Join a quest and fight the fight!
Sword Art Online is a popular anime with plenty of video game support over the years. The anime, for those who don’t know, is about people playing an online role-playing game and getting trapped inside it. That is the basic premise of the first saga of the anime and the games usually play off of what happened in that time. Hollow Realization is no different, taking place after those events.
In role-playing games, you take the role of the main character, in this instance, Kirito. Kirito and all his allies, who became his friends while trapped in the SAO universe, join forces in whatever new game they happen to be playing. Typical role-playing games have the same basic set up in terms of hub world and quest mechanics. SAO: Hollow Realization is no different in that it has those things. The difference comes in how they’re used like being able to add NPC’s from the hub city to your team and use them to fight. However, just like in real role-playing games in order to level up and gain skills, you will need to gain experience points
Lucky for you there are plenty of wild animals to attack to jump-start that experience. This does give the game the repetitive feeling but it’s an RPG, that’s what they do. I did get the dubious feeling of a button masher while out in the field trying to complete missions.
The game tries to teach you the basics of combat and for the most part it does a good job. There is that slight moment when you need your allies to attack in your place while you heal. After you heal you have to get your party to attack a certain way and I felt SAO was over complicated for no reason some times. There was so much going on during the battles when all I wanted to do was find and use a healing item.
Controls and world layout are easy to pick up at times. Like I mentioned before, there are times during combat that feel overly complicate for no reason. All you need to know sometimes is how to attack and not die. Combo attacks with your party are tough to pull off at times too. If you keep your party alive, you should be able to come up with a strategy. A small piece of advice, you can get lost in the main city so learn how to get around and where everything is.
It’s easy to pick up quests in the game and you can get rewarded for finishing them. You might find new weapons while on your quest or get paid handsomely for your trouble. You can even add new characters to join your party if you can get them to join you. That isn’t as easy you might think so plan accordingly. The controls are easy to pick up at the start but difficult to master. I found myself hacking and slashing enemies more often than using strategies. Now that might say more about me than the game but I digress. One final issue is that the dialogue is only in Japanese.
I feel like I’m in the minority on this one where I want to be able to have English voices but I know that would have slowed the production of the game. Fans of anime-based games usually want the Japanese voice actors to reprise their roles but like I said, I’m in the minority on that. An option to have English voice acting would have been nice, that’s all.
I’m giving Sword Art Online Hollow Realization for the PlayStation 4 a 7.0/10. I would like to thank