Accel World vs Sword Art Online brings together author Reki Kawahara’s most popular works together for the second time, following a brief crossover one-shot manga that happened in the past. With many similarities between the two series’, but many differences too, they blend together in an exciting and wonderful way.
When the users of VRMMO game Alfheim Online are asked to immediately log out, Kirito and his friends feel that this is odd and decide to investigate instead. Yui is quickly kidnapped as Kirito, Asuna and Black Lotus battle, with the latter quickly realising that she’s been tricked by the mysterious Persona Vabel to believe that Alfheim’s inhabitants are enemies. With the characters of Sword Art Online and Accel World both wanting to find out why their worlds have connected, they work together to take down Persona Vabel and save Yui.
As a big fan of both series’, it’s nice to see them come together in a fresh, unprecedented way. The Sword Art Online games have gotten better with each installment, but this is by far the best one. The banter between characters is natural and brings a smile to my face, and it’s nice seeing which characters hit it off from their first meeting — Klein and Ash Roller are two peas in a pod! It tells a solid story that kept me engrossed, with plenty of side-content and chances for the characters to interact.
The game will run you 30+ hours based on story and side-quests alone, but then there’s also co-op and PvP to play! Co-op allows you to tackle missions with friends, whilst PvP lets you battle against the AI or others online in a 1v1 duel — considering the amount of skills, hotkeys and combo opportunities there are, this genuinely comes down to a battle of skill and understanding of the games mechanics.
The gameplay makes the most of both series’ by providing unique characters to play with, with Sword Art Online characters being able to freely fly whilst Accel World characters – bar Silver Crow and Sky Raker – are not able to fly, but instead can rapidly jump extremely high. Accel World characters weapons are inbuilt into their forms, and so they cannot be changed like the weapons of everyone else, but all weapons can be upgraded. These little differences make both casts’ feel separate from one another, and they compliment each other very well — these series’ take place in the same world, after all! If you’ve played an MMO before, then you’ll come to grips with the game’s controls and hotkey system very quickly.
Unlike in an MMO, you can use light and heavy attacks in-between skills, but there’s a great deal of customisation options as you’d expect! There are various weapons, each with their own unique skills, that characters can wield and it’s wise to have different weapons for each of your three party members. Characters don’t level up unless they’re being used though, so try and make time to use all of your favourites! You can upgrade weapons, and buy a variety of armour, accessories and other bits to strengthen your characters.
Visually this is the best game in the series, but it’s lacking in power and I’d like to see the engine given an overhaul for the next title. Both series’ have their own art style which is reflected in the gorgeous 2D portraits, making it easy to tell who hails from where, and they come together in a way that isn’t jarring or unnatural. Characters look great and how the areas incorporate elements of both worlds makes the fan in me ecstatic, although the dungeons feel very similar to one another. The Vita suffers from some slowdown when flying around and in battle, but the PS4 version runs smoothly and is the version that I’d recommend — there’s cross-save if you want both, though!
There’s no English dub (will we ever see a Sword Art Online title with an English dub? Maybe not…) but many of the anime’s Japanese voice-actors and actresses return to reprise their roles which is lovely. The soundtrack is solid too!
Accel World vs Sword Art Online is a brilliant game which brings two of my favourite worlds together, and it’s the best Sword Art Online game to date. A lengthy story, plenty of side-quests, PvP, co-op and entertaining interactions between the incredibly large cast will keep you engaged for dozens of hours. You can play as pretty much any notable character from each cast which is exciting, although only having three people in a party means you’ll be sweating over who to take into battle! Accel World vs Sword Art Online is fantastic and a delight for fans, and it’s also a good entry point into each series.