A report on the Xbox Live Games with Gold titles available for November 2014.
Sword Art Online II Episode 16 Review: Norse Myth Raiders
It did seem like there really weren’t any stakes in this mini story arc for Sword Art Online II, but it turns out that I was wrong about that. Now Kirito and the others have a reason to fight beyond acquiring a legendary sword just because they can. As they explore the depths of the dungeon, they find a potential ally that may give them the edge they need to defeat the final boss.
Cardinal as a system has some issues that probably should not exist in an automated system. Don’t get me wrong, a system that can create new content automatically would make a dangerously addictive and fun MMORPG. However, there should be some sort of rules or restraints that keep that system from doing things that could cause serious problems in the game. For example, destroying an entire city and all the areas surrounding it is probably going a little too far since that will cause no end of issues for thousands of players. When ALO got “reformed” they really should have modified the Cardinal to be less of a sociopath than its creator (Google search Akihiko Kayaba for details). Regardless, now Kirito and the others have a reason to fight beyond acquiring a best in slot weapon.
While the dungeon that Kirito and friends are seeking to clear certainly does seem like a group activity, it doesn’t feel like a raid or a dungeon. It is more like a combination of the two, which is really interesting. I wonder how many players are recommended for that dungeon, assuming there is a required amount. Perhaps the difficulty scales depending on how many players there are. Game mechanics aside, Kirito and company clearing this dungeon provides for some very entertaining fast paced action.
Klein finally gets a moment to stand in the spotlight, even if it seems to be partially for comedic relief than anything else. While everyone else was content to ignore Freyja and assume it was a trap, Klein was willing to risk it in order to save a damsel in distress. Of course this may play out well for the group given that Freyja appears to have some powerful magic that only she can use. If she can boost the maximum amount of health for everyone in the group by such a large amount, I wonder what else she can do. I’m sure Kirito and his friends would appreciate a buff that increased all their stats by twenty five percent or something along that line.
The actual end boss of the dungeon makes everything that Kirito and the others have fought so far seem small in comparison. The fact that he has significantly more health and is a named monster implies that he’s going to be pretty tough. I imagine that the group will be glad that Freyja is there to help out with her powerful magic. As Yui said earlier in the episode, it seems that ALO and the entire questline draws heavily on Norse mythology, given the name choice and various elements used in the questline. Of course it mixes things up quite a bit, given that Excalibur is not part of Norse lore, but that kind of mixing seems to be expected. Story and lore aside, it seems that Kirito and his friends are in for a very rough fight with the King of Giants.
Overall this was a great episode. The action was fast paced and there were some impressive feats of teamwork amongst Kirito and his friends. If there is one thing Sword Art Online continues to do well, it would be the action scenes and the visuals that come with it. So far this whole storyline feels as if it could’ve been a movie like Sword Art Online: Extra Edition.
The next episode is called Excalibur. Obviously this episode will deal with the fight between Kirito and the others against Thrym. After that, there will be nothing between them and Excalibur, which they need to claim in order to save the world tree. That said, it seems like this little bite sized story arc will be coming to an end very soon, if not during this next episode. This seems to match with the schedule for Sword Art Online II, which means that Mother’s Rosario will be airing in early November immediately after this story arc is over.