OUR RATING: 8/10
Sword Art Online Last Recollection is the latest installment in the SAO series of video games, serving as a sequel to Alicization Lycoris. Developed by Aquria and Aclear Co. and published by Bandai Namco, this game is specifically aimed at veterans of the series. But how well does it cater to the old timers and newcomers? Let’s find out!
The storyline of Sword Art Online Last Recollection revolves around Kirito, who finds himself embroiled in a war between the Humans and the Underworld. The game introduces a vast roster of well-known characters from the SAO universe, each of whom becomes available throughout the game. The plot is relatively straightforward, with a multiplayer online twist added to the mix.
One of the biggest challenges I encountered was the slow pacing at the beginning of the game. Lengthy cutscenes and an abundance of side quests, coupled with vague instructions, made for a tiresome few hours before the real fun began. The inclusion of side quests without clear guidance on objectives led to frustrating moments, such as searching for an item along a seemingly endless road. While I stumbled upon it quickly, I could empathize with players who may spend far longer searching.
One aspect of Last Recollection that immediately stood out was the stunning visual design and attention to detail in the game’s environments. The world of Sword Art Online Last Recollection is a feast for the eyes, with beautifully crafted landscapes and intricate scenery. Exploring the maps and utilizing the fast travel system to navigate between areas became an enjoyable part of the gameplay experience. Additionally, the game offers optional boss fights, some of which are incredibly challenging, adding an extra layer of depth to the exploration aspect. Hidden treasures and secrets can be found in every nook and cranny, rewarding diligent explorers.
The gameplay in Sword Art Online Last Recollection centers around real-time action combat, featuring a combination of skills and buffs that can be activated using specific button combinations. While the combat is flashy and visually appealing, it can quickly become repetitive. The majority of battles involve mashing the same action button, interspersed with occasional skill activations. However, the game does offer the opportunity to unleash special attacks once an enemy’s defenses have been broken. These attacks can be linked together in satisfying chains, adding a layer of strategy to the combat. Despite this, some battles tend to drag on longer than necessary, lacking variety and opportunities for skill improvement. The combat system’s initial strengths end up being its downfall, as it fails to offer significant room for growth or innovative gameplay elements beyond the initial flashy mechanics.
While the main story of Sword Art Online Last Recollection may captivate fans of the series, the same cannot be said for the side story content. Although completing side quests rewards players with new costumes and other cosmetic items, the quests themselves often feel forgettable and inconsequential. The lack of compelling narratives or meaningful rewards diminishes the motivation to engage in these additional quests. Despite the game’s potential for immersive storytelling, the side stories fall short of capturing players’ attention and fail to provide a meaningful gameplay experience beyond superficial distractions.
One area where Sword Art Online Last Recollection excels is its soundtrack. The game features a captivating and well-crafted musical score that perfectly complements the action and atmosphere. From epic battle themes to poignant melodies, the music enhances the overall gaming experience. However, it’s important to note that the voice acting is exclusively in Japanese, without the option to switch to other language tracks. While this may be a disappointment for some players, the use of the original Japanese voice actors adds authenticity and familiarity for fans of the series. The localization, although generally well-done, does have some hit-or-miss moments, occasionally detracting from the overall immersion.
During my PC playthrough of Sword Art Online Last Recollection, I encountered no noticeable frame rate drops or performance issues. The game ran smoothly, providing a seamless gaming experience. However, there was one instance where the game froze during a loading screen, requiring a restart. Additionally, accessing the main menu during gameplay resulted in a slight pause, which, while not immersion-breaking, became noticeable with repeated usage. Overall, the technical performance of the game was commendable, with minimal disruptions to gameplay.
In conclusion, Sword Art Online Last Recollection is a game that primarily caters to fans of the SAO series. Without prior knowledge of the franchise, players may find it challenging to fully immerse themselves in the storyline and appreciate the extensive cast of characters. The gorgeous environments and music also add a lot to the experience. Despite its flaws, Sword Art Online Last Recollection serves as a worthy conclusion for fans of the series, offering closure to the War of the Underworld Arc.
In the end, Sword Art Online Last Recollection’s strengths lie in its appeal to dedicated fans of the SAO franchise. The game delivers a thrilling experience regardless of what shortcomings you think the game has. For those seeking closure to the SAO storyline and an opportunity to immerse themselves in the familiar world of Kirito and his companions, Last Recollection offers a more than satisfying journey.