Title: Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment
Developer: Namco Bandai
Language: English (subs) Japanese audio
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Format: PS Vita
Type: PSN Download
Genre: Shounen, Adventure, Fantasy, Harem
“I’m sorry, but I have a request.”
“What is it?”
“I don’t plan on losing. But if I die here, I want you to make sure that Asuna can’t kill herself, even for a little while.”
This isn’t a duel… We’re fighting to kill. That’s right. I’m going to kill him!
Hollow Fragment starts at the point where Kirito and Heathcliff were fighting against each other to the death. The plot splits from the canon storyline at this point: as Heathcliff moved to finish off Kirito, a huge glitch virus in the SAO Server occurred and interrupted them, preventing Heathcliff from moving and allowing Kirito to defeat him. However, Kirito and his friends realized that the SAO server was still keeping them in the game for some reason, preventing them from logging out.
The whole point of this post is to give you guys a warning against this game. In short, don’t buy it; yet. I’ll do a full review next week some point when I’ve spent a lot more time on the game. However right now, after 8hours or so of game time i have to say this game is bad with a capital B.
So, when it comes to J-RPG’s I’m very forgiving, takes a lot for me to cringe and say a game isn’t worth buying. Right now though i have to admit this may be the first one i say it to.
So, what’s wrong with the game?
Lets start with the way it’s release was handled, very quietly, and digital only. Very little advertising was done for game, and i only got to know about it after a friend found out about it on the interwebs. That immediately has me worried, as does the digital only release, which tells me the publisher is worried the game won’t sell enough to justify the cost of the media. And finally we have the way it just pops up on the PSN store, again with no notice and no pre-order. Then of course you have the rather lacklustre PSN store page:
These are usually covered in video and screenshots, this time around we have 2 images showing nothing at all! way to inspire trust guys!!
All of that together tells me that this is a risky gamble, yet those that got given preview copies were all singing it’s praises, practically giving it perfect scores. What’s more these weren’t the garbage review sites like IGN, but rather independent reviewers. So once Q (who i now hate!) pointed out it was out it was an instant buy, and an expensive buy at that. I like Amazon for my vita games since they usually range from £19.99 to £29.99, the later being rarely, the average is around £25. However as this was a PSN store only release i had to bite the bullet and pay the full price of £32.99 which i personally find over priced.
Now we get to the game itself. The translation in this game is beyond disgusting, but at the same time it’s clear what they did. They did a direct translation of the text and left it at that, however as anyone knows this leads to engrish. Over the course of the 8hours I’ve played I’ve seen the worst of the worst when it comes to engrish. But what i found really unforgivable, purely because it was the easiest to spot, was the naming inconsistencies, the biggest being Lisabeth, who goes from ‘Lis’ to ‘Liz’ in the space of a sentence.
This compounds a further a problem, a very weak sauce tutorial. It tells you what to do, but it fails to tell you HOW to do it. In some cases it’s for key elements of the game play, which leaves the player floundering around. The UI is confusing as well because the tutorial at times just doesn’t make sense.
I won’t go into gameplay right now, I’ll leave that for my full review, however i have to stress, if you’re interested in this game and considering buying, please wait till i do my full review, since as it stands now i have to say the game is no where near worth buying and there are higher quality JRPG’s on the PSN Sore that are significantly cheaper.