I’m an avid fan of both Accel World and Sword Art Online, the light novels of which are both penned by author Reki Kawahara, and so when a cross-over game was announced I was ecstatic. The Sword Art Online games have only gotten better with each iteration, and this is the best one yet.
Kirito and friends are playing VRMMO game Alfheim Online when a sudden announcement is made to have all users immediately log out. Finding this to be strange, they stay logged in to find that the world they’re familiar with is merging with another, mysterious world. Yui is shortly kidnapped by an unknown person as the Accel World characters make their appearance, and both casts team up to find their missing friends and rescue Yui, and to defeat the new threat that’s laying attack to both of their worlds.
Sword Art Online games have only gotten better with each iteration, and this is the best one yet.
So in my time on this planet, I’ve learnt that “vs” doesn’t actually necessarily mean a battle or a competition, but that it’s regularly used as a term for crossovers in Japanese media. Outside of specific game modes, the two groups of characters become friends with each other very quickly, and the way they banter is great fun. A solid story brings them all together with many mysteries to be solved, and I’ve very much enjoyed all of the interactions and variety in characters — you can pick pretty much any relevant character in both series, though unless you read the Accel World novels then a few of them will be unfamiliar to you.
Similar to the games before it, Accel World vs Sword Art Online plays like an offline MMO, though you can still play online with friends! You have to hotkey your skills and items so that you can access them quickly in battle, and managing them is easier than you’d think at first glance. If you’ve played an MMO before, like Final Fantasy XIV, then you’ll pick it up quickly but unlike an MMO, you have standard weak and strong attacks you can perform in-between skills too.
Each character can use a variety of weapons and each weapon has its own skills, so ideally you should choose one and stick with it, and each has a uniquely different feel such as how fast they perform or how much damage they do. The katana in particular is a beast of a weapon, and although it’s much slower in combat than, say, a dagger, its strength makes it one of the best weapons in the game.
It’s exciting to play around with the many characters.
You can have three characters in a party but sadly the characters in reserve (and there are many of them) won’t level up unless you use them. To make all characters viable, you have to do a lot of grinding but I mostly stuck with Leafa, Rain, and Sky Raker. Side-missions focus on certain characters so some will prove to be very challenging if you find yourself never using them, but if you prepare them with good equipment and items, then you should be able to brute force your way to victory.
The difference between the Accel World and Sword Art Online characters is made evident in battle because, as you may know, Accel World characters outside of Silver Crow and Sky Raker aren’t capable of flight. Instead they can jump extremely high and do so often and whilst this is quicker than flying, it isn’t quite as smooth as flying when you want to go exploring. The Accel World characters all run much faster, though. The casts may be similar in many ways, but Artdink have made them feel very different in-game and it’s exciting to play around with the many characters.
While co-op is great fun, you can also fight against the AI and your friends via the game’s PvP mode. Battle a friend in an intense 1v1 battle where anybody can win because much of it depends on the skills you’ve set to your character, their equipment, and how you string your skills together — some skills naturally go into other skills, and so they’re performed without delay.
Visually it’s better than its predecessors, but it still feels rather dated in comparison to its competition — perhaps because it’s also on Vita. That said, the game performs without issue on PS4 and the way both the series’ casts and worlds have been brought to life is wonderful. Sadly, the game does ultimately look a little dated despite its great and creative art and design. It’d be great to see both of these series have their excellent visual done full justice one day, but this gets the job done the best so far.
The series’ casts and worlds have been brought to life is wonderful.
The new city of Ryne is gorgeous with its neon lights and its high population, and it’s small enough that everything you need is comfortably close at hand. The areas are a mix between Sword Art Online and Accel World, opting to bring parts of each universe together as opposed to fully re-creating each series’ worlds. There aren’t many of them but the cutscenes are awe-inspiring and I love how Artdink animate them. I’m eager for more and hope, that one day, the games get a bit closer to their cutscene peers.
There’s sadly no English voice-acting but many of the Japanese voice talent reprise their roles from the anime, and they all do a fantastic job. The soundtrack is decent too with both worlds and their atmosphere being captured in music.
An enjoyable, engrossing adventure in two of my favourite worlds.
I’d spent 25 hours with Accel World vs Sword Art Online before I knew it, and I enjoyed every moment. I was only a little over halfway through the game at that point too! An impressive amount of story and side content kept me busy and entertained for dozens of hours, and I found myself itching to play it at various times of each day. With so many characters to choose from and an engaging story which brilliantly brings Reki Kawahara’s most popular works together, Accel World vs Sword Art Online is an enjoyable, engrossing adventure in two of my favourite worlds, and it’s one that fans will love.
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