Video games based on anime are often frowned upon. You want for a poor quality of adaptation, or for a poor quality of the work from which they are taken, the games of this videogame line are almost always welcomed with a halo of diffidence and little enthusiasm on the part of many videogamers. There are cases, however, in which these poor expectations are founded, but at the same time they can be partially denied thanks to the quality of the work that you find yourself playing. IS Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris is a clear example: the title made by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment and Aquria, available since last July 10, it turns out valid and enjoyable, while presenting some uncertainties and technical gaps.
From the narrative point of view there is very little to tell: Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris retraces the events experienced by Kirito and his companions in the third season of the anime. After an introductory phase in media res which is mainly a tutorial, the game begins with the awakening of Kirito inside Underworld, the main world of a new virtual game, in which the inhabitants, called fluctlight, soon turn out to be more than just NPCs. Kirito must find a way to contact the outside world, apparently unreachable, and at the same time help the new (but perhaps not so much) knowledge EUGEO to find an old childhood friend of hers, Alice, which was taken away years ago by the Knights of Integrity, leading exponents of the authority of the Axiomatic Church. Thus began our adventure within this new game world, between main and secondary quests and even some dungeons.
Fight in style
Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris looks like a classic Action JRPG. So get ready to find parties of freely interchangeable characters, vast areas to explore and enemies of all types and levels to shoot down. In this regard, we start immediately by analyzing the combat system of the game. This is, on balance, the greater value of the title: fast, dynamic, funny, while always remaining intuitive e simple. We can dodge in any direction, parry, effect parry and make nice combos to see, but not only. By pressing specific keys that can be assigned from the menu, it is possible to activate the Sword skill, numerous and which vary according to the type of weapon we are holding. These must be progressively unlocked and enhanced, spending the skill points obtainable by advancing in level. However, using them costs energy bars, which however can be recharged simply by launching normal attacks or dodging enemy shots. To these are added the Passive skills, which provide permanent bonuses as long as they are equipped, and Combat skill, which enhance some parameters of our party thanks to the pressure of the directional arrows to which they must be assigned. We must not forget the Sacred arts: these deadly skills can only be used after the special bar has loaded - fighting against enemies - and consist of or a spectacular finisher, or in the possibility of slowing down time and using the aforementioned Sword Skills at no cost. Really very wide and varied possibilities therefore, which make confrontations with enemies a whirlwind of moves, dodges, abilities and counterattacks that together create a joy for the eyes.
The different ones boss fight present, both against the enemies of the main story and against particularly high level creatures scattered throughout the game world, they are exciting, challenging e satisfactory. Finally, to complete the picture, particular combat methods, contained in the Duel mode, unlockable during the main story by fighting certain characters. During the same, we can perform almost all the actions already seen during normal fights, with the addition of Quick time events, which mainly come after a perfectly successful parade.
Progression, Management and Organization always go hand in hand
Another unexpected strength of Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris is represented by a system of progression and organization of the characters well structured e depth. In fact, from the main menu it is possible to change the equipment of Kirito and his companions, but this is not limited only to weapons and skills: if we want, we can also choose their clothing, selecting the clothes among the various items that can be purchased from the NPCs inside the cities. In addition to this, we are able to modify them accessories, which are assigned to weapons, and provide special bonuses These customization possibilities also end up expand considerably once we reach the second chapter: if at the beginning we are in a certain sense "stuck" on the default style of Kirito, once a particular moment of play is reached it is possible customize almost completely his look, actually creating a new character from scratch. Always from this interface it is possible to observe the Expertise that the characters have developed with a particular weapon - using it in combat - which allows you to unlock the additional skills of the same. Furthermore, it is our prerogative to view i main parameters of the characters, divided into main ones such as attack, defense, precision and evasion and secondary ones, such as strength, vitality, dexterity and agility.
In the Skill range you can then choose it style, defined byEX skills to be assigned to the characters. They unlock the group of abilities that define the main characteristics of a character in combat: just to give an example, the EX Attacker Ability makes the character he is equipped with more prone to attack, while that Defender obviously leads him to be more defense-oriented. If you are confused, don't worry: in practice the speech turns out to be much more easy e intuitive than it seems. Then there is a Tree of Skills, in which we can enhance all the abilities mentioned above, suitably distinguished by categories in Sword, Combat and Passive. Finally, there is a section items inside which you can view all the objects collected during the exploration, be they ingredients for cooking, fruits or materials, which may be necessary for the realization of certain objects or which, simply, can be sold.
Area you go, mob you find
The playing area of Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris turns out to be a lot wideas well as freely browsable during the adventure. Just look at the map from the main menu to notice the extension of the game area: the world of the title, on paper, looks like extended and differentiated. Specific on paper because in reality the areas end up being moors yes huge, but at the same time bare of many elements e virtually without any possibility of interaction. Of course, there are some ploy particularly welcome and appreciated as fishing in rivers or the camps scattered in the play area useful for cooking and resting. However, not infrequently we find ourselves wandering from one point to another on the map, realizing that all that stands between us and our goal are mobs and objects to be collected.
In general, this flatness of settings and interactions is also found within cities. It is in fact possible to speak with all the NPCs that we meet within them, but the dialogues are not not developed at all: many of them are limited to one or two words, which among other things are repeated in the dialogues of other NPCs. In short, from this point of view more could be done, or at least - given the few possibilities offered - not implement originally this function. As they say, many times less is more, and this expression has never found as much foundation as in this case.
From a technical point of view, Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris lends itself alongside some weakness. Despite a graphic style in C.el-shading - which theoretically lends itself to more performing results - in reality frame drops are quite frequent and evident. For the most part, this deterioration in performance occurs not only in particularly crowded or complex areas, but also in relatively empty or, in any case, linear ones, such as an expanse or a plain. When it is good then we are on 30 FPS about, but as said these hardly remain stable during game sessions. In addition, you are witnessing quite frequently delays in loading NPC models: more than once it happens to find the mission indicator above a hypothetical character to interact with, which however is not yet present in the game world. Needless to say, this type of inconvenience ends up slowing down and, in any case, do not make it completely enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, models are also added to this list completely static with which not only is it not possible to interact, but that they were not animated in any way: just to give an example, some models of animals present inside the fences in the villages are completely stop e lifeless.
Recommended, but with reservations
Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris is not a game for everyone. As for most of the titles taken from the Japanese animation strand, the technical and artistic side is often sacrificed in favor of the name that the work bears. Of course, it is still an experience validates, to be able to entertain e amuse. It comes by itself that ends up being recommended, in the first instance, to fans of the original anime. And, secondly, to those who intend to launch combos and slashes without too many pretensions. If you are therefore lovers of the adventures of Kirito and companions, you can safely consider the purchase. If, on the other hand, you are looking for an original, innovative or in any case particularly profound game, you would do well to look elsewhere.