Good News, Everyone!
I am in fact alive despite my lack of blogging. Main reasons being… well this game I am reviewing, Path of Exile, and the very few shows I am keeping up with not feeling all that different week to week to give me a good reason to blog about them.
Also there were some familial issues to deal with, getting my sister’s bus schedule for school all set up (which is honestly still messed up), and realizing all my time spent at home playing games and eating junk food has obviously affected my fat butt because I had to go buy a whole new damn wardrobe practically.
Anyway! I am gonna attempt to do my best reviewing this game I have spent a good 80 hours in now.
So starting out with the story of SAO: HF it takes place on an alternate timeline of the SAO anime story. Where instead of winning the fight against Heathcliff on floor 75 in the game there is instead a system error that causes the game to glitch during that moment. Heathcliff disappears and the players have no other choice but to continue on with the game as nothing appears to change for them immediately after his disappearance. Upon arriving on the next floor they run into Leafa who was forced from ALO into SAO and when they all arrive to the city another glitch happens and Sinon appears unconscious falling from the sky.
Basically because Kirito can’t do anything without his entire harem around. Not mention the game adds a few extra harem followers all for him… but I will get to that later.
Putting Kirito’s harem aside though. The players begin to realize some more bugs as they progress. Early on it was things like their items data was corrupt and they could not return to lower levels. Later things like the game becoming unstable changing the parameters of fights and destroying certain areas begin happening.
Along with all of this one time while exploring a dungeon Kirito is force teleported somewhere and runs into another player, Philia, and after doing some things with her he finds out he is in a closed off area called the Hollow Area. The area is significantly higher level than Aincrad and offers plenty of unique and strong weapons and armor and it is found out later that it was meant to be a closed off testing area to test whether certain enemies and events could work in Aincrad without breaking anything.
Now I won’t go into great detail on the story because I believe in the whole “tease you now, play it later” sort of thing. But as a story involving the convoluted characters of the SAO universe (sorry for the fans but I can’t stand Kirito nor Asuna… and only a few really garner any sort of liking from me… most are just… meh) goes I thought it was actually good. It also kind of fills in that request some people get after certain shows of “What if _______ happened?” this case being the “What if they didn’t escape after Heathcliff?”.
Combat in SAO: HF is not entirely complicated, but it also isn’t the simple ‘Hit O x amount of times’ type of games I remember from the last time I had a Playstation. It also takes its roots from the JRPG side of things. Having a fair amount of talking and cutscenes throughout the game itself. Though luckily not as much as some games out there having usually a good chunk of its cutscenes at the beginning or end of the floors leaving everything in between up to you and fighting.
In combat you are given fairly free reign over what you can do. Having some basic things set up on your four main buttons such as Parry, Stun, Quick Attack, and Dodge. Then you also have L1 and R1 set up with 8 more slots total for skills. These skills are quite varied in their buffs or debuffs and attacks mattering which weapons you are currently equipped with.
As for weapons even though you do play titular character Kirito you are not forced to be Mr. Dual Wield himself and can branch out to use Two Handed Swords or Axes, Katanas, Clubs, Daggers, or even Sword and Shield.
Another intricate part of the game and its combat is the use of partners, where you take one of the heroines or countless other players, and fight through the dungeons and floors. This being an intricate part because every once in awhile your partner will yell out a suggestion for you, such as stunning, switching places with them, or using a sword skill, which they in turn with do something themselves and increase their affinity with you if done successfully.
This where a bulk of what is to be done in the game resides.
From a good side quest or 3 per floor to do as well as events involving each of the heroines per floor we honestly are just scratching the surface even when we talk about all 25 floors. This is because of the Hollow Area.
The Hollow Area, besides having its own story line, also includes what is called the implement system. This system involves you doing a set number of actions or tasks during Hollow Missions, which are random area events in the Hollow Area, and your rewards range from unique and strong looking weapons up to unique and powerful skills. Some of these missions are simple “Kill ### of mobs during missions.” while others are more complicated or take awhile to accomplish like taking 800 thousand damage or debuff enemies with one ability on a long cooldown ### amount of times.
Why this takes a good bulk of what is to be done in the game is because it is almost required to successfully live. While the levels in SAO are almost superficial they are still a decent enough indicator. Yes I was level 133 and thanks to my luck with RNG had a great weapon so I was able to fight through 150-165 enemies. But for those who don’t end up with an amazing weapon like I had they would probably have to get closer to that 150 enemy than I had to level wise as to not take forever and a half fighting it.
After all of that is of course the achievements for the Platinum Hunters as I like to call them. Which for this game is a good world of grinding working up your affinity with each potential main partner in order to get lovely CG scenes like the one above. As well as getting yourself up to level 200. Which given I put in over 80 hours and only made it to 133 is obviously another good ol’ grind.
So wrapping up this probably poor review I will say a few things I suppose.
- I find the PS4 version vastly superior to the Vita version. Both in translation and just gameplay. I have played both but the Vita only lasted a few weeks before frustration kicked in on it.
- Asuna is crap.
- Personally while I do love some of the SAO characters… it is actually just that game world I am really interested in. What I would have loved seeing somehow is a game that takes place in Aincrad, include ALO, GGO, and the Hollow Area too for the hell of it, but you play your own character from the first floor, level 1, everything like that. Then work your way up through the 100 floors alongside Kirito and the others.
- I love Sinon.
- Combat in the game is not too convoluted for my pea sized brain. But not so simple that I got bored after the 10th fight.
- Totally admitting it. I think Silica is cute. FIGHT ME BRO!
That is about it I suppose… though I guess I should give it some sort of score, which I shall give it the score of 7 out of 10.
The negatives to the score being:
-1 for simple tediousness. It can be very tedious after awhile clearing those floors. Because they are easy to do with little reward gear wise.
-1 for confusion. This mainly applies to some heroine events and implementation. Partially due to just bad translations but it is hard sometimes to understand what does what and where what is on many things.
-1 for crap canon relationship with Asuna. Yeah I am that salty over Asuna.