Browser MMORPG - Following a boom in the genre, Sword Art Online has become a browser-playable MMORPG; Will it live up to the anime?
Taken from a phenomenon popular in the Land of the Rising Sun, SAO's Legend is a free-to-play MMORPG browser game, with no need to download the game client.
The game allows us to choose from one of four classes, composed of classical archetypes which we have become accustomed to, then we dive immediately into the game world without too many narrative frills narrative to slow us down.
What is immediately apparent it is that the development team has opted to offer users a smoother and faster experience, which wastes no time and mainly focuses on expedited progression through the game maps rather than on exploring and deepening the plot.
It’s an experience only suited to more casual players looking for something uncomplicated and can fit in perfectly with the often restricted hours often available to this user group.
It is now a fact. With the advent of the first browser-based MMORPG, what was a genre with a depth and inherent complexity has now been completely stripped down, simplifying every mechanic in order to make it usable even to those who have never even heard of RPGs.
SAO's Legend, of course, falls smack in the middle of this category, designed to be accessible to an extremely broad and varied audience, not prone to madness hiding behind screens and menus packed with stats and equipment.
SAO's Legend is taken directly from a popular Japanese anime, from which it borrows certain situations and settings. While the plot of the original work was interesting in many ways, dealing with a kind of interconnection between the real world and the virtual world of the MMORPG, in SAO's Legend it completely fades into the background, since, out of all its elements, the game dedicates very little to the narrative component, other than a few lines of dialogue that the majority of players will readily skip.
At the beginning, the game doesn’t waste time with too many pleasantries and, other than the inevitable choice of class, we are thrown straight away into the game world.
There are four different classes of characters ready to be chosen. More specifically, we have the swordsman, the ranger, the priest and the knight.
All classes are gender-locked and do not allow any kind of customization by the player. So once you have chosen your character, you will have to make do with its default look.
The main problem encountered by this setting is typical of every game that doesn’t allow you to customize your characters: you’ll find yourself wandering maps populated by dozens and dozens of identical clones.
Landed in the game world, it won’t take long to notice how, like its peers, SAO's Legend is entirely pervaded by an extreme automatism that is now the trademark of 99% of web browser MMORPGs.
Though we had (bitterly) hardened ourselves to the autopathfinding, taking it for granted that our character would point with his own free will to the next point of interest with the aim of advancing the main questline of the game, we were hoping that the game would at least leave us a bit more freedom in the fighting, just like the solution adopted in League of Angels 2, granting the player a small amount of maneuvering.
SAO's Legend is entirely pervaded by an extreme automatism that is now the trademark of 99% of web browser MMORPGs
Well, the developers of SAO's Legend were not of the same opinion and the automation implemented in the exploration phases, which in practice become a sort of safari on rails, has also been applied to combat.
Contrary to the aforementioned LoA2, when an enemy is encountered the game will not teleport to a special field for a battle. Rather this takes place directly within the map, giving continuity between exploration and combat.
While this is not a bad thing, since it tends to not break up the action and always ensure a smooth and fluid progression, on the other hand it only makes even more evident that the role of the player is almost superfluous, giving them a more supervisory role rather than that of an active and decisive role in the economy of the game.
In addition, the lack of a dedicated battleground for clashes has forced developers to make all the mobs that must be dealt with in a given sequence visible on the map, with the result being that dozens of monsters are grouped on the gaming map as they tend to overlap each other like an ectoplasm, with a really grotesque final result.
Truly unstimulating gameplay is accompanied, as has become typical for this genre of game, by a decidedly impactful audiovisual sector, especially with regard to the general look of the game.
The eyes of the player will surely be delighted by the sight of the game’s beautiful backdrops, meriting praise for both imagination and for effective implementation.
To harp on a bit in a possibly overly technical manner, the animations of various characters are good but sometimes too disconnected, creating an effect of falseness, and sometimes an excessive general heaviness that stands out especially when entering a new area, whilethe maps are struggling to load.
Ultimately we’re really struggling to find valid reasons to recommend SAO's Legend as the next title to be played.
The gameplay barely incentivises you to stay in front of the monitor and offers nothing to moderately demanding players that we have not already seen, in better shape, in other productions.
Try it only if you are really looking for a smooth, casual experience, that’s hurried, that does not require special efforts, and is particularly suitable to fairly short gaming sessions between one coffee break and another.Ready to enter the world of SAO's Legend? Click here to play now!
What We Liked..
The anime fans might appreciate it
No one’s making us play it
.. and what we didn't
Practically nonexistent gameplay
Déjà vu exploding from every pore
Dozens and dozens of clones
What we liked..
.. and what we didn't
I like this game, I want to
Register and play now
I DON'T like this game, I want to
Find another MMORPG
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