Sword Art Online has been around for quite a while now; what started in 2002 as a simple light novel series has gone on lớn span a multimedia franchise including several books, manga adaptations, đoạn clip games, movies, và – yes – an impending live-action Netflix series. It was only a matter of time before the franchise would receive some representation on the Switch, and that has now finally materialized with Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization. Though the first for Nintendo players, this is actually the fourth game in the Sword Art video game series, which itself has diverged from the canon in some key ways và established a storyline of its own, và after an initial launch on PlayStation platforms, Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization has now found its way to the Switch in the khung of a ‘complete edition’ that includes all the previous DLC. On the whole, it more or less proves to have been worth the wait – offering up a robust and well-realized RPG experience that dwarfs much of the competition on the eShop – but this unique does come with a few caveats that newcomers may want lớn consider before buying.

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Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization picks up shortly after where the last game left off, as Kirito, Asuna, and all their friends migrate khổng lồ a new trò chơi called Sword Art: Origin lớn partake in the closed beta. They’re enjoying the game, often pointing out its similarities to lớn the original Sword Art Online (just, y’know, without the real death part) và things are going well until Kirito runs into a weird NPC girl with no name and seemingly no real part khổng lồ play in the broader trò chơi world. Charmed by her pure & kind demeanour, the team takes her under their wing and name her “Premiere”, but things quickly grow more interesting as they take her on quests and discover that perhaps she isn’t the ‘nobody’ NPC that she first appeared lớn be.

For those of you that find yourselves tired out by an overabundant story in an RPG, Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization may prove khổng lồ be a rather taxing experience, as portions of the experience border on becoming more of a visual novel than a game. When story beats are triggered, it can often lead lớn almost comically long cutscenes that can last north of fifteen minutes at a time. Aside from a few instances, the vast majority of those cutscenes are spent reading through extensive dialogue (acting as a sub for the Japanese voice actors) as character portraits flash on và off the screen, occasionally changing expressions as the conversation calls for. Those of you that don’t want khổng lồ be bothered with these scenes can blaze through them by simply holding down the ‘L’ button, but even then, it can sometimes be a fair bit of time before the figurative controller is put back in your hands & you can continue the adventure.


The Japanese voice acting for these scenes works well and features some strong performances, but the writing itself leaves something khổng lồ be desired. Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization plays host lớn just about every cringe-worthy & tired anime trope that you can imagine, and while this isn’t strictly surprising given that the source material is a popular anime, it can nonetheless drag down one’s enjoyment as pervy humour and eye-rolling events unfold left and right. No joke, there is even a girl who frequently refers khổng lồ your character as “Daddy”. All of this can be argued as being part of the charm, however, & the personalities of various characters from the show come through consistently. Just be aware that Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization is just about as ‘anime’ as anime gets, for better or worse.

As a trò chơi about an MMO, Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization goes to great lengths to lớn replicate the feel of a largescale RPG being played by thousands at a time & it mostly manages khổng lồ get it right. The main town – inventively called the “Town of Beginnings” – contains all the standard equipment shops and wide-open rendezvous points one might expect, along with some more scenic locations in which you can take a partner on a ‘date’. The world itself is comprised of a series of levels which each contain several interconnected areas packed lớn bursting with monsters to lớn fight and grind for loot drops, treasure chests, emergent mini-quests, and terrifying quái thú creatures. It’s the little details that really tie it all together, though, such as other parties of NPCs running through the world much lượt thích your own, fighting their own battles against monsters & making call-outs as a real team would.


Battle uses a live-action system a bit lượt thích the one employed in YS VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana, in which you simply slash away at enemies right there on the map until either they die or your buổi tiệc nhỏ wipes. Of course, this wouldn’t be a pseudo-MMO without an enormously busy UI overrun by toolbars, so your skills, special attacks, và items can all be accessed via a toggleable bar that can pack up to lớn 60 different actions at one time. For the most part, you can get away with just using a much simpler four actions bound to a quick thực đơn – most of the enemies and bosses you encounter don’t require such extensive min/maxing – but the depth offered in combat is certainly welcome.

See, it’s not just about whacking an enemy with a stick for a bit until you win. Every hit builds up a multiplier that affects how much damage the enemy receives, but with the caveat that the multiplier resets if you let up for too long. Moreover, your các buổi tiệc nhỏ members will frequently make call-outs asking for a certain skill or attack khổng lồ be performed, and if you time these things right, it can mix off devastating combos that all but vaporize the thing you were fighting. Through dynamic elements lượt thích this, combat is infused with some much-needed energy, as it becomes a deft dance of balancing skill cooldowns, damage multipliers, và friend call-outs in equal measure. Outside of the (free) DLC endgame nội dung and a handful of bosses, making full usage of the deep combat is hardly ever required or even requested, but having that high potential skill ceiling is nonetheless nice for those that want to lớn get the most out of that later, harder content.


Character growth is handled through a rather confusing array of interconnected skills, which the in-game tutorial hardly bothers explaining to lớn you. Using any one of the nine main weapon classes will naturally grow your proficiency with that weapon, passively earning you skill points that can then be spent on a variety of skills related khổng lồ that weapon as your proficiency with it increases. However, every now and then you’ll unlock a ‘class’ skill that has its own skill tree which can only be furthered by having that class skill equipped. This also has an effect on your buổi tiệc ngọt members, whose growth you’re given limited control over as well. The party member can equip any class skills you’ve unlocked & progress their own growth in that skill tree, và you can then set how frequently or infrequently you want them lớn use each action. Affecting this khổng lồ some degree, too, is their emotional state, which is represented as a series of various sized bubbles that can be either encouraged or discouraged in battle.

A key shortcoming here and, unfortunately in the rest of Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization, is the laughable effort made at explaining key systems & functions to lớn the player. This is an incredibly in-depth & complex RPG in many parts, & while there’s an effort made khổng lồ explain certain things lớn the player, important elements are often left out of the tutorials that leave you scratching your head and wondering what the heck this abbreviation means, or why a màn chơi that should be increasing is remaining stagnant. It’s not exactly rocket science, so experimenting around with menus & trawling through the infinite wisdom lớn be found in mạng internet message boards can help lớn clear up some of the fog, but Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization"s failure lớn communicate the importance of certain chơi game features makes much of the first ten to lớn fifteen hours a slow and confusing time for new players.


Similar to this, there are certain times in which the confusing systems are made even more difficult khổng lồ decrypt due lớn hokey trò chơi design that makes simple things unnecessarily complicated or irritating. For example, if you’d lượt thích to check up on a các buổi tiệc nhỏ member’s emotional state or change their class skill, you’d think that you could vì so by going to lớn the ‘Friend’ tab in the menu & selecting their name. In reality, you have to walk up to lớn them on the maps and initiate conversation, pulling up a sub-menu that’s inaccessible from the main menu. To lớn make this worse, tiệc ngọt members don’t automatically follow you when you’re in town, meaning you have lớn look all over town và spend five or ten minutes doing something that should only take a few seconds. Going off of this, the town bafflingly doesn’t feature the mini-map that’s present everywhere else in Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization, so if you need lớn talk to a specific character to lớn progress the story, you have to spend extra time running around looking for them, sometimes checking some areas multiple times because characters move about of their own accord. It’s annoying things lượt thích this that can drag down the pace and kill one’s enjoyment of the game, as it becomes more trouble than its worth to lớn fumble around with problems that few other RPGs have.

It’s a real shame, too, because when it isn’t being needlessly frustrating or confusing, Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization has more than enough nội dung to keep any longtime RPG tín đồ happy for dozens of hours. Though the sidequests can often be standard fetch quest guff, there are several sprinkled in that possess some genuinely interesting stories or objectives that help khổng lồ build out the game world that much more. And, once you reach the end of the main game, all the previous versions’ DLC becomes playable, adding new challenges, dungeons, và quests khổng lồ the trò chơi to make for a meaty postgame. Topping all of this off is a multiplayer mode that can bring Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization another step closer lớn being an actual MMO, featuring both co-op và PvP modes that aren’t as robust as one would like, but nonetheless add some extra value to lớn all the other content. Make no mistake, if you have the patience to get past the rougher parts of the game up front, there are potentially hundreds of hours to lớn be sunk into Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization, & that kind of meaningful content and extensive replayability deserves to be commended.


From a graphical perspective, Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization is no slouch either, possessing a clean & surprisingly detailed art style that looks fantastic whether you’re playing docked or portable. Character portraits in cutscenes are brightly coloured and wonderfully expressive, & when running through the trò chơi world, you’re treated to lớn detailed và surprisingly realistic environments with long draw distances và high-resolution textures galore. It’s clear that a lot of time was put into making these environments feel lượt thích living ecosystems in many ways, and the sizable scope that they present just serves to lớn remind one of the kind of ‘home console’ experiences the Switch can make real when on the go. The only thing dragging all this down is the sub-par performance; it’s not terrible by any means, but there are many points where Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization struggles khổng lồ hit that 30FPS benchmark and the dropped frames prove lớn be noticeable.

At the over of the day, Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization is the kind of trò chơi that you probably already know if you’re interested in or not. This is an anime-inspired, in-depth RPG that comes with all the trappings, good and bad, that your mind associates with that description. Fans of the show & of complicated RPGs will no doubt find plenty to love here in the likable characters, complex character customization, và frantic battle system while those who would consider themselves lớn be unfamiliar with RPGs or the anime will no doubt be put off by the uneven, sometimes cringe-worthy writing, lack of effective tutorials, và general tedium present throughout the whole experience. We’d give Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization a recommendation overall – this is a good, quality RPG – just make sure you vì chưng a bit of research in advance khổng lồ confirm that it’s what you’re looking for.

Good 7/10

Scoring PolicyReview copy provided by Bandai Namco


Mitch has been a tín đồ of Nintendo ever since he got his start on the GBA in 2005. When he"s not busy playing games or writing, you can find him down at his local MMA training facility learning how to punish the unrighteous.



Tue 11th Jun 2019

One important question, is it censored lượt thích happened in that update for the Japanese PlayStation release a few years ago or is it uncensored like the English version of the game?



Tue 11th Jun 2019

Earth has done it! I"m dead now! You really shot me through my organs. I am getting Xbox One S to play Phantasy Star Online 2. However, I am going lớn continue to lớn play my Nintendo Switch with the games I have. You all tore me apart!

Tue 11th Jun 2019

I played this trò chơi on the PS4. It’s the weakest SAO so far from the games I played. The story is incredibly boring & can be summed up in one sentence. The affection system is as tedious và repetitive as Hollow Fragment’s. The battle system is needlessly complicated & repetitive. The music forgetable. All in all it’s a trò chơi designed for fanboys & fangirls.

Wed 12th Jun 2019

It"s fun. It"s not going to lớn change the minds of any of the SAO haters out there, but for those who lượt thích SAO và want a relatively decent game based on it, this does respectably well.

I took a blind chance on it because SAO is popular enough that I thought the trò chơi would be at least okay và it"s been better than okay. I"d hotline it "Good". I think 7/10 is a perfectly reasonable score.

Though the fact that the SAO games are in a separate, alternate timeline from the anime, with some events at different times, and certain characters still alive and others having met much earlier - did throw me way off. You might want to read the wiki khổng lồ see the differences.

Wed 12th Jun 2019

Too much lớn play. If this had come out for the Wii U I would be all over it. Too many good rpgs to buy & play though.

Wed 12th Jun 2019

I watched the first season of the anime & that was enough for me. I don"t know why, but something turns me off when it comes to lớn anime about being inside of an MMO...an increasingly popular sub-genre that I just find unable lớn dedicate any sort of interest in.

But this đánh giá makes the game sound quite meaty and worth diving into for hours on end. I like a nice & long, depth-filled game... Hmm.

Wed 12th Jun 2019

I’m not saying SAO doesn’t have it’s fair mô tả of anime tropes, but just khổng lồ clarify, the girl who calls Kirito “Daddy” genuinely thinks of him as her daddy, and as Asuna as her “Mommy.” Just thought I’d clarify this, because it’s not as bad as the reviewer makes it sound. As a daddy myself, I found this part of the story lớn be quite touching.

Wed 12th Jun 2019

I actually love this game, definite buy for me. However, I have an issue with this review.

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Did this reviewer just compare Ys 8 to lớn SAO Hollow Realization? LOL. The games play NOTHING alike. *Ys you control all attacks, SAO you only control skills*Ys has skills mapped lớn buttons, SAO you have khổng lồ go through a menu*Ys you bởi vì rolls similar khổng lồ DS, but quicker. SAO you use back step and side step.*Ys you gather materials to make new weapons and armor, SAO you gain weapons through chests, battles, và towns. *Ys you pause the trò chơi to use items, SAO it"s real time.

So tell me, how is SAO HR, ANYTHING lượt thích Ys 8?

Answer: It"s not. Please Nintendo life, get someone who plays a lot of Jrpgs to nhận xét Jrpgs. This person doesn"t know what they"re talking about, & it also sounds like they don"t even know the lore of SAO.

Dualmask SAO was basically the anime that popularized the MMO anime genre, so it was there before it became old.

Panopticon lớn be fair, if you aren"t familiar with that storyline, this trò chơi doesn"t vày a good job of explaining that detail.

zip If you actually played Hollow Fragment, you would know Fragment is MUCH worse than H.R.Worse combat, worse graphics, bad frame rate in areas, worse AI, worse story, worse music. You can hate on Hollow Realization, but it is a much better game than Fragment in almost every single way

Morrow Well, you’re wrong.

I Platinum’d Hollow Fragment on the PS4 & while it has technical shortcomings, the overall experience and story are far better than Hollow Realization’s.

zip I nearly beat Fragment, but there"s no way I could platinum that trash. Realization is way better, so I think you"re wrong. It"s a matter of opinion dude, but Fragment has way more issues than Realization, và that"s fact. Preference is opinion though.

Dualmask That"s fine. SAO isn"t for everyone. For example, I think One Piece is awful. Yet that"s the most popular anime và manga on Earth.

Wed 12th Jun 2019

Thanks for mentioning that the trò chơi targets 30 fps! I appreciate that kind of detail being spelled out.

Dualmask Ghost in The Shell is a great one. The Boondocks and Ghost in The Shell were my favorite adult animations to watch when I was younger.I don"t care for Ghost in The Shell anymore, but I don"t think it"s bad by any means.

Wed 12th Jun 2019

Sorry, I hate it when stories in video clip game adaptations specifically & deliberately break the original canon.

BulbasaurusRex it doesn"t break the canon, it"s just meant to lớn be it"s own story that branches off from the anime. It"s a lot better lớn get original story in games. If it was an exact copy of the anime, there would be no tension. You would know exactly how everything turns out.

LetsGoSwitch I don"t hate SAO or these games. I think both the anime và these games are awesome. Sure, they have their flaws, but what doesn"t? I think the good outweighs the bad, but that"s just my opinion. I think it"s funny how everyone thinks if you like SAO, you haven"t watched many anime. I watched lượt thích 300-400 anime, và I still love it.

Wed 12th Jun 2019

Oh please... Anything except Sword Art Online games... (They had enough because it doesn"t make sense)

It doesn"t matter if the original story is up lớn 14 Episodes for only just 1 Season, But going beyond lượt thích GGO is something like "This is NOT a SAO Story". (I like Sinon"s appearance and her character, But Kirito"s story is dropping down to lớn the thrash.)

The more WORSE Story than a garbage is "Alicization", The Episode 10 of it will going khổng lồ make people really angry. (Ronye và Tiese are end up very bad, They were abused by Raios và Humbert.)

Morrow Yeah when I first saw SAO, I hadn"t seen many anime & I really enjoyed it. It wasn"t perfect but it wasn"t as bad as the haters make it (SAO abridged is still better) but even now, I still enjoy it

Morrow I know, but if I remember right it was censored on PS4 before Sony went crazy, và only in japan which is why I was wondering. Of course I hope its uncensored like moste Switch games.

Morrow Of course a branching timeline that doesn"t exist in the original light novels and deliberately contradicts canon events is breaking canon!

There are plenty of ways of including original stories that while they may not be technically canon can still (mostly) fit within the original timeline as if they were. The "One Piece" and "Naruto" games occasionally vì it rather well.

BulbasaurusRex You are basically playing the anime with the Naruto and One Piece games. There is very minor differences in story from the games to lớn the anime. The only Naruto game I know of that breaks away from the anime is Naruto: DragonBlade Chronicles---which is actually my favorite na-ru-to game. Because it"s entirely it"s own original story.

I don"t want to lớn play the anime, I want to play original stories.

tobibra Are you talking about like spa scenes where it covers full nudity? Full nudity (showing nipples, genitalia, bare ass, exc) automatically makes it an AO, Adults Only, rating---basically, a sex game. That stuff will always be censored on consoles, because sex games aren"t allowed on console platforms.The annoying thing is, this AO rule only applies to lớn Japanese games apparently, because stuff like The Witcher 3 isn"t censored at all.

Morrow I would"nt say full nudity, you don"t see her nipples or genitalia anyway. In the Japanese game they gave her a swimsuit anyhow.

Originaly added a liên kết to a đoạn clip about in Youtube but I removed it from this post in case someone would think that was too much. Never know and I don"t feel lượt thích running that risk tbh.

tobibra I looked it up, so I know what scene you"re talking about. That was only censored in Japan, not over in the US. If you live in Japan, maybe get the UK or mãng cầu version? As far as it being censored in the JP version on Switch, you might want khổng lồ look it up. Someone should have answered that by now, since it"s been out for a bit.

Morrow I know it was only for japan on PlayStation, thats why I asked in my first post if the Switch version got that or not. I don"t live in Japan, I live in Europe. I were just hoping Bandai didn"t use the censored version outside of japan this time around, thats all. I know Switch games in general is not censored, but just asked lớn be safe

tobibra Oh, you don"t have to worry about that. Unless otherwise mentioned, if US version is uncensored, the UK version usually is too.

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