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Parents' Guide to

Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment

By Christy Matte, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Gorgeous RPG marred by complex fighting, too much chatter.

Game PlayStation Vita 2014
Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment Poster Image

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Fans of Sword Art Online will be excited to play in a beautiful rendering of Aincrad and the Sword Art world. The graphics are stunning. Unfortunately, things go downhill from there. Battle mechanics are complex and confusing, a situation that's worsened by the slow release of tutorials for gameplay. Less committed players will be lost before they even have a chance to begin. There's a never-ending stream of dialogue with other players (it can go on for 15 minutes or more at a time, even with quick reading), all of which is poorly translated from the original Japanese and related in subtitles. There are spelling and grammar mistakes, as well as strange uses of punctuation. You might hope that the dialogue would clarify the story line for the uninitiated, but it never quite hits the mark.

The female characters are often scantily clad and, for some reason, besotted with Kirito, the married lead. You'll be encouraged to "date" and flirt with other characters to build up a team with strong morale. It's a tedious addition to the game -- when you choose the "chat" option, you're forced to watch a stream of unintelligible comments from your date and reply on occasion with things such as "Right," "Uh-huh," and so on. The mystery of the plot is somewhat compelling, and it may be that you fall in love with the game once (or, rather, if) you figure out the fighting mechanics, but it's simply too much of an uphill road for the average player to get there.

Game Details

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