Game Review - Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization – Deluxe Edition on PC

Written by 420 on August 30, 2018 @ 5:37 pm

Taken from my Steam profile:

Review based on my mindset after playing 74h, without rushing the Main-story (basic game finished at 50h, DLC 1 with all its Dungeons at 65h) , seeing some Side-story , testing the affection-system and fighting Raidbosses a few times.

+ / positive / things i like
*Character Creation - Create your own Avatar
Solid design variety
Eyes in different colours (optional)
Hairstyles from Asuna , Leafa , Silica , Sinon , Yuuki - but you can't change color for these ones
(You can see that the characters are mostly defined by their hairstyle/color +- Boobies)
*Character Edit anytime in your room with all settings like in the beginning, even gender / name

*Short nice Story Recap for Aincrad and Alfheim (optional)
*VN-Style Cutscenes , fully voiced, skipable , hideable text (hold RB)
*Main Story so far interesting but not mind-blowing, you should like the SAO-World / VR Theme
*Loads of Sidestorys / Events
*Few Dialogues even made me smile

*Most parts of EQ are visible/ Outfits can be worn over it
*A Tailor to change the outfit of NPC , even a few shop-NPC (all friends)
*Monsters / Avatars looking pretty neat
*Solid Monster / Avatar variety
*Map-design looks good
*Texture / Animations look great (for a Port)
*Beautiful Sky / Background
*Visuals for status effects
*Visuals when casting de/buffs/heal - simple but ok
*Nice SAO-disappaering / shattering Effect
*HUD looks like FF XIV
*Fully customizable pallets / sets / skill-item-command Assignments
*Seperated pallet-assignments for every weapon type, so no need for rearranging
*Pretty fluent menu navigation / world is still active and you can move

*BGM is awesome
*Fully adjustable volume for BGM, BGM-Voice-over, Voice, Effects, Effects-Voice-over
*Japanese voice (-only)

Combat is fluent / smooth, fast paced, profounded and just awesome, including:
9 Weapon types
Combo Attack, Sword Skills, buffs / debuffs, heals, potions
Combo Attacks can end in a Sword Skill of your choice
AP based Sword-Skills (no cooldown)
Team Skill-Connect / Combo Attack
Status-Effects like Paralysis, Bleeding ,.

*Raid / Boss / Big Mobs fights are memorable fun:
Choice of Solo - 2 - 3 groups - Full Raid with random MMO-groups or Solo-MP-Raid with 7 NPC
First time (in the story) preperation talk about the Raid-Boss like a strategy
Learnable Attack Patterns
Can last pretty long
First Raid Boss
Weakpoints / destroyable parts for Raidbosses and some Field-Bosses and big Mobs
*Satisfying Amount of Mob and Boss Spawns + good distribution over the map

*Online Coop + Item Trade
*PVP - Ranking earns perma buffs

*Party with up to 3 (SP) or 7 NPC in solo MP lobby
*Nice control of what your party is doing
*Roles / EX-Skills for the NPC, only 1 active / switchable
*Random MMO-NPC groups outside on the field fighting monsters / bosses (voluantary tanking them for you) or stealing your mobs
*Their Partys joins you with Names and LP showing up above yours while fighting and they hear on your commands like your party. Up to 3x4 NPC groups

*Skillsystem is great :
Sword Skills - working only for the specific weapon type
De-/buffs / Heals are spread out trough the whole skill trees, you can combine them all
5 Roles / 5 EX-Skills = a group of skills designated to eg. healer, tank, as a seperate skilltree
Hidden Roles / EX-Skills for every Weapon type - unlocked by certain requirements
Only 1 active / switchable
*Weapon Skill-Level / Mastery as requirement for Sword Skills
*Sword Skills getting better by using them

*Huge field maps to explore - don't feel stretched for me
*Dungeons + 1000 floor Dungeon
*Field Quests (eg. Kill x of x)
*Extreme amount of Board-Quests (gathering, killing)
*Flavor / Event Text for Bosses and Field Quest (1-2 sentences)

*Good Mini-map options
*Glossar of the available monsters in an area
*Fast Travel to all city-areas and teleport stones from anywhere
*Connected Map-Areas you can teleport to (once activated local) or going from start to end

*Day-Night-Cycle - Events in the city are coupled to this
*Weather: dry, rainy, stormy
*Overall movement speed in the city and field is sufficent
*Overall nice MMO-feeling

*1 big City - seperated into 4 areas
*Enviroments looks great
*Many Players (NPC) like you would expect in a real MMORPG
*Dialogue with every single NPC (of course many short ones / unneccessary)

*Random MMO-players you can talk to, get befriended with and take them on your journey outside
*Gifting Equip to your NPC-friends
*Friendship / Romance system for maaaaany NPC - you can also be naughty - hold hands, carry your Waifu around the city towards your room for final pillow-talk
(you know SAO is a harem-simulator)
*Emotion / Mood System - they will react differently in battles and dialogues according to their mood
*Dating Spots like sitting at the caf? for intense-friendship / romance dialogues where you can react in different ways to influence it
*Date-Buffs after a succesful date to bring sheer manpower to the battleground
*Dinner-Date-Buffs for very close friends, can do a special attack together with you then

*Intelligent KI who is learning to fight in a way you like, influenced by:
Choosing the Traits and give them a thumbs up and in battles you can
treating them like a Pet and praise them when they behave in a certain manner (its also indicated) - so that they slowly begin to behave more often like the trait - they will even blush about it
Every trait-value is counted together for a rank, which determines the reaction speed
Change how often or even if a specific skill shall be used (in the EX-Skill menu)
Changing the mood (they tend do fight different)
*You can reset this or wait for new traits if you don't like the actual ones

*Different Blacksmiths you can you choose later on ( would YOU betray Liz'? )
*Loot - Material - Upgrade System
*Monster Drops
*Treasure Chests guarded by Bosses or groups of Mobs
*Random pick-up loot

*1st Person view - its confusing in fights but nice for seightseeing / exploring
*Nice ingame control of the camera (also zoom)
*Battle-log / chat hideable

*Login where you Logout, no need to go to the city to save

*Location of the NPC you want to see is visible
*Tutorial can be seen again anytime - quite extensively
*Nice overview of avaible events

*All DLC included + Season pass (more dlcs?)

*Feel like Ainz Ooal Gown when casting up to ~60+ buffs and ending up with 100+ buffs with passives

o / neutral / acceptable for me
*Controller don't work without a (simple) fix

*Can't respec / reset skill points - you're able to skill everything though, if you grind enough

*No Dialogue-Backlog in VN-Scenes
*No Auto-Text option
*Forced amount of VN-Scenes in the beginning when you just want to fight

*No wound animation like in the show
*UI / Screen can be a bit overloaded when char speech bubbles appearing in the top corners while fighting + skill effects + loot msg

*Kirito's voice only in VN (can be turned off), any female (Sinon) voice would been nice *Imagination*

*Loading Screens about 5-12 sec even with SSD - its ok but:
4 Seperated City Areas - like in DB:Xenoverse only 1 is loaded and you change by passing a line
also big seperated field-areas - but its nitpicking
*Animation length for opening Treasure Chest could be annoying over time

*No Option or emergency button to make the game pause when opening menu - I like it this way but sometimes its just convenient for the reallife to pause immediatly

- / negative / things I dislike
for me there's no real negative things, although few points from above could disturb you more than me (or less)

= / my 2 cents
Worth the full price due great amount of content and Waifus


can possible freeze when alt-tabbing
Max Settings stable 60 FPS


R280x with Accelero Xtreme IV
Xeon E3-1231 v3 @3.40GHz
16 GB DDR3-1600
Win 7 64-bit
Xbox Wired Controll

Gameplay Rating: 9
Story Rating: 7
Graphics & Visuals Rating: 7
Sound Rating: 8
Overall Rating: 8


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Game Information

Bandai Namco Entertainment
NA Release Date
October 27, 2017
ESRB Rating
MVGL User Score
Kengo Tokusashi
Official Website
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