Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization Image
Metascore
56

Mixed or average reviews - based on 6 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 15 Ratings

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 6
  2. Negative: 1 out of 6
  1. 70
    While the combat is well designed and the worlds feels more expansive and alive than ever, the pacing with the story and overabundance of dialogue prevent Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization from taking the series to the next level.
  2. 70
    Experience the game with the mindset of wanting to get lost in a virtual world, though, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by Hollow Realization’s hidden charms.
  3. Dec 12, 2016
    58
    Hollow Realisation is a game that is very much nearly there; if the main storyline had higher stakes, more interesting quests & events and gameplay that didn't get stale after a few hours, it could very easily have been fantastic.
  4. Dec 19, 2016
    50
    To the game's credit, it retained one of the things that set Long Song apart: the combat. True, thee's a lot less flying involved, but much like the games before it, Hollow Realization is good at making fighting enemies nice and satisfying...It's just too bad that the same can't be said for anything else here. The first two games in the Sword Art Online franchise showed promise and then delivered, respectively. It's a shame that it's hard to view Hollow Realization as anything but a giant step backwards.
  5. Nov 16, 2016
    50
    Convoluted and grind-focused, Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization will alienate newcomers and potentially bore old fans.
  6. Feb 2, 2017
    40
    As a stand-alone product, Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization has very little to recommend it. Gameplay is decent enough to hold interest, but better versions of every aspect can be readily found elsewhere. Even for ardent fans of the series, it's highly debatable whether the game is worth the time. Hollow Realization shows no progress for a series that appears to be relying solely on its base franchise for sales.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 1 out of 4
  1. Jun 11, 2017
    10
    LOVE IT!!! Awesome game in it's own context, especially with the latest update. Like it more than Hollow Fragment. Never tried SAO Lost song,LOVE IT!!! Awesome game in it's own context, especially with the latest update. Like it more than Hollow Fragment. Never tried SAO Lost song, but don't care. Every game it's not for everyone. But if you think you will like it, get it, because you might enjoy quite a lot. It's sad that this game has received such bad rep on youtube and other online places. Expand
  2. Mar 12, 2017
    9
    It has a decent main-story, but side-story is cringy as **** which is a trademark in any SAO merchandise. Battle System is one of the mostIt has a decent main-story, but side-story is cringy as **** which is a trademark in any SAO merchandise. Battle System is one of the most advanced one where you don't just spams button, but you need to actually time it well. It takes time to get used to create a chain-combo, but once you got it, it's not really hard.

    AI used to be sucks hard, but after the patch, they now has a better survivability.
    If you're the type to complete the game 100%-ly, it might take a while to grind material to get the best weapon, but you don't really need it actually.

    And thanks to the latest patch, now there's more harder dungeon to explore, with a bit different quest-system than the main story. It's really good.

    Personally, I'd like to give it a score of 8 due to its cringey side-story, but I liked the battle system more than any other vita games, so I'll cut it some slack.
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  3. Nov 11, 2016
    8
    Having played it for over 10 hours its great. Its much better compared to Lost Songs/ Hollow Fragment. Those combats are very dull andHaving played it for over 10 hours its great. Its much better compared to Lost Songs/ Hollow Fragment. Those combats are very dull and repetitive. This one has more options and options aren't as limited as the other two. The preorder bonus only gave me god eater outfits/ night wear, i sent an Email to Bandai. and just recently they are giving it away to ppl for free on their main website and i got the asuna maid outfit!

    The best thing about the game is that you no longer start at OP level. you start at level 1 and the game is really challenging. I've died several times so far, and i thought the game will make you die in real life but i guess its not like that. the game is definitely worth a try if you have plenty of free time.

    it is kind of grindy but i guess that goes to all rpg games. but again remember this game is for those who loves SAO. I hated the fairy part myself and only liked the first Aincrad Art. and the story follows on SAO-Origin. so yes if you don't like SAO unfortunately i highly doubt you will like the game. but for those who like SAO im sure they will like it.
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  4. Nov 27, 2016
    2
    Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization feels like a step back from Lost Song. The game has a nice tutorial to teach you the basic of the games,Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization feels like a step back from Lost Song. The game has a nice tutorial to teach you the basic of the games, but it is extremely frustrating. It also doesn't help that most of the game is focused around the main story. There are only a few generic killing and item collecting quests. A lot of the quests that the characters mention just play out in scenes with three or so of them having actual playable battles.

    The first major problem of the game is that every enemy you face has super armor. This means they do not respond or flinch to any of your attacks. The only way to cancel it is to use the "Switch" mechanic that is available once every 20 seconds. This only works about half the time late game and it isn't guaranteed to work. The biggest problem comes from the duel with Genesis. It consists of a battle where you as one player has to deal with an insanely buffed, immune to everything boss with four life bars. He also has a ten second stun that is almost a one hit kill (his follow up makes it a guaranteed instant kill unless you are very over leveled). Ironically, even the normal humanoid enemies use this insane AI and just spam sword skills non stop though at a lower speed.

    The second problem is that the AI is extremely stupid. They rarely trigger sword skill combos on their own. They barely attack on their own and they do not even dodge on their own. If they encounter any obstacles, such as tree branches or rocks, they get stuck running against it because they can never get into position to trigger the skill chain. Changing your allies to tank or healer doesn't do very much. When you ask an AI to draw agro, ALL of them will provoke the enemy, not the designated tank and often, one of the characters that does this is a healer. You will need to rely on Switch to change agro. Even Lost Song's was much better than this.

    There are a lot of frustrating mechanics in this game. Sword skills longer than four hits and even some three hit skills are useless because of how easy you are knocked out of them. Longer skill chains, such as everything from the Celestial Blades (Dual Wield) skill chain is basically impractical because of it. The most useful skills are the ones you get early on that are two hits, like Horizontal Slash because of how quickly it activates. You have to order them to dodge AoE attacks and they sometimes only dodge backwards rather than sideways, leaving them still in the hit box. Asking AI to heal will make them use a heal item on themselves, even if they are a healer class. In the end, all your allies only serve as meatshields and setup for your skill chain so that you can trigger Infinity Moment to cause noticeable damage to bosses.

    The game also has massive frame rate issues and even crashed on me twice in about eighteen hours. The opening of every major boss battle is waiting for the other underleveled NPCs to die and despawn in a few hits so that your frame rate becomes just tolerable.

    The map is also very inconsistent and hard to notice. There are small blue or green marks on the map that sometimes mark objectives. You can open them up to zoom in further by touching it, but it is still hard to notice. Some story objectives require you to enter and exit an area multiple times until the special event monsters you need spawns. Some zone changes are marked with white lines, but there are others that are not.

    The enemies of the game only come in about six varieties, not counting floor bosses. The main ones you need to deal with are the named monsters because you need to hunt them for weapons (field bosses) and armor (floor bosses). Some field bosses are just supersized versions of normal enemies. Others are the exact same model. The most annoying of these enemies are the jellyfish. They can literally freeze you, then not touch you at all, forcing you to wait a minute to unfreeze because your allies cannot be bothered to heal you (this was not a problem in Lost Song funny enough).

    There are also other problems. The DLC for the game in the launch bundle did not work. NPCs can draw hate from a boss then run, resetting its HP and force you to start over. Damage is dependent mostly on levels rather than equipment or even personal stats. You literally have to sit there and press guard (not hold) for over an hour to unlock the Righteous Cross (Heathcliff's EX skill). Money is practically useless for anything other than upgrading equipment and even then, you have to farm the items, which is harder to get than money.

    Overall, Hollow Realization feels like a step back from Lost Song. The only positive thing is the online play, which fixes a lot of these problems. Too bad you have to play story mode first to unlock the areas and has severe frame rate issues with six characters on screen unless you have the PS4 version.
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