Unfortunately, A-1 is continues to fail to live up to their Ordinal Scale success with WOU P2. Both the art quality and direction have been dropping since the beginning of Alicization and ironically, the reviews for this anime are equally as bad, with the top review claiming to have seen all 11 episodes before the 4th ep even aired or praising the art/animation as the only thing of merit when it's clear that there's been a significant drop in quality.
War of Underworld continues to get butchered by poor decisions leading to the audience lacking a clear understanding as to what's going on. Major issues stem from the lack of details in Alicization and WOU P1, however, that isn't to say P2 is without fault. Many deeper elements of the story are skimmed while 'key' points of the story are spoon fed to the audience with monologue. To put into perspective, an iconic scene from the lightnovels, depicting Kirito's trauma's and development as a character has been replaced with an anime-original recap sequence which not only confuses the audience, but also changes the premise of Kirito's character in the anime entirely. Another notable cut is the removal of Kayaba's stating a potential reason for trapping 10,000 players in SAO and the explanation of his character which ties into the core premise of SAO as a franchise.
Art & Animation: 6/10 [+1] (7/10)
The Art and Animation are aspects that are exclusive to an Anime Adaptation of a written work which ultimately play a huge role in determining whether the adaptation has any merits or not. However, the backgrounds were the only thing praiseworthy in this adaptation of Alicization until the 8th episode. If you've been paying attention to the many fights in the adaptation of Alicization, there's a clear trend of battles being prolonged with "sword locks" or two characters having a shoving match with their swords, instead of a real battle taking place (most likely to save time and effort rather than drawing out extended battle scenes). Some scenes look horrendously out of place with characters eyes replaced with literal cartoon dots and curves or just an absurd lack of detail and incorrect proportions. And the severe lack of any form of fight choreography in certain battles ruins the immersion.
However, during the 8th Episode, a lot of these issues are redeemed with the climax of the arc taking place. It's not to say the quality of the entire episode is on a different level compared to the rest of the season, but the most important scenes are clearly of a higher quality than anything that took place before, comparable to the visually appealing Ordinal Scale movie.
The biggest fault in the art and animation has to be the inconsistency as the quality of the art bounces between good, decent, and terrible without a clear standard or bottomline, as if every animators works were improperly stitched together, making it difficult for the anime to be engaging or immersive if the quality of animation distracts you.
Sound: 9/10 [-1] (8/10)
The music and sounds in an anime are the 2nd and only other element completely unique in an adapted work and play a large part in engaging the audience and provoking specific emotions. The original soundtracks for SAO by Yuki Kajiura have and always will be incredibly impressive. However, due to poor directing or management, a certain episode starts off blaring with climax music (variation of the iconic Swordland) with no build up, focus, and straight in the middle of a large scale battle and another episode has the climax music inserted way too late with the most intense portion of the song playing when the battle has already concluded. The ost building up the climax elevates Alicization WOU P2 sounds to a 9/10, however, the poor placement of every other ost leads to the [-1].
Characters: 9/10 [-2] (7/10)
The Alicization arc praised to be the best Arc within SAO and undoubtedly the longest within the novels has the most character development as it should. Or at least it should have. While it's undeniable that the characters develop the most during this adaptation, a major issue is, that a lot of the development is cut short or cut entirely compared to the novels. Any side character that was introduced in this adaptation will only have an introduction with absolutely no development and any future appearances severely cut short, and our main heroine Asuna suffers the most with more than half of her battles, thoughts, and emotions cut from the anime. The anime-only reappearance of Eiji and Yuna was poorly executed and leave more questions than answers and the greatest flaw is the incredibly poor decision to add an inappropriate anime-only recap into a crucial portion of a main character Kirito's internal struggles leading to Kirito's portrayal not only feeling lacking compared to the novels, but completely straying away and undeniably more unrelateable.
Enjoyment: 7/10 [+1] (8/10)
While enjoyment of an anime is very subjective, anyone who has followed the anime up until this point won't find this conclusion boring with battle after battle, every single one of which significantly better than what we've seen against the integrity knights in Alicization cour 2. Thanks to an engaging and visually impressive climax battle, it's safe to say a fair amount of viewers won't be left completely disappointed with this final cour.
Although there's no doubt SAO Alicization War Of Underword Part 2 is not as good as it could have been, it definitely is not a terrible conclusion to the Alicization arc. Due to some unfortunate and poor decisions, the experience an anime-only viewer gets is incomplete and leaves them to come to their own conclusions in more than one points in the story. This final cour to a ridiculously ambitious 4 cour anime project, scheduled only a single year after the release of ordinal scale, was met with not only staff issues, according to rumors, but a global pandemic occurring at the original scheduled release of this season, which can only be summed up as unfortunate circumstances experienced by the viewer.