Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization

Game review by
Marc Saltzman, Common Sense Media
Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization Game Poster Image
Average role-playing game for fans only.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

While cooperating with friends is a big part of play, heavy focus on combat keeps positive message small.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Little known about your character, "party" of friends who travel together. They feel like they're noble eliminating threats, but they kill thousands of creatures.

Ease of Play

Simple controls; easy to learn.

Violence

Combat primary game mechanic; players use swords, maces, magic attacks to take down enemies, who often cry out in pain. No blood, gore; creatures disappear when defeated.

Sex

Very short skirts worn by some female characters, and some wear outfits revealing large amounts of cleavage. A non-interactive scene shows a partially nude female character in the bath with her breasts, genitalia covered by bubbles.

Language

Mild profanity, including "ass," "damn," "bastard."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

After being light-headed after a bath, your character says, "Somehow I think she's drunk on alcoholic drinks." Some dialogue alludes to consuming, abusing "digital drugs," effects of drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization is an action role-playing game. It has a heavy focus on violence, as players use swords, spears, and magic attacks to kill thousands of creatures. There's no blood or gore shown, but they often shout out in pain before disappearing. Female characters are often dressed provocatively, including wearing short skirts and showing cleavage. One scene has a woman naked in a bath with bubbles covering her private parts. The game also makes references to drug addiction and has some mild profanity.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byJsivaches March 27, 2017

Lost song is better.

If you have a choice ; get lost song. This game isn't bad but it's not that good either. My chief problem are the sidequest; if it's not on the q... Continue reading

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What's it about?

SWORD ART ONLINE: HOLLOW REALIZATION is an action-heavy role-playing game. The game begins with the human character Kirito receiving a cryptic message ("I'm back to Aincrad"), forcing him to dive into the very same world where he was once imprisoned. Kirito and his friends take part in a virtual reality-based MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) called Sword Art: Origin to discover the meaning behind the message, find and help old friends, and take on a new threat by teaming up and exploring this vast digital kingdom. Fans of Sword Art Online will see many familiar faces including Asuna, Leafa, Silica, and Klein, to name a few. Much of the mission-based objectives include fighting enemies big and small, using various melee and range weapons. You'll collect items, solve some puzzles, interact with townsfolk, and increase in strength and abilities over time. The game can be played by yourself or online with other PS4 players.

Is it any good?

If you're a fan of this franchise, you'll no doubt appreciate the familiar story, characters, and locations, but repetition and boredom will keep many players away. Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization is very faithful in its look, dialogue, and atmosphere to the anime and manga series. There's a ton of content here -- comprising many dozens of hours of gameplay by yourself or online with other players -- and the controls and gameplay are accessible, even for newbie players. While you might think the real-time battle system is mere button-mashing, you'll soon pick up on subtle tactics and strategies to help you take down bigger foes as a team. The artificial intelligence (or AI) of the computer-controlled players is quite smart and will prompt you to switch places during combat. You can also instruct your AI party to perform tasks such as healing and retreating, and they'll comply. Some battles against boss characters can take upward of 15 to 20 minutes to complete. 

But the game has its issues, too, such as repetition -- you might get a sense of "rinse and repeat" actions after a few hours of continuous play. More variety in the missions would've been ideal. Plus, you can't skip out of lengthy dialogue sequences, and there are plenty of those. Certainly, those who love the Sword Art Online fiction will eat this up, but it can get pretty boring and seemingly unrelated to the bigger story. All things considered, Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization is a good but not great role-playing game. Still, there aren't many other PS4 games like it, so it certainly fills a gap -- especially for fans of the franchise, but they're probably the only ones who will gravitate toward it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about gender stereotypes in Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization. How are women portrayed? Who decided how the women would be portrayed? Is it OK if the women look very young in the game and are dressed suggestively if it's considered part of Japanese culture?

  • How is violence portrayed in Sword Art Online? Is it essential to the story? Why, or why not? 

Game details

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