ever annoying. It’s that “let’s get an adult voice actor to do a 6-year old girl” voice that we all know from watching anime. I always find those voices annoying to begin with, but in Fatal Bullet your AI chatters constantly.

In combat, it shouts at every thing you do and everything thing that happens. Enemy appears? It shouts something. You killed a level 1 bug and you’re level 20? It pumps its fist and shouts. It shoots something? It shouts. You pick up a piece of trash loot? MOAR SHOUTING! It shouts so often that it is often shouting over itself. In other words, something triggers one shout and before it is finished whatever it is saying, something else triggers another shout and they play over each other. And all at the high-frequency, chalk-on-a-blackboard pitch that makes my teeth ache.

Even outside of combat it is constantly talking. You’re in town sifting through your inventory? The AI is next to you yammering on about something (there’re no sub-titles for all these shouts and burblings so I have no idea what she is saying).

God it drives me crazy! I generally turn off the game because I’m sick of her.

I probably should re-start and create a male AI, but I already re-started once after I named my AI something and found out everyone else in the game is going to call her Rei. I thought that was dumb so re-started and named her Rei. And the game starts really slowly. I fear if I re-start a 3rd time I’ll just bounce off it.

My only hope is that eventually you can change her voice, which would help some. As the game proceeds I’ve unlocked other changes you can make. You can change her “emotes” from “Bright” to something like “Stoic” or “Serious” and I thought they might help, but nope, it all sounds the same. I just unlocked the option to change her clothing. Maybe eventually I’ll be able to change her voice.

I tell you what, though. I’d pay $10 for DLC that did nothing other than let me shut up all her random nattering. I mean, all the characters talk in battle to some extent — this is pretty common in a lot of games with NPC companions — but for some reason they dialed the quantity up to 11 for your AI companion in Fatal Bullet.

So that’s my petty peeve to start the week. What’s yours? Ever have a game that you didn’t like because of some tiny, mostly inconsequential, detail? Or am I the only one this picky?