Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris is a deeply flawed game but has the potential to be good
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Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris is the latest video game adaptation of the hit anime/manga series. The game is developed by Aquria Co. and published by Bandai Namco. Is it worth your while? Let’s find out in our official review.
On a narrative level Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris retraces all the stages of the anime of the same name, although it takes important narrative freedoms especially in the more advanced stages. For those who have not followed the "original" story, the incipit is practically the same: it starts with Kirito who wakes up in the world of Underworld without memories of what his arrival in that place is, or what that place actually was. new virtual reality in which it would seem to have been catapulted, up to the fateful meeting with Eugeo.
The players who have not watched the anime will be left confused as the game skims through important events and adds needless fluff instead. The first chapter took me around 15 hours to complete and had me bored to tears. This mostly had to do with the excessive amount of cutscenes with bad and awkward directing as well as dull dialogue. I am sure over 50% of the first chapter is just cutscenes. Fortunately, after the first chapter the writing improves, this mostly has to do with it going for a more original story. While it is still not great, it is gold compared to chapter one.
It’s unfortunate that, while there are parts of the game that manage to wow you with visual flair, many locations will feel somewhat graphically outdated. It also bears mentioning that, at 4K UHD resolution, you could be looking at a measly 20-25 FPS when using higher settings. Lowering your graphics settings and enabling the 30 FPS lock, or downscaling to 1080p, might be your only recourse if you want a smoother experience.
Playfully speaking Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris represents in some ways a step back from previous iterations of the brand. The gameplay is more technical and reasoned than the old SAO games, titles mainly based, if you like, on a rather marked battle mashing, but tries to adapt to the dynamics of a “real” role-playing game.
Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris is a deeply flawed game but has the potential to be good. The writing, especially in the first 15 hours, is poorly paced, filled with fluff and skims over crucial events. The gameplay is wasted potential and the game has major stability and optimization issues. The main story is filled to the brim with cutscenes and they are awkwardly directed. Combat has many issues including it being sluggish and floaty, no guard/dodge cancelling, long and awkward pause after combo finisher/skill, camera issues and horrible AI. The game needs more auto-saving and multiplayer needs to be fleshed out. The areas of the game I did like were the side quests, skill tree, having many weapons to master, graphics at times, and audio at times. Overall, the game is a mess in its current state and desperately needs patches.
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