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Sword Art Online: Last Recollection Thoughts

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Since 2013, more video games have been produced for the Sword Art Online JRPG franchise. These games present original stories centered on several key deaths in the series, even if they draw inspiration from anime and light fiction stories. 

Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris came out in 2020 and had a ton of post-game content, such as DLC and game upgrades, that introduced more tales. Sword Art Online: Last Recollection, which has been available since October, is here to tie up all the loose ends for a farewell narrative that unites the complete ensemble of video game characters for a titanic showdown in the Underworld.

A More Linear Approach to Level Design Compared to Its Predecessors

Sword Art Online: Last Recollection offers the most authentic Japanese action RPG adventure to the franchise in a long time from a campaign standpoint. This game employs a more linear level design than its predecessors, saving most of the player’s return for scenes that take place after the primary plot concludes.  

The game features a unique tale that begins at the start of the new game, but it also occurs after the demise of Alicization Lycoris. Dorothy, a dark knight, has come to the human world to find peace, but Kirito and his comrades must first travel to the Underworld to meet with the powers that be and come to a resolution before they can truly find it.

As a uniquely developed character, Dorothy experiences considerable growth in character throughout the campaign. Her tale is more thoroughly portrayed than Medina’s storyline in the preceding installment, where her genuine identity became apparent only via additional DLC. But Dorothy frequently shows signs of fear and self-criticism, questioning her capacity to take charge or succeed. Even while her past experiences explain her lack of confidence, the idea of a warrior gaining confidence is starting to feel a little cliched. Though we all know Kirito’s charm can work miracles, it’s fascinating to see how she separates herself from the gang in case the discussions falter and she has to battle against them.

The Story Gets More Interesting Around the Fifth Chapter

The main campaign was completed in around 20 hours by yours truly, and around the fifth chapter, the plot really picked off. It’s simpler to advance through the game because the entire experience is guided. Actually, you don’t need to play for hours to advance through most places or take on tough opponents on standard difficulty. But that’s also when the game started to give me some trouble.

It gives you prizes for playing the game, such as new gear and weapons, and skill points for building your character. But most of the talents you wish to hone should be yours by the fourth chapter. Only when specific requirements are satisfied are new skills made available to you, most of which you were already familiar with at first.  

Although you can control the activities of your AI members of the group, this somewhat restricts the player’s ability to tailor their equipment. In fact, not much customization is needed with these tools to finish a campaign. You’ll encounter statues throughout the game that offer extra customization options for AI companions or bestow elemental powers necessary to overcome terrain challenges.

Cities may have unintended consequences, but these are usually insignificant. They frequently entail eliminating particular foes or finding misplaced objects. Not deliberately search for them, but I embraced them all and finished them at random as I found stuff in underground regions.

Get Ready for an Endless Run Until You Trigger a Cutscene

While exploring, several odd design decisions are made. For instance, after pursuing a quest marker for the duration of a chapter, all of a sudden, you’ll be presented with the main quest, which just briefly explains the things you must do to advance. It’s unclear why these objectives don’t use mission markers, so you’re left running indefinitely till a scene appears. It’s recommended to disregard the landscape actions that are required for many of these quests, as they have little to no impact on adversaries and only move the ground or the wind.

Sword Art Online: Last Recollection’s fighting, nevertheless, might be the greatest the series has ever seen. It’s clear that a large sum of money and development time were invested in creating the amazing fight. Although the combo attack and assault mechanics are great, the gameplay first seems tedious due to the basic button pushes. Combat becomes quite satisfying as you find new skills and figure out how to team them up with AI members of the group.

Group Attack Animations Can Get a Bit Boring Over Time

You can interrupt enemy combos and shatter their shields to deal a lot of damage in addition to flawless dodges, which slow down time and let you score more strikes. It’s also possible to launch group attacks, albeit these animations tend to grow monotonous over time. One peculiar tactic is to progressively reduce the health of formidable opponents in the early stages of the game. 

You can leverage this by letting members of your team take damage as you gradually reduce the enemy’s health. AI group members have a recovery time if they are killed in battle. I’d caution against using this strategy because the benefits don’t outweigh the effort. Save these interactions for the final game or online play. Thankfully, there’s a respectable quick travel system to get back to earlier locations. I didn’t like, though, that some spots required actual physical contact in order to activate.

The fighting is excellent, however, the presentation as a whole is somewhat lacking. The game’s visuals are reminiscent of previous PS4 releases, and the game has issues with items popping up. Even though there’s more information, it is obvious that upgrades are required because the game falls short of recent editions due to serious pop-up item issues when navigating larger towns. The character models appeared antiquated, thus I enjoyed the character episode challenges more than the 3D animations.

Final Thoughts

Sword Art Online: Last Recollection is a reunion game with a large cast of characters that are unveiled in every chapter. This will satisfy fans of video games that like JRPGs over other game genres like fighting, first-person shooters, etc. Even though, for example, FPSs are far more popular among gamers worldwide, experiencing a rise in pro and recreational players, prize money at eSports events, and focused betting platforms covering competitive video games, like CS2 betting sites, JRPGs enthusiasts will tell you that they feel a greater sense of progression and that anime aesthetic outweigh other game kinds.

Even though the majority of these heroes are only mentioned in passing in the main narrative, the Episode Missions objectives offer insightful information about the supporting cast. The game is enhanced by the appearance of the original Hollow Fragment characters. All of the characters have superb performance, while the sound design isn’t always up to par. The talk has pauses here and there that disrupt the flow. When the emotions are highlighted in the last chapter, the acting reaches some of its best points. Because of the remarkable ending, even inexperienced players who struggle in Story Mode can still appreciate the plot.

Taking into consideration user input from the past, Sword Art Online: Last Recollection is one of the best SAO games to date. To appease fans, a more straightforward approach has led to certain odd game design decisions that have an impact on the overall experience, even though improvements have been made. Although the game lets all players experience the epic campaign’s finale, its linear objectives and antiquated exploring can make it hard to endorse as a contemporary action JRPG.

TXH
TXH
TXH loves nothing more than kicking back at the end of the day, controller in hand, shooting the hell out of strangers via Xbox Live.

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