Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris Review
If you are one of the many sword art online fans around the world with an interest in gaming, chances are you have been anticipating the release of Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris, yet another addition to the Sword art game universe. Bandai Namco and the developers at Aquria have returned to take a different spin on this particular SAO game.
Alicization Lycoris is the first Sword Art game to remain true to its canon storyline, at least until a part of the way in. The game begins with a cut scene from the end of part one in the anime which involves an in-game boss battle that honestly felt pointless since the game goes over the battle mechanics with you later on. The battle ends abruptly and continues the game from where episode 2 of the anime begins, with Kirito waking up in what appears to be another VR world.
From there, the first bit of the game follows the basic plot of the first season of Alicization. There are additional stories to fill in for the unseen times within the anime, but eventually it branches out into a story a bit different from the anime. As far as I’ve seen, the game doesn’t appear to have major spoilers but there are still minor details to come up and may hint at the story. So, If you still plan on watching the anime and you have a strict no spoilers rule, I highly recommend watching at least the first season of Alicization before playing this game.
Like many other JRPGs it’s very much story driven with a lot of dialog, even though they went for an open-world approach. So if you’re an SAO fan with the patience of a saint I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. Luckily for those of you that get bored fast there is a wonderful fast forward feature for talking scenes during side quests. Unfortunately, it wont always allow this for main quests; but if you choose, you can press the options button and skip the entire scene. Keep in mind that when doing so it will still show you any conversation options you missed and have you decide what to say without any context. It can get annoying but its not enough to be a deal breaker.
The character movement, however, was quite frustrating. When walking there is only 2 speeds…fast and super slow. The speed doesn’t adjust to somewhere in between based on how gentle or hard you push on the joystick, so it appears very choppy. Clicking L3 turns on run so you can go even faster, which you’ll definitely need to get around. The biggest issue I had with the movement was how difficult the choppiness made it to interact with NPC’s. Oh, and side note; jumping while climbing vines will NOT make you climb faster, you will fall.
The quality of the environmental graphics in Alicization Lycoris is greatly improved from some of the earlier SAO games. It slightly resembles an OG Skyrim but with more vibrant colours. The navigating system is also like that of Skyrim as well as many other modern open world games these days. Sadly, although the graphics and textures in the game appeared quite beautiful at the start, the game was struggling with slight lag and graphical glitches when in battle, while rotating my camera or even just running around. None the less it didn’t stop me from enjoying the beauty it had to offer, especially since I’ve heard rumor of upcoming performance patch to address those issues. The background music also has a renaissance feel that I found really suited the game.
The game also lets you gather materials through harvesting, hunting wild creatures or conversing with NPC’s and the crafting options are something I find quite enjoyable. Did I mention this game also has fishing? Why? I’m not quite sure, since it requires no button pressing skills whatsoever, but if you’re a patient collector like me you’ll enjoy the relaxing time seeing what fish you can catch at each of the various fishing spots. There are also hidden treasure chests around the world to be discovered.
A slighter large issue I had in Alicization Lycoris was with the combat system. It’s rather daunting since there seem to be many things you need to pay attention to. I can see what they had in mind but for me it just felt a bit unpolished and confusing. The camera angles while switching between characters or even just to look around to see where you are and what’s going on makes battling even more difficult. The target lock option is hard to see and the character swapping seems broken at times; many times it refused to switch to a party member that was capable of fighting, but they proceeded to stand there doing nothing. For beginners I can see these mechanics as frustrating enough to turn them off the game entirely.
The leveling system on the other hand is well thought out, it offers a range of skill tree options to level as well as new attacks to unlock for different weapons as you gain skill points through doing various tasks. The skill tree options revolve around attacking, defending, or supporting. It also gives you the option to choose which 4 weapon skills and 4 passive skills you’d like to use in battle out of the ones you unlock and their corresponding buttons on the controller for some battle customization.
Speaking of customization, the game offers character creation for story mode and online play with a wide variety of options and colours. Additionally there are outfits you can buy in game and online for you to transmog your characters outfits to look how you choose. I was quite thrilled to hear about this since I’ve always been a huge character customization fan. I am not one to find online play appealing, but having those options made me more interested.
True, this game may not be as polished as many would like, but despite the janky camera angles, movement struggles, combat confusion, and graphic difficulties, its not a terrible game. I feel that it could use a few tweaks that hopefully future patches will address but it has potential as far as JRPG’s go. As an SAO fan myself, once I got a grip on how the game worked I was sucked in (thankfully not literally) and found myself having fun among the chaos. So If you’re a fellow SAO fan or just a fan of JRPG’s in general, I believe you’ll find many hours of enjoyment in Alicization Lycoris.
Learn more about Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris here: https://www.bandainamcoent.com/games/sword-art-online-alicization-lycoris