Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment (PS Vita) Review

By Drew Hurley 27.10.2014

Review for Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment on PS Vita

Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment is a JRPG with simulated MMO elements mixed up with a classic Japanese visual novel style game. It contains the original PSP game Infinity Moment and the new Hollow Fragment world, allowing users to seamlessly switch and progress through each as they see fit. There is a ton of content here, a mass amount of side-quests, customisation and rep grinds to allow hundreds of hours of playtime.

For those unfamiliar with the anime/manga/visual novel of Sword Art Online, the story is based around a virtual reality MMO that thousands of players get stuck in, unable to log out while their bodies atrophy in the real world. Death in the game means death in the real world and the only way to escape is to clear the game.

The title is played from the perspective of the protagonist of the series, Kirito, and acts as an alternate version of events - where the story ended originally in the anime, a glitch now causes the players to have to progress further. That's the story of Infinity Moment.

Then there's also the plotline of the Hollow Fragment - a secret area within the game Kirito stumbles upon, and holds some new inhabitants within to build relationships with.

The combat system is surprisingly deep and allows for a fantastic amount of customisation. There are 10 different types of weapons to level up proficiencies with, and each has numerous special moves that can be mapped to the face keys. Teaming up with a partner NPC character also allows the ability to issue commands to that NPC, along with praising them for certain action types to customise their fighting style.

Screenshot for Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment on PS Vita

On top of the very large single-player game, there is also a multiplayer system. Unfortunately, it is ad-hoc only, which is a shame. This multiplayer system allows up to four players in a party, and all four players can bring along an NPC partner, resulting in teams of up to eight characters. Considering the first three quarters of the game are fairly easy with teams of two, any larger makes it a cakewalk and the challenging bosses become little problem.

Fans of the series will adore this game; it's full of fan service and "fan service," and includes characters from the future of the Sword Art universe.

To a non-fan the fan service may seem very confusing and occasionally off-putting, which is a shame because beneath this is a solid RPG with a great combat system, but it knows its audience and caters exclusively for it in many respects.

The main issue most players will have with this game is its localisation. There is a ridiculous amount of "Engrish" and just intelligible conversation scattered throughout that can be very disconcerting. The translations are very hit and miss; from time to time they are perfectly understandable, but the majority of it is worse than random Google translates. Being asked: "Kirito why when battle do which movements better?" or "How to best attacking when boss?!" can be a little surreal and really breaks Sword Art Online's immersion.

Screenshot for Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment on PS Vita

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment is a must-buy for fans of the series and fans of anime in general. Fans will see beyond the terrible translations and the annoying side-quests to enjoy the experience. It brings them everything they would want and more, expanding on the world and doing it well.

Developer

Bandai Namco

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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