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Anime fans around the world will be familiar with Sword Art Online. The light novels and the sprawling media empire that they spawned follow the exploits of Kirito as he stumbles from being trapped in one online video game to another. Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris is the latest game to follow Kirito’s misadventures and the first to attempt to directly adapt the events of the light novels. The results, unfortunately, are mixed at best.

The story of Sword Art Online has always lent itself toward video game adaptation, allowing characters to reference things like hit points, experience, and levels without breaking the fourth wall. In this iteration, Kirito finds himself in a strange virtual place called Underworld with no memory of how he got there. His quest to contact the outside world is hampered by the fact that none of the other people he meets seem to know they’re in a video game. Most of the inhabitants that Kirito encounters are flat and lifeless, adding to the shallow feeling that we got from the rest of the game.

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