Accel World VS. Sword Art Online Deluxe Edition throws you in — into the combat and into the character progression and into everything else this JRPG has to offer.
Accel World VS. Sword Art Online Deluxe Edition is an anime-styled JRPG crossover that’s set in a VRMMO and features an intriguing story setting that progresses in an episodic fashion. The title features complex and rewarding combat, and a rich cast of characters from both the Accel World and Sword Art Online series (however, it helps to know about both series to appreciate and truly understand the story). The amount of characters and their skills ensure there’s always something to level. This edition includes the DLC Castaway from Another World, granting additional characters and weaponry, along with new bosses to challenge in the Infinite Dungeon.
There’s a tutorial that serves as an introduction to combat, but soon you’ll be in a city and more or less on your own. This JRPG throws you in — into the combat and into the character progression and into everything else this release has to offer. My advice is to explore the city and the menus, and revisit the tips. There’s likewise an overwhelming amount of controls to which the tutorial introduces you. Even so, I had to consult the control mapping to find a certain action, despite the belief that I’d nearly mastered them. Combine the in-depth control mechanisms and their shortcuts, dodges and evasive techniques, and the ability to switch characters (and perform switch attacks), with the fact that you can fly and perform aerial attacks... not to mention that particular characters have a high jump ability and can rush toward an enemy in a split second, regardless of distance; it’s complicated at first, but doesn’t seem overly convoluted once you’re comfortable with the controls (I played with a controller).
Aside from this overwhelmingness of getting a handle on what each button does, combat is smooth and rewarding. Slight lag occurs while exploring, but nothing major. Using a skill leaves you vulnerable for a few seconds, making their usage risky. You may use a skill immediately after the first one to initiate a skill connect combo, which increases the damage output. If you have the right setup, you can connect several skills.
The amount of characters, customization, and depth of individual progression is at once staggering and overwhelming.
Not only do characters level: so do their skills. I’m unsure what the level cap is for either value, but skills do go above one hundred — there’s an achievement for getting a skill to five hundred. This steam discussion suggests that the level cap is twelve hundred . Each character starts at or above one hundred, though. As you use a character more, they can unlock more skills. You equip these onto a shortcut for quick usage, and each character has four pages of shortcuts. On a controller, you may cycle between the first two pages and the second two pages by pressing down the right analog stick.
New characters join at certain parts of the story or occasionally by speaking with people in town. At just over a few hours into it, I had fifteen people in my roster. Leveling a character is easy — you may increase ten levels early on with just a handful of skirmishes — and a level 110 player can take out an enemy that is forty levels above with relative ease, though such an enemy delivers crushing blows that can decimate your health. But, if you can evade and withdraw from battle temporarily to heal, you won’t have much of a problem with this section.
The first map, after the intro of the story, isn’t all that big, but you can fly upward to reach floating ledges, which might host a horde of monsters or treasure. As you progress and break barriers, this map expands. Even if this map isn’t huge, it never feels empty. Enemies are plentiful each time you enter a map, and at times a sudden quest with a time limit emerges. There’s no penalty for avoiding this quest; perhaps it might prove prudent to do so in certain circumstances. The rewards of these are worth the minute or two they take to complete. Along with the overworld of a map, you may also enter into smaller dungeon-like areas which can offer powerful loot but also powerful enemies. These areas are worth checking out, not only for the loot but also because certain quests’ enemies are hiding there. It seems harder to initiate flight while in a dungeon: the best way is to lock onto a flying enemy.
Within the town, there are a few shops, a smithy, and a cafe. There’s also a multiplayer option and an arena you unlock after you complete several episodes (they’re short, at least early on). The arena shows floating cubes that signify the contamination of the various locations. Completing sudden quests help abate the contamination. A quest board lies just outside the cafe. Here, you may accept and turn in challenge quests and extra quests. The former quests often require you defeat so many foes of a given type or collect some amount of an item. The quests under the extra section include defeating a formidable boss (these, you may repeat). Inside the cafe, you may speak to people to jump-start the next episode. Through exploring and defeating enemies, you may find items that you must take to a shop to identify. There’s also a synthesize and enhance system at the smithy, which levels up after repeated use. If you enhance a weapon to its max, you may then transform it. It loses its modifications but increases in rank, ultimately increasing damage output.
Other features you may find in this release include titles and affinity. You obtain titles by accomplishing a feat, whether a combo of a particular length or dealing three thousand damage in a hit, or playing the game for so many hours. These don’t seem to affect the gameplay per se but provide the player incentive to continue playing — setting aside the engrossing story and engaging combat — and a sense of accomplishment. Plus, you may equip the title of which you’re most proud. I came across the affinity system by happenstance in a tip while a map loaded. As you play more with another character in your party, affinity increases. There isn’t a numerical value for this parameter, but I have noticed a handshake icon in the menus. If you raise characters’ mutual affinity, this could result in bonus stories.
AW VS. SAO Deluxe Edition is a superb JRPG that features a wide array of characters, depth of customization and leveling, and fairly smooth combat. You might feel overwhelmed at first with all of the controls and skills this has to offer, but it’s worth it. If you’re unfamiliar with either series, you might not be able to enjoy the story as much, but the RPG mechanics offset this. The game lags slightly while exploring a field, but nothing major. Revisiting a map to complete all the quests therein might grow tedious, but this release doesn’t decline in fun. If you like RPGs or the series which this title covers, Accel World VS. Sword Art Online is a must.