Sword Art Online: Last Recollection

Sword Art Online: Last Recollection

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Sword Art Online Last Recollection

Sword Art Online is a bit of a monster of a series, starting out as Manga before spinning off into everything from an Anime series to even a live-action series.  So, to say it has a big fan base is a bit of an understatement.  Of course, with such a winning property it was only a matter of time ’til video games joined the party way back in 2013 and over the years there have been a good few across a number of systems, with the latest being Sword Art Online: Last Recollection which aims to wrap up any loose ends left over from the past title Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris, while seeing most of the Sword Art Online cast coming together for an epic final show down in the underworld.

Right off the bat this is very much a traditional JRPG offering compared to the past title, favouring a more linear level design with most exploring held back till the later game.  With Sword Art Online: Last Recollection following on from the events of Alicization Lycoris, the tale picks up right where it ended, though it does have an original campaign of its own as well with our hero, Kirito, and his new friends facing a new challenge.  A dark knight called Dorothy has entered the human realm and is attempting to broker peace between the Dark Territory and the Human Realm.  To get there Kirito and co. must join forces with Dorothy to convince the Ten Lords of Underworld to end the war once and for all.  It’s a strong tale which sees Dorothy grow as a character over your time with her, as her insecurities about being a leader come under the spotlight; this arc is a welcome one, as the past game’s similar tale was handled mostly in DLC (which wasn’t a great choice).  This campaign is very streamlined and will clock in at about 20 hours to complete, though the story doesn’t truly kick in until about the half way mark.  Although it may be too streamlined at times as exploring areas is often not an option.

Outside the main tale there are side quests to take on, but they are often simple affairs of find this or kill that; they never really feel like epic undertakings.  Combat is however maybe the best it has been in a Sword Art Online title, seeing you and your party of heroes of which there are tonnes to unlock from across the series, including the likes of Asuna, Leafa, Sinon, Bercouli and Tia to name but a few – who must face off against an ever growing mix of monsters, nasties and a few epic boss battles to boot.  There is a real MMO vibe to combat at times with it feeling like button mashing, yet after a few upgrades you start to build your combos with your party members and attacks get evermore epic and flashier as you grow.  There are also ways to break enemy attacks and time dodging just right and you’ll even slow time down to unleash even more attacks.  It’s a satisfying system that has depth to it, that will suck you in as you level up and start adding elemental effects to attacks, all while tweaking your party to best complement your attacks.

Visually it can be rough at times and even dated in some respects with some major pop-in in some locations.  Whereas other locations are just dull and flat looking, as you fight from caves to more caves.  Sound-wise its overall of a good standard: from the soundtrack, to the voice acting which is fully Japanese.  Though there were more than a few moments where scenes were left silent, even though they feel like key emotionally driven points.  Sword Art Online: Last Recollection tries to be everything to everyone in ways; it has improved in areas from the past title, but in others it’s a bit rough.  That said odds are high those picking this up are already sold on the Sword Art Online series.  The real payoff though is how the overall tale and its main threads are tied up, with hopes of an epic memorable climax to the series, as well as the draw of a new campaign to get stuck into.

An Xbox review copy of Sword Art Online: Last Recollection was provided by Bandai Namco’s PR team, and the game out now on Xbox, PlayStation and PC for around £60.

The Verdict


The Good: Amount of playable characters | Combat | Episode quests

The Bad: Bland environments | Visual issues | Tale can be a bit stop-start

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Stuart Cullen

Scotland’s very own thorn in the side of the London gaming scene bringing all the hottest action straight from The Sun… well… The Scottish Sun at least, every week!

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