Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment (PS Vita review)

sword-art-online-hollow-fragment_2014_06-10-14_008-jpg_600

It’s definitely nice to see more video games based off of anime series being localized in the West, especially for popular anime series like Sword Art Online. Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment is designed for fans who know the story as well as the characters and continues off where the first arc should have ended — on the 75th floor of Aincrad, where Kirito defeated Kayaba Akihiko’s avatar Heathcliff.

Spoilers if you haven’t seen the series.

During the fight a glitch seemed to have changed the rules of the game. Rather than freeing everyone from the game of death known as SAO, the players arrive on floor 76 where many things have gone wrong. Weapons and items have been corrupted, characters skills have been lost and players who enter floor 76 can no longer return to any of the floors below. Now all the players in SAO must reach floor 100 to finally escape and return to the real world.

Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment features an optional dungeon called Hollow Fragment, which is an isolated area only Kirito and a partner can enter. There he finds a mysterious girl named Philia who can’t leave the area. The area has its own story and can be played at anytime.

Sword-Art-Online-Hollow-Fragment-Player-Screen

After starting the game you have the option of playing as Kirito’s avatar or creating your own. Since I actually like Kirito I decided to stick with the default settings. You can change his looks and voice. Make sure you like your character, since the game uses only one save file and auto saves every time you return to town or head into a new area.

sword-art-online-hollow-fragment-artwork-1

Partners play a big role in the game. Kirito (or whatever your character’s name is) can call on the help of all his friends from the series including Leafa and Sinon. Kirito begins at level 100 while all the others range from level 50 and above which you can select anytime in town. While he has a couple of guys on his friends list, the majority of them are females who all like him (lucky guy). Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment also features a dating simulator and lets you pick what girl you get closer to. Even though Kirito is married to Asuna and is the father of Yui, he can be a playboy.

sword-art-online-hollow-fragment-trailer_imagenGrande2

You control Kirito while your partner is AI controlled. You can freely move around, attack, parry, and stun enemies and dash while holding the Left and Right triggers to access character skills. The control pad gives commands to your partner in battle. Your partner will also give you commands in battle; performing them correctly can improve your combos. Your attacks and skills are limited by your burst and SP. Activating your partner’s commands will give you high damaging combos.

A problem the game has is the item menu during battle. You have to enter your menu and go to items and select your items. It’s great before battle and allows you to boost up your strength, defense and speed, but when running low on health (unless you switch), it is open season on you.

sword-art-online-hollow-fragment-screenshot-01

The main game of SAO is pretty straight forward; you reach a floor and the goal is to defeat the floor boss. Hollow Fragment, however, is a different game where the world is open to explore as you please, but it does make things challenging by putting stronger foes in front of you all the time, requiring you to level up.

The game’s got a nice mix of 3D gameplay and 2D cutscenes. It’s targeted towards fans, since since there is a lot of story to follow from the anime, but if you’re a fan of Japanese MMOs, then definitely give this a try. (The game simulates an MMO feel.)

Rating: 4.5/5 Atoms

NR 4_5 Atoms - A-

Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment
Developer: Bandai Namco Games
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
System: PlayStation Vita
Price: $39.99 via the PlayStation Store
AvailableNow

Facebook Comments

About author

Chris Del Castillo
Chris Del Castillo 2588 posts

Growing up Chris watched a lot of the original Saturday morning cartoons and developed a love for arts and animation. Growing up he tried his hand at animation and eventually script writing, but even more his love of video games, anime and technology grew.

View all posts by this author →