SWORD ART ONLINE Last Recollection – Review
Follow Genre: ARPG
Developer: Aquria, Aclear Co., Ltd.
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Platform: PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
Tested on: Xbox Series X/S

SWORD ART ONLINE Last Recollection – Review

Site Score
Good: Story, Overall satisfying content
Bad: Bland graphics, Extreme texture popping, Samewhat dated gameplay design
User Score
(1 votes)
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VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Even though Sword Art Online started out as a series of light novels, the franchise only gained a lot of popularity when the first season of the anime aired back in 2012. As the years went by, more seasons were created with the leading character, Kirito, befriending more and more (digital) ladies, while facing the dangers of the offline and online world. His journey started when he got stuck in a VR game, with the only ways of escaping either beating the game or dying. After making it out the first time, he soon found himself going on more and more digital adventures. Now, sadly, Kirito once again finds himself trapped in a digital world, with the task of brokering peace between two warring nations. 


If you’re not up-to-date with the current Sword Art Online anime, we suggest you stop reading at this point if you don’t want to read spoilers. Last Recollection basically tells the story of Kirito still being stuck in the Underworld with no way of returning to the real world. As always, he’ll be the hero of the story, and he has also made a new life for himself in his new digital cage. Where he started off with no memories, he now knows what is going on, and his friends are also there to help him. So, with pretty much a harem in tow, he’ll find himself spearheading a quest that takes the group into the Dark Territory. A young Dark Knight, by the name of Dorothy, and her even younger companion, literally fell from the sky after being chased by monsters. After Kirito and his friends save her, she explains that her lord wishes to negotiate a peace treaty with the humans. This kicks off the expedition to the Dark Territory, where the ragtag band of warriors will have to overcome many obstacles.

Overall, the story is delivered perfectly for those following the show. While there aren’t that many really impressive cinematics present in the game, the fully voiced dialogues add a lot of charm to the overall experience.


Graphically, Last Recollection isn’t a very impressive-looking game. Of course, keeping in mind that the title is also available on the previous generation of consoles, it’s still not a very pretty game. The character models are fine, but the movements are sometimes very awkward during cutscenes, and it feels as if every NPC has the same base model that just gets recycled throughout the game. We did very much like the monster models, and there’s a bit more variety when it comes to the enemies you’ll be facing.

The Dark Territory which you’ll be exploring is a fairly bland and boring place, and many environments end up looking rather similar to one another. Luckily, as you progress through the game, some extra variety will come your way, but all in all, the game isn’t that much to write home about. Sadly, this is something the genre as a whole suffers from. In many ways, a lot of JRPG titles still stick to a very dated formula where you’ll go through very static environments with loads of invisible walls and a lack of actual free movement. We recently saw this in Fate/Samurai Remnant as well, which tried to create the illusion of freedom while actually only allowing the player to roam around in very small areas. Last Recollection fares a bit better in this regard, as the world’s different areas do feel a bit more connected.


As a whole, the sound design of Last Recollection is great. You’ll be treated to a lot of fully voiced dialogues, with a great voice cast backing them up. The story itself is brought with a lot of charm, and it truly feels like the delivery of the voiced lines and story was handled with care. The soundtrack is also decent, albeit a bit less memorable than the voice acting. We encountered a few instances where adrenaline-infused battle music would start playing during random dialogues. This wasn’t a big issue, but it did break the immersion from time to time.


SWORD ART ONLINE Last Recollection is a fairly traditional JRPG that is based on an anime franchise. In the game, you’ll go from one location to another to beat up monsters and villains, while leveling up, finding new gear, and possibly completing a side quest or two. Last Recollection is fairly straightforward, as the game proves to be fairly linear. All in all, it’s the general combat experience that truly shines here.

In Last Recollection, you’ll take control over Kirito and his busty companions, who all have their own unique skill set. You can also swap weapon sets, and you’ll find that combat is generally quite satisfying. Even though you’ll probably just be mashing buttons at the beginning of the game, you’ll eventually learn to master different abilities and party skills. You’ll notice that the combat mechanics are actually quite decent, and it’s fun to bring down stronger foes. You can cheese your way through certain battles by constantly sacrificing your party members, but all in all, it’s quite rewarding when you come out victorious when facing harder foes. Even so, the gear drops are often disappointing, and you’ll often get better rewards by simply progressing through the story. The beginning of the game also suffers from pacing issues, as you’ll go from one dialogue to another, with only a few smaller battles sprinkled in between.

The gear and skill system works as it should, but things do feel a bit basic here. You are given fairly limited options when it comes to your gear, and the skill menu is not always that intuitive to work with. You will even have to assign consumables, like healing potions, to your skill slots if you wish to actually use them in a pinch. We found the menus not very user-friendly, and even the autosave doesn’t work as intended. Luckily, the game does offer a load of save points, making it ideal for short gaming sessions, if you don’t get stuck in very long dialogues.

While the combat loop proved to be a lot of fun, we noticed that the game was just very basic. There are hardly any exploration options, and backtracking has been implemented in a somewhat cheap way. During your adventure, you’ll encounter high-level monsters that you are not able to defeat yet. With the fast travel system, you can easily come back to these locations at a later point in the game, but this does feel like artificial padding. You can easily skip these battles, without actually missing too much.


SWORD ART ONLINE Last Recollection is a reasonably entertaining JRPG, but it will mainly please fans of the Sword Art Online franchise. We quite enjoyed the combat, but we did notice a lot of dated design choices when it came to exploring the Dark Territory, the controls, and the gear system. Even so, what is on offer here is still enjoyable, but we would recommend waiting for a sale if you’re not a diehard SAO fan. If you’re not familiar with the franchise, and you’re looking for an accessible JRPG experience, we suggest you either watch the anime first or that you look elsewhere.

VN:R_U [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 5.0/10 (1 vote cast)
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SWORD ART ONLINE Last Recollection - Review, 5.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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