I'm in a VR state of mind!
I recently was able to get my hands on a review code from my friends at Bandai Namco for their game, Accel World VS Sword Art Online. Fans of the Sword Art Online series will want to pick this one up, but those fans never miss anything SAO related. The classic anime, Accel World, will be joining the SAO crew this time around so this should be an interesting collaboration!
To start out, like in most games, you can set the difficulty settings at the start of the adventure. The dialogue is only in Japanese but that’s on par with most Bandai Namco games based on Anime properties. It’s the rare Bandai Namco games that have both English and Japanese vocals to choose from. The game relies heavily on story/dialogue and that slows things down at times but it wouldn’t be a Sword Art Online game if it didn’t rely on dialogue to drive the story.
Your first jaunt into the game is the basic tutorial stage where you learn the basics of battle. You also learn how to switch between characters in your party because your party will be comprised of three so you should learn it early. If there is a lot of action on screen, it could make things a little complicated. There are shortcut icons on screen for quicker attacks and if there is more activity on screen you have the chance to use the wrong action. I have always considered the Sword Art Online games “button mashers” and Accel World VS Sword Art Online is no different in my opinion. As long as you know how to perform the strong attack, which you learn early on, and mix in some healing spells, you’ll be fine.
You’ll be able to play through the main story mode via episodes and the same can be said about side stories. You will need to activate the episode in the hub city by finding where the activation is. For the most part, the episodes start in the Dicey Café, the bar that your team resides in from time to time. That is the same place you can find a gallery full of illustrations and video clips from your journey. The farther you progress, the more you can unlock and one of the things you can unlock is multiplayer mode and online multiplayer mode.
For those who don’t know, the game takes place in the fairy world of Alfheim Online, where fairies fly free. Kirito and friends, and now you, play this game all the time and spend all their available free time there. The controls for flying are a little shaking at times but once you figure out how to take off, flying gets much easier. In past SAO games, taking off was a hassle but this time around, taking off is as simple as pressing the d pad.
Flying in general is pretty straightforward but there are some snags involved such as landing. The controls are supposed to be as simple as being able to use the same button twice to ascend and the same button once to descend. It is anything but that simple! When you want to land quickly, you find yourself going up sometimes. There were times where you wanted to fly quickly and up and it was a hassle. There is a maneuver where you can fly fast and straight but you don’t really have control to do anything else and it takes some time to break out of that pattern. This flight move makes it easy to travel quickly but it’s a pain to do anything after that.
While fighting, you have a stamina bar that drains but it replenishes. I have made it clear that I hate the idea of stamina in games but in this capacity it works for me. Attacks drain it but at the same time, you’re able to replenish it by using weak attacks. During battle, you have a Switch Bar that allows to welling, switching your character for another team member and freezes the enemy. You’ll be able to di major damage if you use the Switch Bar effectively. Attacks replenish the Switch Bar as well but it takes much more time to store energy for the Switch Bar so use it wisely.
You’ll also be able to buy items and weapons for you teammates as well as find treasure/items/weapons out in the world for your team to use. There are so many team members that you’ll find during your journey that there will be all kinds of items and weapons for them to use and for you to buy! Leveling up and battling enemies will be key but the game never had the “repetitive” feel to it like some RPGs do. There are quests and other missions to do that will help Accel World VS SAO alleviate the repetitive feeling it could have. You will be too busy killing a certain group of enemy or trying to kill a boss monster to care!
I’m giving Accel World VS Sword Art Online for the PlayStation 4 an 8.5/10. I would like to thank Bandai Namco for the review code.