Friday, April 26, 2013

SAO: The Art of Online Gaming

Sword Art Online Review


When I first heard about SAO, I figured it would be too similar to .hack//. I never really wanted to give this anime a chance. Finally I broke down and watched it out of curiosity. Watching the first episode I really was not that interested, but I tend to give anime a few episodes to get into them. In a few days I watched the entire series. I literally could not stop watching SAO at all. The anime really knows how to pull you in and keep your attention.

Halfway through SAO when the game becomes Alfhiem, you may start to lose interest. It feels as though there is no plot to the second half of the series, but just a continuation to make more money on the series. That is not the case at all though. You really need to give Sword Art Online a chance and watch the entire series.

The Plot of Sword Art Online


A new virtual reality world has been created as an online gaming experience. The game is called Sword Art Online. Unknown to the players logging into to SAO, there is no log out button. The creator, Kayaba Akihiko, did this on purpose. He has an alternate plan for the game. He created SAO as his own playing field where if you die on the game, you die in reality. The only way to survive the game is to reach the 100th level and kill the final boss. When this is finally accomplished, around 300 people are stuck in virtual reality ‘limbo’.

That is until Alfhiem Online is created. Alfhiem is a much safer game and has an emergency logout system. Nobuyuki Sugo is the mastermind behind a project going on in Alfhiem with the 300 people from SAO. He is attempting to control pain and thoughts of humans. This is the only place in which he can conduct this illegal experiment. The ending is definitely worth the entire anime so I will not spoil it for you.

The Characters of Sword Art Online


Kirito (or Kazuto Kirigaya) is the main character of the Sword Art Online. He has a great advantage in SAO due to the fact he was a Beta Tester (or beater). He takes a lot of heat for this from other characters that have lost someone. He is a mainly quite and keeps to himself, that is until he became really good friends with Asuna (or Asuna Yuki). You first impression of Asuna is a someone who would not make it very long. Eventually you see how strong she really is and proves herself as a major character. The two fall in love in the game which eventually leads to the destruction of both games (SAO & ALO).

Each character you meet in episodes has their own stories, both sad and happy. You are sucked in to each episode through these characters. You need to know if they survive or die. It is rare to find anime’s such as this now a days.

The Artwork and Soundtrack of Sword Art Online


The artwork in Sword Art Online is the standard tradition anime. The fact the hair color in SAO are believable makes it even better. It brings you even closer to the anime when this happens. The characters are more realistic and you are able to relate to them in a deeper way.

The soundtrack seems to be the only place lacking in SAO. Although the music is very beautiful and performed by Yuki Kajiura, there is little variety to the show. There seems to be five songs and that is all. They are extremely great, don’t get me wrong, but a little more would’ve been nice.

Sword Art Online should definitely be on every otaku’s shelf. This is an anime you do not want to pass up. It is definitely in my top ten!

Overall Grade 9/10

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