Overview of the combat system in Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris

The skill tree looks huge!

In this new trailer for Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris we get a brief and comprehensive presentation of the combat system. However, the game has much deeper features than can be seen at first glance. For example, we glimpse a skill-tree as fastest and see the parry function in action.

Though it is through it Japanese Playstation Blog we will find out more details about character development and the depth of combat skills you have at your disposal. Each character appears to have four Sword Skills, four Battle Skills and four Passive Skills at their disposal in addition to Finisher and EX-Skill.

Alicization Lycoris – character development that builds for playing styles

My speculation is that Sword, Battle and Passive skills are relatively general to all characters and allow you to construct specific features for each character, I think Finishers are either specific to the character or a specific weapon. EX-Skills appear to be original skills that you unlock at the beginning of a specific branch in the skill tree – which, by the way, looks huge.

Sword Art Online Skills Palette: Alicization Lycoris.
Overview of the equipped skills. From Playstation Blog Japan.

Of the EX-Skills we have seen from livestreams and other published material, it seems that the EX-Skills are linked to classes, or archetypes of skills. Eugeo in the picture here has the EX-Skill attached to the Attack branch in the skill tree. We have previously seen other icons on the same skill, giving the impression that there are more branches. Probably each character has two or more branches that give access to those archetypes. Those we know of are Attack, Defense, Buff, Debuff, Heal, Berserk and one that lacks clear translation. Eugeo as it looks has Attack, Defense and Buff.

Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris will be released on July 10 for Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC. The game can be ordered via Bandai Namco or at retailers.

The Skill Tree in Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris.
The skill tree, probably Eugeos. From Playstation Blog Japan.

Hopefully, these branches in the Skill Tree are a sandwich table of selectable Skills that makes character development meaningful. Based on the icon that the tree consists of, we can see that they contain both Battle and Passive Skills. We probably also find Arts (the equivalent of magic) in the tree as well. Sword Skills are probably obtained through the weapons the character has equipped, or through a separate tree. Characters have specific weapon types they can use, which limits their functions.

Constructions and synergies

Depending on how you choose to develop your characters in the Skill Tree, specific roles emerge that you can use strategically in combat – which is not surprisingly a very important part of Alicization Lycoris’s combat mechanics. Enemies can withstand a great deal and require you to exploit weaknesses and activate chained attacks to control and win the battle.

By investing in specific branches and unlocking specific Skills, you will be able to plan your characters’ combat abilities and specializations. Although this is nothing new in the role-playing genre, Alicization Lycoris shows that it has a strategic depth that we did not see in the previous game Fatal Bullet.

Please read our preview of Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris from last winter.

An important part of fighting in Alicization Lycoris is to chain attacks and break defenses and juggle with opponents to multiply the damage. This is where synergies and follow-up attacks are crucial to the outcome of the battle. Although small enemies can certainly be run over as a steam roller, you will need to think strategically against bosses and larger enemies.

At present, we have no information on what skills sync well with each other or chain together, but we do know that many Sword Skills and Sacred Arts can be uploaded for higher damage and stronger effects. We also know that a special gauge (Arts gauge) allows the player to activate strong attacks and group attacks.

We do not know exactly how much substance the battle system and character development after release, but from what we have seen and clarified here, the game has potential. We especially appreciate the choices and advanced combat mechanics that use chains and synergies.