Parents' Guide to

Accel World vs. Sword Art Online

By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

When worlds collide in this tale, it's a confusing mess.

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While merging two popular franchises should be an excellent experience, the result is a convoluted, nonsensical mess of a game experience. Dealing with fandom can be tricky. You need to stay true to the source material the fans love, but not alienate newcomers in the process. Oh, and then you have to actually make the whole thing fun. Accel World vs. Sword Art Online seemed to stop after the first third of that formula. For fans of the two popular franchises, the story is a dream come true. It makes perfect sense that these two stories set in virtual reality could cross over for an epic adventure. All the key players are here, with their distinct personalities, traits, and abilities firmly intact. Even from a gameplay aspect, playing characters from one series feels completely different from playing characters from the other. While hard-core fans will love this, it's unfortunately about the only thing the game seems to get right.

The game starts to fall apart right at the start. Unless you're already intimately familiar with what's happened in the Sword Art Online and Accel World novels and anime, things simply don't make a lot of sense. It's like walking into a theater halfway through the movie or starting a new book somewhere in the middle. You spend so much time trying to sort out what came before that you just can't get invested in what's happening in the present. It doesn't help that the game's controls are a sluggish and convoluted mess. Targeting is abysmal, characters move like they're fighting in molasses, and some of the avatars simply feel useless in battle. When out in the main game world, enemies surround you from every direction, including up. The problem with this is that only the Sword Art Online characters have the ability to fly. In fact, the controls vary substantially based on which franchise the character comes from. It feels like two separate games crammed together and fighting against each other for some sense of identity, and ultimately neither ends up being inviting to new players or even much fun to play.

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