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  1. I'd like to mention right, it should not take a month of playing a nuzlocke-style MMORPG to beat the first boss of a 100 story game. I can't even fathom no one being able to find the first boss in a single month. An entire month in Pirate101 had gotten me pretty far through a few worlds. I was indeed a beta tester, and I did die a few times, but these are not aspects that should be taken into account considering these people literally live their current lives in the game of SWO. They have 24/7 to find the boss. This aspect feels like the creators are trying to depict the game as hard, and possibly risky, but 100 floors would make the game really, really, really easy on the first floor. Considering the first moments I've played of WoW had taken me quite a few levels up and explore, it seems pretty ridiculous that none of the players could find the boss. This is all from the pre-intro scene. (I'm also assuming they moved the boss room since none of the beta testers can find it.) So welcome again. It's been far too long since I watched the first episode. My excuse is that I don't feel like watching it, but I'm in the mood to put myself through pain again. I have reread my review of the first episode, and I believe I am pretty caught up in knowledge to be able to remember the important factors going in. I think I should start putting a disclaimer-type thing at the beginning of these now. Hello. My name is Zeal Crown, and I hate myself enough to put myself through the pain of watching Sword Art Online. I've always hated this show, but I thought I'd explain why, as I'd like to consider myself a pretty good MMORPG guru. My 'reviews' are in the style of 'I say what I think when the moment shows up' so I may be unorganized in my saying. Of course, this is entirely my opinion too, and you are by far welcome to have your own. (I'd love to hear them too) So with that, please, endure this pain with me as we watch...Sword Art Online. Right away after the intro, we find out this "knight" has found the boss with his team. At the top of a tower. Unless this tower was hidden or something, I'm going to have to make the assumption that these people are the most unobservant people in the anime universe. It's common for bosses to be at the top of towers so I'm not really getting why it would have taken a month. Oh well I guess, it still could have been hidden. Seems like a thing the creator would have done. I'd also like to mention there was a scene with two people who looked like the main character. I didn't know which one was him...and he was in the next scene after these two. These character designs are way too similar and bland-looking. In this scene, the characters are instructed to form groups. I actually like this scene as it's pretty accurate to MMOs. The characters form into groups of 6 and will try to take on the boss together. Grouping in MMOs is actually a thing, and I'm quite surprised at how accurate this scene is, even if it isn't much. Groups are meant to put people together (usually between 4 to 6 players max) and they are able to do such things as quest together, share exp. or simply just have increased knowledge and help of each other. It's a small thing to be happy about, but it's the first accurate thing about MMORPGs in a while. And then Kibaou, the beta tester hater, jumps in. He wants the beta testers to apologize to the 2,000 players that have died so far. (twice the amount of the original beta tester mind you, but that's another gripe for another time) He believes the beta testers all ditched for their own selfish goods. Took all the hunting spots, took the easy quests for themselves (which probably wouldn't earn much, but whatever) ect. He wants the beta testers to get down on their knees and "give up all the money and items they hoarded. Otherwise, we can't trust them to protect us as party members, and they shouldn't trust us." like some non-beta uprising or something. Kirito looks like he's about to have some nervous breakdown too, so I'll also assume he's one of the selfish types. Kibaou is quickly (verbally) shot down and told that the beta testers gave all the information they could in a beginner's guide handbook. And there goes that problem. It's still near the beginning of the episode, so I'm making yet another assumption that he'll be back. Kibaou seems like a character that could have been pretty accurate to 'noobish' type players though. I would have loved to see him depicted as the players that fuss in the beginning areas and expect the help of stronger people for almost no reason. Those players exist in every MMO, and it would have been a great opportunity. Instead, this person just seems useless. Just a minor thing that bugs me I guess. We learn that the boss that was discovered has some neat little tricks. Which leads me to believe someone must have died to attain the information that I guess non-beta players can add to the handbook as well. The writers for this episode must have been at a loss of what is happening, because I don't know who can and can't write in the handbook, and I would like to know if people died to attain the information. If so, I also don't understand how other people wouldn't know about the boss if it's been issued in the new handbook. Anyone with the latest handbook should know about the boss by now, how is this blue-haired knight the only one who knows? The writers should keep track of what each individual character knows. The bread scene with the butter seems useless to me, so there isn't much to say about that other then it shouldn't be here. BUT WAIT! Kirito says he got the butter from a quest a town back, and he offers to take is only other party member over to beat the quest...even though quests and monsters are limited. I thought. But, what? You see, even as a show, they can't stick to what they say. The previous scene stated that the beta testers took all the hunting areas and the quests to themselves. So then this quest shouldn't exist. Kirito beat it! No more butter quest! This mysterious Asuna gets no more butter! Freaking butter is driving me up the wall! Asuna is also suicidal or something, but doesn't want the game to beat her. Her story is weak, and I don't like it. Enough said. There's also something about switching, but it's never elaborated on. Another thing not to care about. The significance is that Asuna wasn't ever a part of a group or party, so she doesn't know about it. I don't blame her, I don't usually team up for the first part of games either. The information about the boss was mostly right. The boss switches out weapons and strategies once his health reaches the red, so now he has another weapon. And it's the wrong weapon from what was described in the guide. That would give me the false assumption (I'm making a lot of assumptions, but that seems to be how this show is treating me) that the players didn't record the right data. But then Kirito remembers the weapon the boss should have had, and it's the wrong one. This is messed up all the way. The information about the boss wasn't discovered until the 'heroic blue knight' somehow magically found it single-handedly in his oh so great handbook. But Kirito knew what the weapon should have been already. Sooooo why didn't he put that in the handbook!? Even if only beta testers can add to the handbook or something, he was a beta tester. If he knew about the boss from his beta experience, why didn't he tell them!? Now I get why Kibaou hated on beta testers. I would too! Kirito isn't gaining anything from being the only one in this massive hoard party from being the only one to know this. He's putting others on the pedestal of death because...who knows!? WHY!? Why would he not share this information about the boss!? He couldn't even get the gall to say what the weapon switched too! If he did, everyone else would have been surprised as well to realize it's not the same weapon, but Kirito is the only one who realizes it's not the same weapon! I began writing this to share the inaccuracies of SWO, but I didn't realize I had to explain easy stuff like this either. I'm still a growing critic, but I'm sure a lot of other critics would realize this massive plot hole. It's not even annoying that it's inaccurate, but Kirito may be the dumbest hero I've ever witnessed. We learn after the now-not-so-heroic-knight practically kills himself that he charged ahead because he wanted the "last attack bonus rare item" which is an extremely common myth among many MMOs. The myth goes "the player who makes the last attack will gain a rare item that only they can earn" which is proven time and time again to not exist. It's rumored in just about every game and it's always proven to be false. It doesn't even annoy me that this myth is somehow a thing in this game (bad game design) but it annoys me even more that this person was selfish enough to take it all for himself after stating "the loot each player collects is there own loot." If this person turns out to be a beta tester, it'll give me even more of a reason to think that beta testers in this universe actually are selfish. AND I WAS RIGHT, HE WAS A BETA TESTER! So now that leads me up to the misunderstand of, 'why wouldn't he know what the boss could do?' He was in the beta. He knew what would happen. Why did he need a guide to know what happens at this boss? These characters are terrible. I also have no clue why he chose to not take the potion. He'd literally earn much more from Kirito's potion than Kirito would at that time. I'm sure they can always get more too. False sacrifice. I don't feel any affection. Oh my goodness, Asuna's robe came off! Oh my goodness, she's suppose to be a good looking character! Oh my goodness, I'll bet thousands that she becomes a love interest! Oh my goodness, I'm going to be rich! Game mechanic wise, I don't get how this works. In reality it would be possible for the robe to fly off, but in a videogame it's always attached to you unless you either chose to take it off, or something code-wise makes you take it off. Unless she had to get rid of the robe to dodge (or something???) it shouldn't have flown off like that. Maybe the boss's affect swung it off? Who knows? I doubt the writers even knew honestly. Saying "We'll hold him off until you recover" is implying that health is possible to regenerate overtime, so I'd say a good strategy for this nuzlocke would be to attack until you get hit, then just run the boss in circles until you recover. Unless you have to "stand in a patch of grass" to recover health, this should work a high percent of the time. Just outrun the boss. Loophole? Oooooh, Kirito and Asuna are going to do the last hit together! Oooooh! So I guess the final item will either 1. be randomly given, 2. be duplicated (in which everyone should do the final attack) or 3. be split apart, making it pretty useless. Lets find out what happens. Kirito got the last attack item bonus. What a shame, Asuna probably deserved it more. Kirito is too selfish to keep it. Kibaou now explains how selfish Kirito really is by exploiting how Kirito actually did know about the attack, but didn't bother to tell anyone. The other players out him to being a beta tester as he knew all the attack patterns too. It's sad, but Kibaou is actually my favorite character here. He must have been right about those (as Kirito describes in his own words) noobish beta players. Kibaou is the only smart player in this entire game! Kirito makes the extremely false claim the the beta testers somehow didn't even know how to level up, and that these other non-beta players are waaaaay better. But 'oh no, Kirito is nothing like them. He made it higher than anyone else in the beta game! (implying that he is indeed a beta player) He knew the boss's katana skills because the other monsters on floors above had katana skills. (still not stating that Kirito still didn't know that the boss had 'katana skills'. It hurts to see him monologue) He knew more than any other beta player! Kibaou says exactly what I'm thinking at this point. Kirito is so much worse than any other beta player! What kind of selfish player is he!? Kirito then puts on his new item and tells people not to confuse him with beta players, essentially creating a target for himself. News flash, no one quests with selfish players. Just saying. Also, Kirito states that there's a limit to what single players can do, which most of the time, is true. So really, I don't see why Kirito is creating this false 'bad boy' image for himself. No one will trust him and he'll die alone, surrounded by his own useless lies. Now the credits roll and I reflect on why I hate myself so much. I don't think I hate myself to put myself through the pain, so why do I? Most other people would say "because in order to recognize good shows, a person must recognize what makes a show bad. SWO is a great example!" or "Being able to recognize why a show may not be as good as it is made out to be demonstrates great training for critics." or "to join the bandwagon" but my reason was simply to point out the inaccuracies. SWO as a game is terrible and would have never launched. I did not realize I would have to explain overall why it's a bad anime. The fans come because they see themselves as 14 year old kids who want to be the rebellious black-haired mysterious fellow in a life-like videogame world. The fans instead got crap that apparently feeds them well. My goodness is this show bad. It's so bad. Sooooo bad. And I'm going to have to keep watching it. Ugh. Help.
  2. When I first started telling my friends I was interested in anime, I always heard nothing but good things about Sword Art Online. (SAO) After giving in, I was very disappointed. I remember hating it for it's inaccuracy and quitting halfway through the first season. After hearing someone I follow give crap to an anime they hated, I thought I'd try rewatching SAO and seeing why I hated it... Two minutes in and I remember why. The first opening scene tells that "in 2022, humanity has finally created a complete virtual environment." SAO first aired in 2012, so this was meant to be ten years from that date. Having people believe that a huge environment like this could be real in 10 years was very believable as the Oculus Rift had started it's crowdfunding around that same time. This is a very good start, as the environment looks beautiful and exciting, and I quickly wanted to learn more. Now here is where I begin to sense trouble. The next scene involves our main character (Who is already a paper cut-out of, like, any boy character in an anime, same face and hair and all that) who is listening to a stream while reading a magazine about SAO. It is mentioned that the first release only gave out 10,000 beta keys. Now, this seems reasonable to my experience with actual beta key giveaways. For this review, I will be comparing SAO to Pirate101, a game I've had a lot of time to experience what a Massively Multiplayer Online game (MMO) does in beta. 10,000 beta keys seems reasonable. (By the way, unless you're blind, SAO is an MMO) "The beta keys sold out online in seconds" wait, what? They sold the first batch of beta keys? Why? I know this shouldn't be a big deal, but why not give them to loyal fans of the company? Pirate101 beta keys were mostly given to random fans of Wizard101 and fans of the parent company of Kingsisle. This was to make sure these people be loyal, determined, and dedicated to bug testing the heck out of the game as that is essentially the point of a beta test, to find bugs that the creators may have missed and to give player feedback or critique. The keys were also handed out to big MMO review companies and fan sites so they could give their input of the future of the game and company behind it. They didn't sell them. (My brother would also like to make the point of selling 10,000 beta keys in seconds would have to have a really cheap cost for such a hyped game) "Hardcore fans bought all the store copies" Since when were beta keys for an MMO stores? How do you get a hard copy of an MMO, especially at this point in the future? There's no point in selling hard copies of MMOs, especially selling beta keys. How many places sold these beta keys anyways? There's thousands upon thousands of game stores that sell games. Each store would have to hardly sell one single key to run out of keys around the globe. There's more stores than keys! The next part of the scene, we see our main character put on the VR headset and jump into the game. (I'd like to point out that the helmet has a battery life even though it's plugged in. Where would they take this thing anyways?) This is the part that gripes me the most, at least to this point. As we see our character jump into the game, we see him get an option to use his character he used in the beta of the game. His character from beta! With any huge MMO, companies are almost required to do a mass character wipe when making the jump from beta to live! A character wipe means to erase everyone's data in the game to essentially start fresh. It's a thing MMO companies hate to do, but they must if they want to rid their final game of any sort of bug or exploits that were discovered, and to start everyone on the same clean slate. This is often why beta players are given their own time at launch to get ahead. Pirate101 gave every beta player a full week to get ahead of the impending crowd. It was essentially a 'thank you' to the beta testers for testing their game and providing feedback. A game as large as what SAO is meant to be, it's bound to have character wipes. The fact that it doesn't would definitely and automatically turn me away from this game as I would suspect the company to be really lazy to not do a mass character wipe. Shame on you Kayaba Akihiko, don't make games. With the title card by, we get a scene of our character running through the town, "like he's been here before." With a quick stop and a fast agreement, our character decides to help Klein to learn the basics. Which is really not smart of Klein. Any good MMO would definitely have a tutorial, or at least explain "the basics." How would this 'Klein' guy not know the basics? I have to assume he was either to ignorant and skipped the tutorials, or SAO is just lacking an essential part of any game, a tutorial. Also, why would our character decide to help him anyways. In real life I could see this being helpful, but when I play with my own high level characters in an area of low level people, I constantly get swarmed by younglings who want me to mentor them without me getting anything in return. Call me selfish, but I don't want to help everybody! I want to play the game for myself. Also, our character's name is Kirito. Eh, it's anime. So what I'm getting from this essential 'viewer tutorial' scene is that you must make the "motion input" to make attacks, and the game will automatically align them for you if you are probably close. When you feel the skill begin to charge, you can unleash a "sword skill" which is the most unoriginal name for an MMO. This feels really easily comparative to World of Warcraft. (WoW) You do basic attacks and wait for the skill to charge to use. It's the easiest MMO gameplay to use, and thus Wow is often copied through a poorer version of their engaging gameplay. Because of this, I would excuse SAO for being another poor WoW clone. Another to throw on the pile. I am glad they mention SAO is a game without magic though. Magic is so often use to excuse things the creators of MMOs want to have in their game without giving an explanation because it would be too difficult. I'm curious as to how truthful SAO is though. Next scene, Kirito and Klein are having a heart to heart on a waterfall about the game and such, and Klein explains that he was one of the first lucky enough to get one of the 10,000 copies. But he's not a beta tester apparently. Either this show is lying to me, or I'm just confused, which I shouldn't be when watching a show. Klein then states how Kirito is one of the lucky 1,000 to get a beta key. For a beta test, 1,000 players is really small. I guess I can let it slide since this show has already presented unmatchable crap to me. Kirito states he made it to floor 8 in only a couple of months. Seems reasonable if he wasn't an active player, as I will assume. But this time it will only take him a single month. Kirito also explains in this story dump that SAO was all he thought about day and night. This is extremely relatable to me as Pirate101 was all I could think of throughout the entire beta test. I really adore the end of this scene. Klein talks about how he must take a break to go eat, and talks about how Kirito should friend his friends he's meeting from another game so they can hang out. I love this, as this is the exact behavior I always find when I play MMOs. It's the most accurate thing in this show I've seen so far, but I have a feeling this'll probably be it. And then there is no button to log out. Dun dun duuuuun... With a bit of a "This sucks" and all that, they finally discover that SAO is a really bad game if they can't log out of it. No emergency logout, can't access the game creators, nothing. Danger. Everyone is transported to some town square to hear an announcement and Kirito says "a forced teleport" like it's something that is normal in an MMO. It isn't by the way. A blood creature rains from the broken sky and presents himself as Kayaba Akihiko, the creator of the game. This is where the big arc is presented. There is no logout button as the only way to log out is to beat the game. Removing the helmet from the outside will also kill the player. I guess the people on the outside had a warning though, so everything should be all cool 'cept for the few who ignored it. 213 players dead, both in real life, and in the fake/semireal world of Aincrad. Along with this danger, each character plays a sort of 'Nuzlocke' type of deal where once they die, they die. The end. At this point we also learn that there are 100 floors in this game, so Kirito only completed 2/25 of the game in his beta test. We also learn that "the beta testers never made it near that height" What!? Are you crazy!? Why not!? What kind of a beta test wouldn't let players test the later levels of the game!? Those are generally where the most bugs show up! Who ever thought this game would have been good!? I would never play a game where none of the later levels of an MMO were tested. Why would I waste my time going into unexplored territory like that? Beta testing tests all parts of a game, not just a small portion. For whatever reason, this company somehow got enough hype to collect all these exciting players and post in livestreams and magazines but couldn't even beta test the late levels. Instant turn off for me. (Also a joke to people not being who they say they are over the internet. -_- It can apparently register your exact voice too, so that's a trans nightmare for a trans human like me) We learn the evil guy's motivation was to...create a world to intervene with? What? What does that mean? And why? That's the saddest excuse for motivation I've ever seen. I could literally write a book and control that universe much better than this. It'd be much safer too. Kayaba then ends with "This is the end of the tutorial for the official Sword Art Online launch," so I guess that was the tutorial? What a crap tutorial. 0/10. Kirito also admired Kayaba for some reason. Terrible business strategies would make me tell Kirito he's majorly wrong. I guess the resources are somehow limited, so it seems that all the enemies are also playing their own game of a Nuzlocke. Another poor design choice, especially for Kayaba's motivation. There's also the whole thing with Klein being set up from the beginning of the episode to be someone to represent Kirito's character as Kirito wants to travel with as few people as possible to be as efficient as possible. Before they leave each other though, Klein must tell Kirito how he is cute. I may actually approve of this. Gay relationships all the way! Kirito returns a compliment and runs. After the credits with , at least what I think, a pretty good song, we learn that 2000 players die and the first floor has yet to be cleared. Kind of interesting seeming as Kirito had wished to reach floor 8 in a month, but I guess I can assume he is being more cautious. Limited supply and an immediate one-time death on the line would definitely slow players down I guess. So after watching the first episode, I remember why I really hated this show. It was inaccurate. All the facts were wrong and unreal, and it was extremely lazy of A1 studio to pump this garbage out. Yes, A1, the critical company who always pumps trash must have gotten lucky with pumping out this glittery trashbag that people seem to love. I am a huge fan of MMOs and it is almost insulting what this show is teaching viewers about MMOs. I get that it's a show, but there should at least be a tiny bit more of realistic facts rather than saying it was the future. People like this show because they wish they could. They wish they could be in a game just like this. They wish they could fight alongside cute anime girls in too-tiny skirts. They wish they could be the hero they think they could be by somehow being one of the survivors to experience this insanely weird world. But it's bad. If this game was real, it would be panned before it even began it's beta key distribution. There's always going to be those poor suckers who buy those keys though. I don't understand why Kayaba can't be hunted down anyways. Just take him away and find a hacker to fix SAO. Unless this is explained in later episodes, I don't see why they can't do this. In conclusion, this show is lazy. Minimum research has been done to figure out what an MMO actually is, and A1 is often know for simply pandering to what the audience wants to see. "I want to see videogames, but in a real life scenario! But there's got to be danger, so kill me if I die! I won't die though, because I'm the best!" It's a trash show and I would never ever recommend this show to anyone I didn't hate. But I'm going to watch more. Because I hate myself. And I want to learn how to actually make a good show. This one isn't it, but I'll learn from mistakes. Wish me luck, and tell me what you think of the show. For my sake, please try to keep spoilers to a minimum and only use facts presented in the first episode. I want to watch this in the position of a real viewer. So far though, I say 2.5/10.