6 Star Games, App Games, Game Reviews, Games, Reviews

Sword Art Online: Integral Factor Review

Sword Art Online has always been known for having video games where the plot seems like a bit of a backdrop. Sometimes nothing actually happens until the very end as the characters just hang out and have a lot of fun. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and I have enjoyed the last SAO games to an extent. At the very least the gameplay is always a lot of fun. However, that’s the catch. If the plot isn’t too engaging then you need the gameplay to be top notch and I’m afraid that this one just didn’t quite make it that far. Part of me feels like I needed to give it more of a chance, but considering how long I’ve had the game I think it is just that the gameplay didn’t pop out enough. It could have done better.

The premise of the game is what if Arc 1 happened, but you were around to save everybody. While Kirito is usually known as the hero of this world, what if you were the one actually responsible for saving it? You play as a bland character with no real name who shows up one day. Naturally there is a new heroine as well and since she isn’t used to fighting games like this one she is counting on you to lead the way. So far…that’s really all that’s happened. I made it up to somewhere around the halfway point of episode 1, but the game refuses to progress. The task master keeps sending you into the forests to grab a bunch of plants and potions over and over again. Rather than sending you to get all of them at once he is doing it one at a time. By the 10th trip back and forth you will be wondering what the point of all this was. I just want to go ahead and fight the boss. The current mission I’m on is to grab more plants.

I’m fine with a slow boiling plot but the missions should at least feel slightly relevant. These just don’t make any sense and usually a mobile game should try to suck you in at first. You need to start off with some big events and then tone it down and throw in the filler missions to buy time. This game just didn’t have the balance right and the story is the main reason why I finished so quickly. It just wasn’t even trying.

Then we have the gameplay which fortunately was on point. This part is actually the most impressive bit. The screen adds a little control pad onto it that is actually interactive. Meaning that for once you can actually move around and fight in 3D. The gameplay is the same as your average beat em up which is something that I didn’t really expect to see on the mobile side of things. It’s pretty impressive and that’s the highlight of the game. In terms of pure gameplay it is probably the best mobile game to date. It helps take away the repetitious nature of the game a bit. I have heard that the gameplay gets repetitive though and since there are only 1-2 attacks I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case. Still, at the moment it hadn’t had that affect.

The animation looks really stunning for the main menu, but in game it’s a little less impressive. I’ve heard that the game also diverges a little further from the actual arc as characters like Leafa show up. Essentially think of this as an alternate version of the arc where all of Kirito’s friends from the future also got to appear. That should make clearing the game a whole lot easier right? Unfortunately the game doesn’t really have a soundtrack. Just another element that hurts this game quite a bit.

As with Dragon Ball Legends there are a lot of features here that I don’t really understand but the game doesn’t even try to spell them out for you. It’s like a big mystery, but one that the game doesn’t want to help you out with. I didn’t really try to get into all of that stuff. I figure that I’ll still be strong enough to beat whatever bosses go my way right? The Story Mode is really the only mode to play here, but you can choose to fight the levels with online players helping you out or doing it offline. I’ve heard tat it gets near impossible to do it all solo by the end so we’ll see if that’s true. (If I ever go back)

The campaign seems like it’s quite long and the game has a ton of replay value so you don’t have to worry about a lack of content here. Really, the only issue is whether the game will hold your attention long enough for it to matter. See, mobile games are good for short sessions on the go or when you don’t have time for a normal game. Online Mobile games already destroy the first part and if they are too intricate with long levels than it beats the second one as well. This game is unfortunately in both categories as I believe even when playing solo you need an internet connection. There’s also not much that you can do in a short play through. This game would have ironically been a lot better as a full fledged SAO game. Not to mention that the plot would be perfect for it as well.

Overall, I do applaud how ambitious the game is when it comes to the gameplay. The way it is set up this game could last for quite a while. Still, it just isn’t interesting enough to play when there are so many other options on the field. Perhaps that will change and I still have it downloaded so perhaps I will check it out at some point when I have less games to juggle, but that will be a long ways away. If this sounds like it’s up your ally then check it out, but my recommendation isn’t quite as confident as for most of the other games. This one just isn’t on quite the same level.

Overall 6/10

Manga, Manga Reviews, Reviews

Sword Art Online Fairy Dance Review

The infamous arc has returned as I can now see how it is handled in manga format. That being said, there’s really not much you can do when this is still based off of the same arc that was in the anime. The Asuna subplot still destroys the manga, but either way it was not a solid title. Kirito is still hardcore and one of the more intense protagonists out there, but he can’t hold a whole series.

This arc takes place after Sword Art Online and Asuna never actually made it to the real world. Kirito finds out that her mind has been trapped in another game and he sets off to save her. He has to hurry because it will be too late once the main villain goes through with the wedding. With no time to spare, Kirito must make it to the World Tree and complete this game as soon as possible. To do this, he’ll need the help of his sister, Suguha. Suguha is masquerading as a being named Leafa in the new game and neither one knows the other’s true identity. Drama and tension fill the air as they embark upon the new quest.

Well, this arc basically destroyed the Sword Art Online franchise once it was written into novel format and then adapted into the TV show. Seriously, the author just forgot that the series could have been good and naturally it spilled over into the manga world. The franchise should have ended with the actual Sword Art Online arc, but alas…it didn’t happen. Let’s launch into the various negatives here as it’s a sad read from start to finish.

For starters, the manga thought that it was a good idea to add more emphasis to the fanservice factor in this title. Not a good start. Just about every scene with Suguha has some fanservice in store and naturally the Asuna subplot contains this as well. This guarantees that you will be wincing throughout your reading and we’re just getting started. This is already the sign of a bottom tier title eh? The anime version actually didn’t have too much fanservice for this arc, a few scenes, but not as bad as the manga. I guess we just went from bad to worse.

Another bad subplot is the fact that Kirito’s cousin becomes infatuated with him. The fact that they’re only cousins is supposed to be reassuring, but it’s not as the subplot is still terrible and completely unnecessary. At least Kirito basically just denied Suguha and went to Asuna in the anime, but here he tries to be more open ended about the whole thing. He doesn’t return the feelings at all as Asuna is the only person for him, but he still didn’t just tell Suguha to move on as he should. Either way, it’s just another part of the train wreck.

The biggest problem with the arc though still lies in the Asuna subplot. The villains just go way overboard and it’s too extreme. Asuna is held against her will for quite a while and the main villain is sadistically in love with her money. In the real world, she can’t move so there’s nothing that she can do to stop the arranged marriage and the villain abuses his power in the virtual world. Kirito basically has to watch as the villain messes around with Asuna and that’s when I knew that it was game over for the title. That kind of plot will always be a big no no in any title and the fact that it happened in Sword Art Online is just terrible. It’s the main reason why the franchise is essentially dead to me. I’ll always like the first arc, but you simply can’t wash away a stain like this from the title. Whenever I think of Sword Art Online, I’ll always remember this arc. The main villain isn’t the only one who messes with Asuna as he also has two lackeys who are just as demented.

It’s too bad really since the manga had some promise otherwise. Kirito’s still a hardcore main character and we do get some nice action scenes. Kirito goes up against legions of humanoids in the final battle and he also has a nice fight against the big fire general. He does a lot to save Asuna so he certainly puts in the effort. If we took out the fanservice, the Asuna subplot, and the Suguha subplot, this could have been a really fun series. That being said, you can’t just take those things away as they do comprise a rather large part of the arc and it’s why I have to give this title a fail/10 in the end. It simply couldn’t manage to actually be a good story.

The art is better than the first series for what it’s worth. It’s just not worth all that much since the series was doomed from the start. It’s three volumes long and the final volume is pretty thick so it’s closer to 5-6 volumes in length. The arc doesn’t need to be rushed as a result although a rushed pacing would likely have helped the series in this case as it could have dwelt on the negative things a little less.

There are more characters of course, but not many more and there’s not much to say about them at this point. Suguha is essentially impossible to like and the same goes for the main villain. Asuna doesn’t really get a role at all aside from being a damsel in distress, which is sad. So…yeah, this review’s definitely a short one as are most of my 0 star films. One day, they’ll make a Superman comic/movie/something that will be terrible and thenI may have a long negative review at the ready…or it could still be a short one if it’s just that sad I suppose. Either way, the important thing for these titles is to at least cover the negatives and since the mild positives were evidently not enough, they’re barely worth mentioning.

Overall, if you ever wanted to know how a manga with good fight scenes, good art, and a good main character can end up being terrible, this is the manga to check out. However, I highly advise against checking this manga out. You should avoid it like a Mouse evading a Lion. The positives that the manga has are simply overshadowed and this will certainly go down as one of the worst manga titles out there. At least, from the ones that I’ve read. This rivals Black Bird as they’re both really down there, although this is likely a tad better than Black Bird…maybe. It’s like comparing a double cheeseburger to a Mc double at Mc Donalds. They’re more or less the same thing, just packaged differently. Looks like .Hack will be the big virtual reality series once again. Take a big glass of water and then watch Yugioh 3D Bonds Beyond Time. It’s the best thing to do after reading this manga.

Overall 0/10