Game Review: Accel World Vs Sword Art Online (PS4)

Accel World Vs Sword Art Online builds upon the foundations and ideals left-over from a side-story mission in Sword Art Online, an ideal which sees the characters from Sword Art Online and Accel World cross paths in order to deliver an independent story. Does this cross-over idea work? and more importantly is it any good? The answer is a hazy one but hopefully we will give you a rough idea of what to expect in our review of Accel World Vs Swort Art Online!

  Title: Accel World Vs Sword Art Online
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games Entertainment
Developer: Artdink
Platform: Playstation 4
Resolution: 1920 x 1080 (1080p)
Audio: Japanese
Subtitles: English (White)
Local Players: 1
Online Players: 2 – 3
Install: YES (9.7GB)

Our View:

When Bandai Namco Entertainment announced that Accel World Vs Sword Art Online, otherwise known in Japan as Accel World Vs Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight, would be getting a European release I was ecstatic that a game featuring two of my favourite IP’s would be coming westward. Unfortunately however this excitement was short lived, as upon diving into the corrupted world of Alfheim Online I learned that this wasn’t going to be the experience I had hoped.

Developed by Studio Artdink, and acting as a spiritual sequel to Sword Art Online: Lost Song, Accel World Vs Sword Art Online combines two of Reki Kawahara’s creations to deliver an independent experience that sees the characters, and worlds, of different times come together in order to stop a common threat. In short it is a story that sees notable characters from both Sword Art Online and Accel World, all of which are fully playable, team up to rescue Yui, who has been captured by a mysterious character known as Persona Vabel, as well as unravel the mystery surrounding the merger of their worlds.

This merger sees the world of Brain Burst, the game played within Accel World, and the VRMMORPG of Alfheim Online that’s played within Sword Art Online merge together. The result of this means that the world we once knew in Sword Art Online: Lost Song has changed; with giant skyscrapers, neon lights and new enemy types appearing across the world of Alfheim Online.

From a gameplay perspective Accel World Vs Sworld Art Online is played as Sword Art Online: Lost Song did; with Light and Heavy Attacks as well as Skill and Magic Attacks linked to button combinations when pressing R1, R2, L1 or the L2 button; all of which can be interchanged and upgraded. The only major change is the inclusion of Switch Attacks; whereby players can switch between characters in a team for an effective combination. It’s a feature similar to that found in Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization and it works just as effectively in this game.

Whether you plan to use Sword Art Online or Accel World characters the controls are the same but some characters, especially in the Accel World set, will offer more variety. For instance when Scarlet Rain becomes accessible you can use her armor ability to summon the Iron Fortress which delivers heavy amounts of fire power and long range attacks; just like she does in the anime.

Naturally each character offers their own set of exclusive skills and attacks but some similarities may occur; for example Leafa, Asuna and Lime Bell are great at healing while Kirito and Black Lotus are best at close combat with the latter even sharing the same attack patterns. As with any JPRG it is about finding balance within the team and with so many characters available for use the decision on who to use can be a tough one.

Unfortunately however while the Accel World Vs Sword Art Online retains the ‘Action-RPG’ experience, as well as the visual novel styled dialogue that helps move the story along, it does slightly drop the ‘fictitious’ offline MMORPG experience and replaces it with a traditional linear story. Don’t worry the MMORPG elements, such as exploring dungeons, forming teams, upgrading weapons and leveling up, all remain intact – but the focus of this game is primarily on the story of rescuing Yui and solving the mystery of this corrupted world.

For instance upon starting the game only Kirito, Asuna and Black Lotus (Kuroyukihime) will be playable, but by progressing through the story, which at this point simply means fly to the Yellow dotted icon on the mini-map, you will discover familiar characters and unlock them for use.

This process will continue for several hours to a point that it soon becomes quite repetitive; but occasionally, especially when encountering Accel World characters such as Scarlet Rain, Silver Crow, and Yellow Radio, these encounters will become boss battles and will offer a slight twist to the norm. This twist is that some of these characters are clones and that upon defeating them they will drop an item which unlocks access to a new portion of the game. Not all clones will drop an item; but they do act as the ‘Floor Boss’ for this game.

The process of finding characters, and in turn defeating clones, does become a repetitive process when playing through the story; but there is some method to this madness. For starters when the world of Brain Burst merged with Alfheim Online the system administrators opted to lock down access to certain aspects of the game – as a result characters were split up and access to zones were locked out.

As the system is running at ‘limited capacity’ players have to search for characters manually while defeating others, in this case clones of Accel World characters, in order to unlock access to other portions of the game. It makes sense, and it does work, but it does easily get repetitive. Ideally this portion of the game could have ‘mixed things up a bit’ by placing allies inside dungeons or forcing a side-quest to further progress forward within the main story, as this would at least offer some variety; but alas it is not to be.

Speaking of dungeons they are not like the dungeons found within other Sword Art Online games; as instead of being never-ending labyrinths they are simply single-floored with a boss at the end. These dungeons do not offer any real significance either and instead just offer a way for players to level up or take a break from the main story at hand.

Basically unless required, such as the encounter with Yellow Radio which requires a ‘slightly confusing’ puzzle to be solved within ten minutes, you do not have to explore these dungeons; which is a kind of a shame as they were put to good use within previous SAO Games.  On the positive side these dungeons do act as a great way for players to level-up or experience stronger monsters as the monsters in these dungeons are considerable stronger than those as part of the main story.

This same disappointment can also be said for Weapons, Skills and Upgradable stats; in previous SAO Games I would constantly change weapons and upgrade them. But in Accel World Vs Sword Art Online I never felt the urge to do this – even though the feature is available. It seems the game has been tailored for a story driven experience rather than an exploratory one.

This isn’t exactly a bad thing but it would have been nice, as with SAO: Lost Song, to explore dungeons with character themed side-stories and quests. It goes without saying that quests are available within the game; but they are not exactly forced upon you and instead require the player to go looking for them – and with so much to explore in both the hub world and open fields this can be a quite the challenge on knowing where to look.

It’s clear that Accel World Vs Sword Art Online did not offer the experience I had hoped nor did it provide the same enjoyment I received from Sword Art Online: Lost Song and sadly it only gets worse. For starters the visuals are not up to par with locations feeling rather bland and character models looking like they were designed for the PS2 rather than the PS4. Naturally a game should not be judged on visuals but when combined with frame-rate-drops and lack of spawning enemies when flying around you have to wonder where the effort went.

Interestingly that’s not all either; as a selection of in-game-cut-scenes do not feature any background noise or sound effects all of which disrupt the experience you expect to receive.  Basically the game feels incomplete and rushed which is a real shame as it has some great potential.

I may sound negative but it’s not all bad news; foremost Accel World vs Sword Art Online offers a great story that that manages to combine two franchises into a single experience and it is a story that is enjoyable to watch play out, even from a visual novel styled perspective.

Furthermore although the game does not present itself in the way you would imagine, especially in regards to side-stories, dungeons and quests, these are readily available within the game and will further expand the games lifespan – a lifespan which is already considerable large. Finally despite the visuals not looking that great the locations themselves are bigger than those released previously; thus allowing for more exploration and monster slaying.

Overall Accel World Vs Sword Art Online provides a Action-JRPG experience that brings the characters of Accel World and Sword Art Online into a single story in order accomplish a single goal. It’s an interesting story and one that will be enjoyed by those who like both franchises; but as a game it fails to meet the standards set by Sword Art Online: Lost Song and instead feels incomplete and rushed. It’s a good game that will bring in lots of play-time; but it is far from perfect.

Score: review-stars-3

Accel World Vs Sword Art Online is available for PS4 and PS Vita within the UK and Europe. The PS4 Version is available both physically and digitally whereas the PS Vita version is only available digitally.

About Scott Emsen
Scott is the Founder and Executive Editor of AnimeBlurayUK but in the past he has worked at ZOMGPlay, Rice Digital and Funstock and was once a Community Moderator for the Nokia N-Gage forums. Based in the UK, he loves anything related to Games & Anime and in In his spare time you'll mostly find him playing on one of his many gaming consoles; namely the PS Vita, PS4 or Xbox One.

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