Accel World vs. Sword Art Online (PlayStation 4) Review

By Drew Hurley 05.08.2017

Review for Accel World vs. Sword Art Online on PlayStation 4

The franchise of Sword Art games on the PlayStation platforms has built up its own story and mythos, with titles that have expanded on the story from what came in each previous installment. Now, that the series is getting a crossover with, VRMMO-based, anime series, Accel World. Could this set up a new bunch of games for it too, and can it continue to develop the Sword Art PlayStation story? Take a look to find out.

When the game opens it feels like the next natural instalment of the long running Sword Art Online PlayStation series. Name dropping characters and events fully expecting the audience to be familiar with them all, and to be honest, those are the ones that will actually enjoy this. The mechanics, the gameplay, the story - all made very similar to the other titles, especially Sword Art Online: Lost Song, with some minor changes here and there. As the game goes on though, Accel World's characters and plot threads begin to come to the forefront.

Around half way through, this feels more like an Accel World storyline with the SAO characters included - which makes sense to be fair. Sword Art Online has the bigger fandom, it has had numerous titles, and if they want to use this as a method of attracting new fans it's the right way to do so. Those knowledgeable of both franchises will know that the first problem with a crossover between the two is the dates these are set. There are around twenty years between them that need to be accounted for, and this is a key point of the whole story.

Screenshot for Accel World vs. Sword Art Online on PlayStation 4

While Kirito and crew are playing through Alfheim online (when will the devs realise that people prefer Aincard and the stupid flying is not fun?) minding their own business, some rogue program ends up capturing Yui and trapping her in a mysterious tower. They also bump into Kuroyukihime from Accel World and form something of an alliance to take back Yui and help find Sacchan's friends before finding them a way home. As the story develops, it turns out that the link between the two games is a side effect from a time traveller a thousand years in the future known as the Twilight Witch coming back to this time, with the intent of sealing and destroying Yui for some reason.

As crossover stories go, it's not too bad. It combines the two distinct universes together by having SAO's "Cardinal System" that crafts the virtual world trying desperately to combine the worlds, resulting in the familiar fantasy zones of ALO and peppering them with post-apocalyptic style buildings. The cast treks across these zones, reuniting with more and more of Black Lotus' friends along the way, and getting closer to finding out the truth about the Twilight Witch and the mysterious enemy. The story that the SAO games have been building hasn't always been fantastic, and this one doesn't quite even live up to the previous games, but it's interesting to see this now huge story having developed independently over the course of the game.

Screenshot for Accel World vs. Sword Art Online on PlayStation 4

There are some fan-favourite returning characters too, like Seven, Philia, Strea, and others. What's most impressive, though, is that the story manages to juggle these in pretty well along with the Accel World's Burst Linkers for an absolutely gargantuan cast. Unfortunately, the combat system feels lifted completely from Sword Art: Lost Song and that's not a good thing.

It is not particularly enjoyable with a repetitive mashing of buttons against enemies and bosses alike, and while there is a little extra depth added by switching between characters and chaining special attacks, these are hardly needed. The worst part of the combat, however, is the air combat. The flying mechanics are not well developed and attempting to fight in a 3D space just gives a horribly frustrating experience.

Screenshot for Accel World vs. Sword Art Online on PlayStation 4

Another element that feels identical to Lost Song, is the heavily MMO-based elements. In town there is a quest board which has the usual quests, like "kill 50 slimes," "kill 50 skeletons," collect 20 bones," and so on, along with the newly introduced random occurring quests, which, when enough of them are completed, unlock a nice surprise in an arena back in town. These MMO style quests along with the clunky crafting system make the game feel very dated, though.

There are also a few places in here where the difficulty jumps up, and these quests, along with some tedious grinding, is really required before continuing on. There are lots of little issues with the overall presentation too. When it cuts to FMVs the audio often drops off to just silence; no background music, no sound effects, just silence. Take for example the introduction of Silver Crow, who appears atop a roof and bursts his wings out… all in silence - oddly distracting and ruins any sort of impact the moment would have had. The characters suffer from terrible lip synching and motion capture too, making every FMV moment feel completely lacklustre.

Screenshot for Accel World vs. Sword Art Online on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

Those who have played through each iteration of Sword Art Online titles will enjoy this, although it does little new in the gameplay section, and just feels more of the same, just with a new story for Kirito and his team, along with the introduction of what is actually a fun franchise, with the inclusion of Accel World. The problem is that the core mechanics are horribly flawed, and the gameplay quickly becomes dull and repetitive. One for the hardcore fans only this time.

Developer

Artdink

Publisher

Bandai Namco

Genre

Real Time RPG

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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