Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization (“Hollow Realization”)is a videogame adaptation of the popular manga and anime series,
Sword Art Online
(“SAO“). Published by Bandai Namco Entertainment for PlayStation 4 and PS Vita,
is the fourth iteration of the
Sword Art Online videogame franchise and is essentially a combination of singleplayer role-playing game (RPG), massively multiplayer online game (MMO) and dating simulation all rolled into one, which is to be expected of a series like
The game is set in
in the year 2026, three years after the originalSAO
incident. Kirito, the main character in the
series, is joined by his ‘harem’ of friends in the land of Ainground, who consist of six female characters, including his girlfriend, Asuna. In this game, Kirito and friends meet a non-player character (NPC) known as Premiere, whom they must protect from players hunting NPCs, while uncovering the truth about her coding and purpose.
The game opened with an option to create a character or play simply as Kirito. Deciding to shake things up a little, I went through the process of creating an original female character, believing this to be a lot more interesting than playing as a recognisable and sometimes overrated character. Not only did I get to select facial traits and character voices, there was also an option to select between different bust sizes, which led me to wonder if this game was designed more for teenage boys.
As with most games these days, the game began with a tutorial, which allows players to familiarise themselves with the various in-game techniques and skills as well as the controls. I am personally a fan of in-game tutorials as it illustrates the game’s readiness to embrace not just seasoned experts, but also new gamers who might be unfamiliar to a game’s style and mechanics. In addition to introducing players to the various controls, game tutorials also show off special skills and moves that certain characters are able to make within a game.
As a fairly new and casual gamer,
Hollow Realization‘s pelajaran was somewhat of a let down to me as I ended up being far more confused at the end of it than at the beginning. This is likely due to the steep learning curve that the game has and the complexity of the tutorial as well as the fact that players experience the tutorial with a number of other characters, therefore having to perform each tuntunan task in a crowded space.
Crowded space is one of my main gripes with
Hollow Realization. As much as it attempts to provide players with an experience almost as similar to that of the virtual reality MMORPG (VRMMORPG)SAO
games that Kirito and gang play, it is slightly off-putting to have too many icons, banners and even characters within a screen’s frame at a given point in time. This, for me, affected the gameplay as it felt incredibly overwhelming and difficult to concentrate on. Due to such complexity, as someone unfamiliar to MMORPGs and
videogames, I simply button smashed my way through battles, which is not always a bad thing (in my opinion anyway) as I still managed to make progress, albeit slowly, through the game.
mimics the world of the fictional
games well in terms of depicting it’s open world and dense population. There appears to be endless space to explore and NPCs are abundant. Despite being NPCs, teams of these characters can be seen engaging in battle, allowing players to decide whether to help or to simply leave them be. NPCs in this case, help provide players with more side gameplay opportunities.
On the topic of side gameplay,
also includes aspects of dating simulations which were rather off-putting. A large part of
‘charm’ is the fact that the main character, Kirito, seems to have a growing following of female fans. There’s almost an underlying level of awe and attraction that female characters have for Kirito. In
Hollow Realization, this is especially evident in the character interactions. One standout part of the game, which I wasn’cakrawala particularly fond of, was that there were moments in game where I was required to take Asuna, Kirito’s girlfriend out on dates. Not only was this a bit of a distraction to the main story and plot of the game, it felt slightly uncomfortable for derita, a female playing as a female character.
Despite creating an original, female character, the game still treated me as if I were Kirito and male, with references being made to Asuna being ‘my’ girlfriend. This was, of course, slightly discouraging as it completely defeats the purpose of creating a character right from the outset of the game.
was difficult to enjoy and rather frustrating to play with at times, the game certainly was visually appealing, in terms of scenery, with crisp and incredibly clear graphics. The added bonus of it being essentially a light novel and being in Japanese, with English subtitles, made the game feel like something right out of the anime series. However, the 3D animation of the characters definitely needed work, appearing unrealistic and incredibly doll-like, which again, just put me off. Thankfully, the cut-scenes illustrated the characters in 2D, which was much more in line with the anime and easier on the eyes. Nonetheless, the game does well to appear as a sungguhan
VRMMORPG despite being more of a single player RPG when it comes to gameplay. This gave me the impression that
would appeal more to
fans and more specifically teenage boys, who would appreciate the character designs of the popular
As a whole,
is not a game that I would be comfortable playing at this stage of my gaming experience. MMORPGs have always been tough and without a good latihan, it’ll be quite challenging to manoeuvre. With the additional feel of being a dating simulation, I did feel put off continuing further into the game. Perhaps if the distraction of having to date girls wasn’t there, I’d feel more compelled to invest more time into the game and giving it a chance. For now, I’ll appreciate the visuals, stick with the anime series and hone my gaming skills in the hope of one day returning to