Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris has a bit of fan service for its long-time supporters. It comes in the form of the affinity system that leads to romance options via the heart-to-heart minigame. And, yes, you can take your companions to bed for, hmm, I guess you can call it a somewhat wholesome scene, eh? Anyway, here’s our guide to help you out.
Note: For more information, check out our Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris guides and features hub.
Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris – The basics of Affinity
The companions that join your party in Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris follow the affinity system. This allows you to raise your relationship levels by initiating heart-to-heart conversations with your “partner.” This can be done starting in chapter 2 in any of the game’s towns or hubs (ie. North Centoria, Williria Village, and other locations where you won’t encounter enemies).
The idea is to pick one companion as a member of your party. This character will become your “partner” for the purposes of exploring that hub (ie. they’ll appear as the second character that Kirito is with). If you already have multiple party members with you, then the first character you clicked on will be considered Kirito’s “partner.”
Once you enter a hub, you’ll notice heart icons in the area. These are spots where you can initiate heart-to-heart conversations with your partner by pressing “X” on your Xbox gamepad.
The heart-to-heart minigame
Next, here’s what each mechanic entails:
- Dialogue choices – These are the options you have when speaking to your partner. Later, you’ll be able to zoom in closer (right thumbstick) to see additional “tiers” of dialogue options.
- Heartbeat mechanic/heart icon – The heart icon will consistently beat and pulse. The goal is to pick a dialogue option when the heart is at its biggest to earn you more affinity points. It’s like a “rhythm game” of sorts where you need to press a button at the right time.
- Heart icon affinity level – Inside the heart icon is your partner’s affinity level. The goal is to reach 100% (aka. “Rival” status).
- Mood status – This signifies how much your partner likes your flirting. The higher the mood status, the more the affinity points you’ll gain. Being able to, ahem, have a “special” conversation with your partner later is also dependent on the mood status.
- Minigame bar/timer/gauge – This bar will slowly deplete as time passes during each heart-to-heart minigame. It will also get depleted quickly depending on how much affinity you’ve acquired in a dialogue option, or the dialogue “tier” you’re selecting from.
- Character traits – In Alice’s example, she has “Benevolent” and “Motherly.” When you’re trying to raise her affinity, the percentages for these traits also increase. Once you reach 100%, you’ll obtain this as an “Art” in your Records menu. You’ll also obtain a companion’s affinity outfit once you attain 100% with both traits.
Note: Of the two character traits, the one at the top (ie. Benevolent for Alice) takes a lot longer to level up when playing the mini-game.
As mentioned earlier, you’ll have more dialogue options as you increase the affinity level and zoom in by moving the right thumbstick:
- Tier 1: Talk about yourself, talk about your partner, talk about love.
- Tier 2: Talk about the world, talk about battle, talk about food.
- Tier 3: Smile at them, gaze at them, look around.
- Tier 4: Hold their hand, pat their head, poke their cheek, hug them, sidle up to them, move your face closer.
Note 1: If you select the same dialogue option over and over, you’ll earn fewer affinity points even with perfect timing. You’ve gotta switch things up a bit.
Note 2: The more zoomed-in you are/the higher the tier, the slower the heartbeat is just to make it easier for you to time your dialogue selection right. However, this will deplete the minigame bar a lot faster.
Note 3: Since you can repeatedly engage in a heart-to-heart conversation as long as you’re in a town, you don’t really need to worry too much about running out of time.
In most cases, you’ll likely pick the tier 4 options. Due to the minigame bar’s depletion, though, you’ll probably be able to select only four before the minigame ends. There’s a nifty trick to counter this (which is something I haven’t fully figured out just yet).
Basically, you’ll select from different tiers, zooming in each time to make a selection. Here’s an example:
- Start with tier 1: Talk about love.
- Followed by tier 2: Talk about the world.
- Followed by tier 3: Smile at them.
- And, lastly, tier 4: Hold their hand.
Doing that with perfect timing prevented a major depletion of the heart-to-heart minigame bar. That allowed me to select more dialogue options before the minigame ended.
Note: One more thing, some heart-to-heart locations, such as the market in North Centoria, provide more affinity points (seen below).
Update: Boosting the top trait
Normally, the bottom trait will get leveled up faster and the top trait will lag behind. It looks like this is directly related to the symbols and colors you’re seeing on the HUD.
Most of the options will net you hearts (pink) which will pop up on the left side. However, there are others that will net you more musical notes (yellow), and these are seen on the right side. These “musical note” results tend to come from what I call the “friendzone” or “let’s be professional” dialogue choices. Examples include: “Talk about food,” “Pat them on the head,” “Sidle up to them,” or “Talk about battle.”
If the top character trait is lagging behind, then you should definitely consider choosing the options that give you musical notes to level it faster. In certain cases, the effects become beneficial to your entire party. For instance, Eugeo’s and Leafa’s “Diligent” trait adds a team-wide EXP boost depending on the trait’s level.
Making your move
Outside of the heart-to-heart minigame, you could initiate a conversation with your partner by pressing “B” on your Xbox gamepad. This will let you make some “moves.” Bear in mind, however, that the goal in Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris is the same as the real world — don’t come off too strong and don’t be an example from “r/niceguys.”
If the affinity level isn’t high enough and you attempt to hold hands or embrace your partner while in public, you’ll get rejected immediately. Your partner’s mood status will also drop considerably.
It’s time for some romance
Let’s say, however, that you were able to max out your partner’s affinity (100% – Rival) and you increased the mood status to level 4 (excited) or level 5 (content), you still want to make sure that you have a “strong relationship” with your partner (you’ll see this pop-up at the end of the heart-to-heart minigame if it case you’ve reached that threshold). If in case you have, then that’s when you’ll want to take things to the next step.
Make sure you’re outside Kirito’s Tent in North Centoria, face your partner and press “B,” choose “Embrace,” and watch Kirito sweep your partner off their feet.
Go inside Kirito’s Tent and you’ll have an option to “Share a bed.”
Note: If you don’t get the option to “Share a bed,” just exit the tent, remove your partner from the party, re-add them, then use the “Embrace” option again. Alternatively, stop carrying your partner (press the “A” button on the gamepad; I believe the equivalent for the keyboard is “X”). The mood level will decrease, so you’ll need to do another heart-to-heart minigame to boost it a bit until you see “excited” or “content.”
If everything goes well, the two will then have a conversation, and your partner will just be wearing their lingerie, nightgown, or pajamas. No actual “frisky” stuff going on here, so don’t worry.
After this, you’ll retain your affinity level with your partner, but the mood status resets. Don’t worry since you’ll be able to build it back up in no time.
Don’t forget to increase both character traits (ie. Benevolent and Motherly) to 100% as well as these would net you additional rewards such as their Arts/AI tactics or new armor (seen below). The armor (known as a “Prize Outfit”) can be equipped via the Status menu -> Visualize Attire screen.
Note 1: It seems only a select few companions will have unique outfits after you’ve maxed out their affinity. Examples include Eugeo, Alice, Asuna, Lisbeth, Sinon, and Silica; Medina and Sortiliena don’t have one.
Note 2: As for Kirito, he does have his own affinity outfit. His own traits increase as you continue to play Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris and if you’re doing the heart-to-heart minigame. Once both his traits are at 100%, just check your Visualize Attire tab to see the Prize Outfit cosmetic (seen below)