I'd like to make this review as short and as concise as possible given that I am only starting to create reviews.
Most of the reviews that I read about SAO all talk somewhat negatively of the said anime adaptation of the popular novel series. I never read an entire volume myself but I tried to read a bit and I was utterly amazed at how different the novels are from the animation.
To tell the truth, I was hooked badly through the first episode. There's that great concept of survival and death playing around in the minds and hearts of all the players trapped in the game. These concepts were well laid out in the first episode looking at the actions and conversations of the players. However, the great concepts were easily wiped out or dismissed as the story went by too fast. To be honest, I thought I was missing an episode during the first episodes. I had to look it up and found out that I wasn't missing any and that I was left puzzled by the odd flow of the story line. This goes on for the rest of the show which isn't that appealing.
The only that thing that was quite memorable from watching SAO are the animation and soundtracks I experienced as a viewer. It sent chills down my spine whenever a boss battle came up given the fantastic animation accompanied with killer BGM. I guess this can be considered as the strong point of SAO.
I thought the protagonist, Kirito, was too overpowered and lucky to have all the perks in playing SAO and ALO. Well, he outshines the other players which isn't that great of a build for a protagonist. I wouldn't expect the story to improve if the protagonist has already the powers and perks you would expect that he would only attain in the end. Also, talking about the different characters. Some, I found irritating and some truly unnecessary which also degrades the whole story line in a sense.
Having SAO as an anime adaptation of what we experience through MMORPGS was a little letdown. I was a bit disappointed with the execution as it left out crucial and critical concepts that could have been very much enjoyable for the common everyday MMORPG player, gamer, anime addict or even escapists all around.