Review – SWORD ART ONLINE Alicization Lycoris (Switch)

SWORD ART ONLINE Alicization Lycoris

If you’re not already a fan of Sword Art Online, go away. This game is not for you. Now say you should ignore my advice and play anyway? I doubt you’d get thirty minutes in before you were slammed with buyer’s remorse. Some games are just exclusively made for their target audiences. Or are flawed in such a way that only someone whose already invested can look past it. SWORD ART ONLINE Alicization Lycoris is very much both of these things. The game’s glacial opening, uneven pacing between the gameplay and visual novel segments, as well as a disjointed narrative make it very hard to love on its own. But as a chance to relive the anime/light novel’s arc (which again is considered the series’ best) with some new twists and turns, it delivers in spades.

SWORD ART ONLINE Alicization Lycoris Kirito and Eugeo

Just like in the original story, Kirito and Eugeo’s friendship is core to the story.

SWORD ART ONLINE Alicization Lycoris is an open world action RPG with heavy visual novel elements. This is most prevalent in the game’s opening hours. You’ll spend a lot of time watching cutscenes and reading dialogue, and not much time fighting or exploring. However, the more you play the more things improve. It’s worth the wait, in my humble opinion. Running around key locations straight from the anime alongside locations only previously mentioned is very cool. Likewise, using sword skills straight from the series against iconic enemies and bosses is just as exciting, especially since the combat is genuinely good. Even if the game is on the easier side, combat never got boring. As you unlock and advance new weapon types, skills, and abilities, it only gets better. 

SWORD ART ONLINE Alicization Lycoris Skill Palette

For a game based on a game, the game elements are properly more complex then other anime games.

Still, the visual novel element goes away after a while. It eventually gets balanced out, and as you advance the game gets more interesting. The first part of the game is a retelling of the first half of the Sword Art Online Alicization arc, Season 3 of the anime. After a specific point (that I won’t spoil even if it happens in the opening cinematic), there’s a twist that leads to a dramatically different second half. It’s focused around Medina, an original character to the game. While she has been retroactively added into the first half of the story with interactions with Kirito and Eugeo, she doesn’t properly take stage until the second half. It’s very much worth it with her proving an interesting character, and the new second half being a fun “what-if”. It’s written by the original author too. For fans of the series, it’s everything you could want. 

SWORD ART ONLINE Alicization Lycoris Sword of Othinanos

New character, new sword, dems the rules.

Whenever a Switch port is released, the number one question is about performance. After that, it’s the graphics. It’s especially intriguing when the game performs as badly as the original. When it launched (and even now to be honest), SWORD ART ONLINE Alicization Lycoris was not what you’d call an optimized game. Or a particularly good looking one. Despite the Switch version’s wonky framerate, I have to say it feels better then the original did. Still not great, but combat especially feels smoother. Drops do happen, and the framerate hovers on the lower side. Still it’s perfectly playable, and for franchise fans looking for a portable Alicization fix, this is the best you can do. I tried to play this game on the Steam Deck, and it was a no-go.


I have seen worse on the Switch, but I’ve also seen much better.

SWORD ART ONLINE Alicization Lycoris is the kind of game where reviews don’t really matter. For fans of the franchise, it’s a purchase. Either at launch or the minute it gets to a “too good to pass up” sale. Especially when it’s such a popular series, and in this case a very popular arc that’s been adapted. For people who aren’t already in the know, nothing about the game is designed to bring people in. Little marketing, gameplay trailers unashamedly show off all the flaws, and the Japanese only voice acting is a huge deal-breaker for many in the west. For me personally though, I fall into the former category. Just like Fairy Tail, I unashamedly love this game and already owned it. I will absolutely be playing through the whole game again, this time on-the-go. Kirito and Eugeo’s bromance just never gets old.


Graphics: 6.0

This game was never a looker as is, so the biggest sacrifices for Switch are just an occasionally wonky framerate, and less bushes and vegetation.

Gameplay: 8.0

Combat is fast, flashy, and fun, with a surprising amount of variety.

Sound: 10

The game’s Japanese only audio shares the same voice actors as the anime, so the voice acting is authentic and the soundtrack is great as well.

Fun Factor: 7.0

For fans of the franchise, it’s a fun authentic romp through the series’ best arc with a game original second half, but for anyone else, it’s a buggy, poorly performing, terribly paced adventure.

Final Verdict: 7.5

SWORD ART ONLINE Alicization Lycoris is available now on PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch.

A copy of SWORD ART ONLINE Alicization Lycoris was provided by the publisher.