Sword Art Online vs Accel world review –
Couple of things to start this review off. I like Sword Art Online (SAO) and I love Accel World. Both shows are a part of most of my favorite anime lists. I considerReki Kawahara, who created both worlds to be one of the best anime minds of this generation. So, this game had a lot of measure up to. I needed the game to feel like the anime for it to be at all engaging. I needed the characters to have smilar motivations in their heart that they had in the anime. I needed them to look, sound, and behave in a similar manner to the anime in or to like this game. So I guess what im a trying to convey here is that I have maybe higher standards than most others for this game. Bandai Namco have not done a bad job on that front. If you just want an action game based in the SAO world with all of the SAO flair, this game will probably work just fine for you. If instead you want a deep story that further fills out the SAO or the Accel world stories, your aren’t going to get that, so just stop reading now. If you just wanted a solid action game, with cool mechanics, and set in the ALO world, keep reading because this game is worth its price tag.
Despite my initial hopes, this game does not feature Black Lotus fighting against Kirito (except in one short instance early in the game), instead its about SAO and Acell world characters teaming up to save Yui. That may seems like a thin premise, because it is, but its enough to apparently enough o bring the two worlds together. I say bring the two worlds together becuae this game literally does bring them together, in the most literal smashy sense. The fields of Acell world are magically transported to green fields of ALO. Its not a far stretch to imagine the two worlds together, since they share such a similar premise, and that works well for the game.
If you enjoyed the aesthetics of either series this game will have some appeal to you, its got a lot of the same mechanics as the last Sword Art Online game. If you aren’t familir with it ill give you a quick run down. Movement is snappy, with a lot of dives and movement. Combat is complex but easy to master, there are no combos to speak of, but the game operates like an MMO. You can activate a series of moves like you might in tab lock mmo, with just a few button presses. I enjoyed the combat, found it both fun and engaging, even if some of the animations were sort of bad. There is a lock on mechanic and a minimap, and honestly it’s a pretty good recreation of an mmo, but ported to an action game.
The main difference to Lost Song is that the characters from Accel world cant fly. Instead they sort of jump really high. I don’t particularity mind this, and it keeps combat simple and fast. Remember how I said there weren’t any combos in this game? Instead you have a sort of meter, that you charge by using your basic attack, and then spend to do the more powerful moves. You can chain these attacks together to form a sort of combo, but since its just one button again and again im not counting it. The SAO characters feel far better in this system than the Accel world ones do, but I think that’s because Black Lotus cant fly (just sort of hover) Silver Crow can fly, but not in the same sense as all of the ALO characters.
Regretably the combat is where the fun ends in this game. The story is bland, the environments are a tedium to explore, and I even got tired of flying eventually. I got so tired of hunting for things like teleport locations and important spots, that should be on the map, that I eventually just gave up on using the map at all. There are at least dozens of side quests, and plenty to do. If you can figure out how to explore the map you will see plenty of other quests around. But, here again I came upon the problem of just not wanting to explore the map, due to its size, orientation and the general lack of map markers.
If you can struggle through the tough map, this game is pretty fun. I spent a lot of time playing as the SAO characters, because although Black Lotus and Silver Crow are well adapted, their moves just don’t feel quite like they fit. Characters are well written, anyone who watched either show will be pleased with that, and the case goes deeper than what I have already talked about. Later on in game you can create your own party by chosing characters from both franchises, and much to my suprise all of them are voiced. Sometimes you can tell that the games designers didnt expect you to have that character in that location, but even in that case they get spoken lines.
Finally lets talk about the graphics and character design. Since both SAO and Acell World have a pretty strong aestetic and well developed characters they have to be perfect here. And in many ways they are. There are a series of scripted cut scenes, as well as interactions that are basically Visual Novel panels. They seem to interchange pretty fully. I was immensely surprised to find full animated scenes as well. This greatly contrasted to in game engine scenes which were well lets just say, not great.
There is at least plenty to do. Between the overworld, leveling, side quests, and exploration, this is not a game that will leave you bored. There are even multiple buying and crafting shops in game, just like a real MMO. I wont talk a lot about them because honestly I forgot they existed for most of the game, but if you want to be the most powerful you will need to learn about these too. Trust me especially the synthesis shop will help you when you run in to the wall I ran in to about 5 hours in to the game.
Overall, this game falls just a bit short of what I was hoping. I wanted a better map, and some better interactions. But, I was still impressed with the characters, story, and depth of this game. The story may not be a perfect mate of the two worlds, and some of the cut scenes might be a bit rough, bit if you love either world, you should give this game a try. A solid 3.5/5