Sword Art Online has received 3 games on the PS4 and PS Vita so far. These games were generally well received among the fans but the formula was starting to get a little repetitive. Kirito and his friends could only have so many adventures before feelings of deja vu started to hit. Thankfully the latest game is a positive step forward for the series which is essentially a crossover of the world in Sword Art Online with Accel World.
Accel World is the creation of Reki Kawahara who also created Sword Art Online. Both of them carry the same story premise with a virtual online world that the main characters can roam around, so it was relatively simple to combine them for a crossover. The result of the crossover is surprisingly positive and works well in the context of the story. Since the creator has implied in the past that both series are set in the same world sharing some common traits, it wasn’t surprising to see the story come together in this game.
The story is focused on the strange disappearance of Yui, who is an artificial intelligence fairy in the world of Alfheim Online. Her disappearance coincides with the appearance of characters from Accel World and we soon learn that someone evil is trying to kill all fairies from Alfheim Online in order to destroy the virtual world. This turns out to be the work of The Witch of Twilight. To deal with this issue, the two sides from Accel World and Sword Art Online come together and unite in the fight against The Witch of Twilight.
In term of the story content, there is not a lot to go here. Cutscenes are shortened now so you won’t spend much time in reading the dialogue and instead the focus is on creating a functional story. The combat is surprisingly fun once you get around to playing with it. You can string together combos or perform a variety of special moves to kill enemies and you can also fly anywhere on the battlefield to defeat them. The combat allows you to chain skills to perform a set of attacks and it works well, although feeling janky at times. The addition of multiple characters allows you to perform special skills of each character that helps keep the flow of battle. You can change to a different character easily in the middle of a battle.
There are a lot of characters from the Aceel World and Sword Art Online that will be unlocked as you progress through the story. You can have up to 3 party members at a time so you will have to pick the best characters for your party from the list of available characters. Since each character plays differently and comes with its own set of advantages, you will have to carefully consider the party members before you embark on the story missions.
Just like the past Sword Art Online games, there is a lot to do in the world of Alfheim Online in this new game but unfortunately the exploration isn’t always a good experience thanks to the lack of proper direction. You will have to rely on the map to make your way around the world and it is easy to get lost as you explore the world of Alfheim Online. I remember that this used to be an issue in the past games as well and the same appears to the case here. The objectives will sometime make you scratch your head as you try to follow the markers. However it is not all that bad as you can later teleport to different areas.
If you get outside the main hub, exploration can be quite fun with some secrets hidden around the world map. You have the ability to fly with some of the characters so you can easily come across treasure, some tough enemy encounters or optional dungeons, as you make your way around the world map. You can also find plenty of side content from the main hub aside from the story missions. You can also attempt a new game plus mode after you are done with the game or unlock additional story chapter. If there is one thing that the game doesn’t lack, it is the replay value.
Accel World vs. Sword Art Online is not strictly a single player game because it also has a decent multiplayer mode tacked on the main game. This mode, while not as fun as the single player, still offers some decent amount of fun with the multiplayer allowing up to 8 players in a co-operative battle. You can fight some powerful foes in this mode letting you unleash the skills you gathered by completing the main game.
Finally I was able to check out the game on both the PS4 and the PS Vita. You can view a comparison of the game running on both platforms from here. The main thing to note here is the severely downgraded visuals although I felt the frame rate was good enough the PS Vita dipping only when there were a lot of particle effects on screen. The PS4 and PS Vita version of the game also feature cross-save which makes it easier to continue the game from one platform to the next. Unfortunately the visuals are not that great to look at for either platform and the frame rate also hitched at certain point on the PS4, which was disappointing to see.
Accel World vs. Sword Art Online Review (PS4/Vita)
Game Reviewed on: PS4/Vita
Game description: Accel World VS Sword Art Online is an Action RPG to be published by Bandai Namco Games for the PlayStation Vita (PS Vita) and PlayStation 4 (PS4) as a crossover game adaption between the Sword Art Online and Accel World franchises.
An intriguing story premise and refreshing fast paced combat keeps Accel World vs. Sword Art Online from becoming another dull action RPG.