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Accel World vs. Sword Art Online

Platform(s): PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Genre: RPG/Action
Publisher: Bandai Namco Games
Developer: Artdink
Release Date: July 7, 2017

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PS4 Review - 'Accel World vs. Sword Art Online'

by Michael Keener on Sept. 1, 2017 @ 2:00 a.m. PDT

Accel World vs. Sword Art Online is a dream anime action RPG crossover between two celebrated franchises from the mind of Reki Kawahara.

Buy Accel World vs. Sword Art Online

Crossovers are always touchy projects, but who doesn't like to see the cast of two great shows come together, especially if you enjoy both shows? The tricky part of mixing them, whether it's in show or video game form, is that you have to represent two fan bases without overshadowing or favoring a particular side. Accel World vs. Sword Art Online isn't amazing but is a decent crossover experience.

It's pretty self-explanatory, but in Accel World vs. Sword Art Online, the universes of Accel World and Sword Art Online have been smashed together to form one. Essentially, the worlds begin to intersect on a timeline — perhaps because one takes place a few decades in the future — and all hell breaks loose. The worlds don't treat each other like enemies, but something and someone is definitely to blame. As characters meet and interact with one another, new friendships are made. You play as Kirito, who sets off on a journey to find Yui, who went missing during the turmoil, and you end up taking on the Seven Kings of Pure Color. Players can expect to see familiar faces like Asuna, Black Lotus, Leafa, Silica and Silver Crow.

As in a majority of RPG titles, the goal of engaging in combat is to level up your character and party in order to better equip them with weapons and gear, and so they can strengthen their abilities. If you want to specialize in one-handed weapons, dual-wielding weapons, or ranged attacks, the customization to do so is available. There's a pleasant amount of variety regarding how you can play. Even better, the party system that allows you to have three characters running around together also allows you to switch characters on the fly without having to return to a specified area.

Not all characters can travel vertically, so you may need to run and fight as one character and then switch to another character to perform high jumps to reach the desired destination. This was one of my favorite features, even though it's a subtle feature. My party felt like a team rather than a couple of order-taking characters who follow me around and get stuck in the environment at the absolute worst times. It helps to smooth out combat encounters, especially when it comes to the many boss battles. Imagine fighting a huge wolf-like creature in the sky as you fly circles around him, just looking for an opening to swoop in and deliver some strong blows. The bosses are the highlights of combat, and they feel as strong as they appear in the scenes prior to combat.

The environments are big and provide a great amount of vertical play. It's more along the lines of an environment in Dragonball Z: Xenoverse rather than Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization. The characters' ability to fly and jump means that there's almost no limit to where you can explore. You won't feel excited or encouraged to do much exploring, though, since the environments are a little bland and empty. There's no rhyme or reason for a foe's presence other than to be basic punching bags as you traverse the map. Most of the time, I'd fly right over them.

I love the style of Sword Art games and other anime-based titles, but something felt slightly off with this game. Maybe it has something to do with how big and empty the environments are, but it also extends to the cut scenes and character animations. Although the external environments are somewhat empty, the fields and sky look amazing. I especially liked flying around and looking at the lush, grassy fields below me, and the pink and blue sky accent the horizon. The game shows off a lot of visual novel elements, which were also seen in previous releases. If reading a lot is acceptable to you, then this title provides quality story-progressing scenes without too much development time.

I have mixed feelings about English vs. Japanese voices in anime. I often prefer to be lazy and have the story told to me, but other times, I find it worth reading every line if it means that I don't have to put up with horrible voice acting. Regardless of your preference, AWvSAO has a really well-voiced Japanese cast.

The audio may be one of the better parts of the game, but you certainly feel the emotions during different segments. One moment that stood out was when Ash Roller was talking trash in his rough and rugged voice to Silver Crow about kicking his ass, and Silver Crow has a casual response, which dumbfounds Ash before Klein, another character, steps in to complain about the cold environment. It might not sound amazing — you had to be there — but it's that type of small banter that helps the game seem alive and interesting enough to keep progressing.

All in all, Accel World vs. Sword Art Online is a decent game comprised of both good and bad elements. The combat is fun and engaging when the camera doesn't battle you, but some enemies don't seem to have any fighting spirit. On the other hand, boss battles feel epic and test your preparation and patience, and multiplayer is a nice addition that offers a chance to battle friends or strangers. Players who can get past the empty-feeling world and underachieving story will find enjoyment in this title.

Score: 6.0/10

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