+Offers up a unique experience by mixing two VR based MMO worlds into a single narrative
+Fixes some of the issues with flight from SAO: Lost Song
+Sound effects, music, and dialogue are dead on for fans of the anime.
-Constant frame rate drops on PlayStation Vita
-Controls can be slightly clunky, which takes away from the experience
-Games AI has a tendency to wander off in combat and attack different targets
If you’re a fan of Sword Art Online, there’s no doubt that it’s a great time to be alive. Games, anime’s, manga’s, and even plenty of collectibles. This is where publisher Bandai Namco comes in to play. They’ve decided we haven’t had enough of the franchise and to their advantage, they’re right, and fans respond by heading to their retailers to purchase the latest releases for the franchise. With Sword Art Online -Hollow Realization- having only released a few odd months ago, we’ve now got the latest installment in the virtual world series, which was created by Reki Kawahara.
The long-term result of this game? It’s quite honestly one that serves up an exciting bit of gameplay for fans to enjoy. Unlike what you’d expect, Accel World vs Sword Art Online is a bit of a different twist than what you’d be expecting. Instead of seeing the two sets of characters fighting each other, the game sets it up so that both sets of worlds are working together to rescue the virtual world of Alfheim Online from complete and total annihilation.
The cause of the premise is just as expected. Yui manages to disappear, when she does, Alfheim Online and the Accelerated World begin to merge, with the merger comes cast members from both franchises interacting and eventually teaming up to stop the ultimate ending to Alfheim/Sword Art Online from happening. Due to both anime franchises sharing similar themes, there’s little to no doubt that this merger works quite well, and needs to do very well to prevent the franchises from feeling as if they are forced to co-exist.
This possibility allows the game to be rather enjoyable, much as would be expected for fans of the franchise, and their enjoyment is even more possible as they take on the role of playing their characters. Those familiar with Sword Art Online: Lost Song will notice that the game will seem rather familiar with how it plays. The mobility and combat controls are directly from the game, which makes it quite fun, especially due to the flying elements within the game. With the Accel World characters sharing rather familiar mobility options, the game serves up a rather entertaining benefit since they can move rather quickly to disperse aerial enemies.
To add, each characters do wield their own sets of weaponry while also utilizing different abilities in combat. While flying around fighting seems quite simple and mostly pass without a challenge, boss battles are easily more challenging for players to undertake. They don’t just perform as a spot for challenge, they also bring forth mechanics that players must adhere to. While players will find this a challenge, the even bigger challenge comes with the AI itself being rather hard to work with from time to time, and players will need to be prepared to eliminate the bosses as needed.
Combat is no doubt something that stands solid and for the PlayStation Vita version, it’s quite simple to manage thanks to the commands being tied to the right bumper and the face buttons. The downside away from using the D-pad for flight as well as cancelling flight? The environments, at times, can come off as bland and underwhelming in comparison to the lively city that players will get to explore. Fans will also find themselves cringing at minor nuances such as teleport areas not being highlighted on the map, or quest markers that seem rather odd comparison to other RPGs since they don’t always appear.
What can be even more frustrating about the PlayStation Vita version? Frame rate drops are consistent when not in the city. Depending on the battles, they can be almost irritating for those who prefer a smooth experience. While this can be something to easily ignore, it does take away from the immersion that the game offers up over the course of almost thirty hours of playtime. Though this isn’t anything new if you have played the others. Perhaps it’s intentionally put there to show the discord that the games worlds are falling victim to.
If you’re one looking for a rather enjoyable experience, both can offer this, especially in the elements of both main story and side-quests. Just as Accel World vs Sword Art Online offers, fans get to take on side-quests that play out in true MMO fashion, and they all come in different sizes. Some will be a simple “go find this item” while others will come out as slaying a specified amount of certain enemies that may only spawn in certain areas of the games world.
Much as one would expect, the game does offer another chapter after completing the games main story, and will even get to take on this new story. While it’s brief, the extra chapter is quite enjoyable and will deliver a small sense of nostalgia thanks to what it offers and the story that unfolds. For those looking to know if the multiplayer component exists in this one, it does. It is a rather nice addition to the game since it brings the true feel of an MMO to life, and it allows players to bring the characters they enjoy into the multiplayer while burning down enemies with friends.
For users using the Vita you may find a bit of a learning curve while trying to switch out characters. This is largely in-part, due to players having to use the touchscreen in order to swap them in and out. While this sounds difficult, the difficulty is alleviated due to the games on-screen tutorials that offer rather in-depth analysis to the games controls and what players need to do in order to play the game to its fullest.
Accel World vs Sword Art Online: Millenium Twilight
Platforms: PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita (Reviewed)
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Release Date: Available Now
Cost: $59.99 USD | $39.99
While cross-over games such as this one seem to usually struggle, it seems that Bandai Namcoknew what they were in for when bringing two of anime’s most appreciated franchises together. Since Accel World vs. Sword Art Online does feature both, it blends both universes quite nicely, and offers a narrative that will immerse players who may not have watched the anime series. Even with Vita version being the one we were given for review, it may suffer from small technical flaws that are caused by the hand-helds limited capabilities, it’s still a game that’s rather fun, and quite enjoyable once players get past the games introductory missions.
Regardless if you are a fan of Accel World or Sword Art Online, the games experience is worthwhile and will keep players amused for hours on end thanks to its massive amount of content. For Vita owners, this will surely be one that will need to be added into the library of games you own, and the same could be said for owners of Sony’s PlayStation 4. Here’s to hoping that one day we will see it land on the Nintendo Switch.
Our review is based upon a retail version provided to us by the games publisher. For information about our ethics policy please click here.
Final Score: 7 out of 10
About the Writer:
Dustin is our native console gamer, PlayStation and Nintendo reviewer who has an appetite for anything that crosses the boarders from across the big pond. His interest in JRPG’s, Anime, Handheld Gaming, and Pizza is insatiable. His elitist attitude gives him direction, want, and a need for the hardest difficulties in games, which is fun to watch, and hilarity at its finest. You can find him over on Twitter, Google+, and or you can find him on PSN with RaivynLyken.