Accel World vs Sword Art Online is the embodiment of the word “boredom”. With a thin plot, wooden characters, and a rehashed gameplay system, Accel World vs SAO disappoints on all fronts.
Accel World vs Sword Art Online
Developer: Bandai Namco
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed), PS Vita
MonsterVine was provided with a PS4 copy for review.
Thus far, the Sword Art Online games don’t have a particularly great track-record when it comes to quality. While the last few have been sufficient action titles, their “too-perfect” characters and bland gameplay kept them from being great games. Unfortunately, that trend has not only continued, but worsened with the latest title in the Sword Art franchise.
The story of Accel World vs Sword Art Online is dry and predictable in terms of crossover games. Yui, Kirito and Asuna of SAO’s “daughter”, is kidnapped by a mysterious force. As soon as Black Lotus, of Accel World, appears, the two franchises collide over a misunderstanding. Things are soon worked out as they realize they are on the same side, leading to very little of anything really happening. It’s a paper-thin plot and what one would expect from the most basic of crossovers, which is a shame.
Even the characters never expand beyond the archetypes they very clearly personify, leading to a bland group of forgettable nobodies. These two series both have their own unique take on digital worlds and the trials of inhabiting them, so it would have been interesting to see a more thought-out crossover narrative.
Accel World vs SAO’s gameplay is its greatest fault, not because it isn’t functional, but because it is blatantly lifted from the past few games with no sign of improvement. LIke previous SAO titles, you’ll primarily run or fly around a large environment with a small party of characters. Battles play out through the use of real-time commands, with different attacks and special moves designated to different buttons on the controller. It’s fluid and smooth, but it lacks impact. Hits don’t feel satisfying, it’s easy to miss enemies entirely, and battles tend to blend together due to a lack of progression in terms of abilities.
The entire system is practically directly lifted from the previous SAO game, but with even less content. The character creation seen in Hollow Realization has been removed, meaning there is even less customization available. This lack of real personality combined with the uninteresting combat system leads to an overall forgettable experience, and one that is less than the sum of its already existing parts.
The visuals of Accel World vs SAO are thoroughly mixed, with gorgeous anime sequences divided up by shoddy in-game expressions. The environments and colors are pretty decent in terms of fitting different themes, but the character models prove to be problematic. Often will a dramatic cutscene occur in-engine that cannot be taken seriously, due to the blank expressions of the characters involved. While the voice actor may be passionately screaming their lines, it does not match their completely neutral expressions. It’s actually somewhat entertaining if anything.
Accel World vs SAO’s sound is the same as its visuals in that there are quality bits mixed in with ridiculously poor decisions. The previously mentioned voice acting is mostly exceptional, with plenty of emotion being put on display by the voice talents. Kirito sounds bored for most of the game, but he is the exception rather than the rule. The music is forgettable, but the most grievous audio sin lies in the once again in-game cutscenes. For some unfathomable reason, there is absolutely no audio outside of the voice acting. Swords will clash, portals will tear things apart, and yet there will be no sounds to accompany these events. It’s more eerie than anything, and is representative of this phoned-in title.
The Final Word
Accel World vs Sword Art Online is a recycled bore that does no justice to either of its franchises. Reused gameplay, ridiculous audio and visual oversights, and a story that’s more bland than saltines make this one title that even fans of the anime will get little from.
MonsterVine Rating: 2 out of 5 – Poor