While not godawful and a game I have a soft spot for, Hollow Fragment felt a lot more frustrating than fun a lot of the time and ends up just being pretty mediocre... a lot like the anime itself.
Combat feels super unnatural and clunky with how slow sword skills are, and taking hits can stunlock you for a long time.
Enemy hitboxes are terrible and attacks never hit when you'd imagine they should, making dodging or parrying a chore.
Fighting enemies even slightly above your level will lead to nearly all of your attacks completely missing, even after focusing on accuracy on my equipment and buffs, turning what should be a tricky but winnable battle into a frustrating mess.
Partners are dumb as rocks and don't have many commands to control them well, which is a problem considering it's an instant game over if they run out of health, and the Risk system while not that hard to manage forces the use of partners, which isn't always preferable for the reasons mentioned above. It's really confusing to me how they didn't implement a revival system like in future games, I know the whole point of SAO is "you die irl when health hits 0" but come on.
The story is passable but it's way too fanservicey outside the main Hollow Area story in my opinion, compared to future games this one can't go two minutes without Kirito touching some titties or something.
Graphics aren't very good but considering this is a vita remaster I didn't expect too much, the game loads extremely fast and runs great.
If god forbid you end up liking this game there is a lot of content to keep you occupied with scaling Hollow Missions and loads of unlockables.

Reviewed on Oct 17, 2021