Image Source: Bandai Namco Entertainment America on YouTube
New game Accel World VS Sword Art Online was released in the West this past weekend. Here are some tips for anyone ready to dive into this crossover adventure.
This is a Sword Art Online game more than an Accel World one.
The main story of Accel World VS Sword Art Online deals with mysterious new enemy Persona Vabel kidnapping Kirito and Asuna’s adopted AI daughter, Yui, and corrupting the virtual world of ALfheim Online. With ALO now unstable, once you log off, you can no longer log back on. Thus our heroes have to rescue Yui before they fall asleep in the real world and are auto-logged off—potentially losing the AI girl forever.
Of course, to make things even more chaotic, the characters of Accel World begin finding themselves drawn into the corrupted world of ALO at the same time. Unsure of friend or foe, they meet people who claim to be living in 2026—more than 20 years before the present day as they know it.
While there is equal character development given to both the SAO and AW characters—and a lot of fun crossover between the two series—the core story is most certainly an SAO tale. The major conflict and setting are SAO related. And while the AW characters have their own stakes in the story, the main goal is always first and foremost to rescue Yui.
Image Source: 876TV on YouTube
It follows the Sword Art Online game timeline, not the anime one.
With the success of Sword Art Online both inside and outside of Japan, it was only a matter of time till a game series came to be. So far there have been four main games in this series: Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment, Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment (Infinity Moment‘s enhanced and expanded remake), Sword Art Online: Lost Song, and Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization. These games are all in continuity with each other—but not with the anime.
The whole twist behind the game series is a simple “what if” question: “What if the Sword Art Online death game didn’t end on the 75th floor?” Due to a glitch, our heroes have to clear the remaining 25 floors in a story that completely derails the anime timeline as we know it. This means many events in the anime story never happen—like the entirety of the ALfheim Online Arc—and certain characters even avoid their grim fates.
Yet, as different as the game series’ world is, there are some things that, intriguingly, stay the same. So even if you haven’t played any of the other games in the series, you can still pick up AW vs SAO and catch up rather quickly if you’re a fan of the anime—either of them actually.
The game plays like Lost Song, not Hollow Realization.
Of the previous four Sword Art Online games, three are faux MMORPGs. As an action RPG, Lost Song has been the black sheep of the series—until Accel World VS Sword Art Online, anyway. Like in Lost Song, you control one character and have two others in your party that you can switch to on the fly. You then proceed to pound on enemies in real time with a combination of light attacks, heavy attacks, and special skills.
SAO and AW characters play quite a bit differently.
As the game takes place in ALO, the SAO characters are generally fairies capable of flight. On the other hand, among the AW characters, only two are capable of flight—so they utilize super jumps in general. These jumps can go as high as flight at their zenith and are far faster for general movement than flight.
The other big difference between the groups is that, in general, SAO characters have naturally recovering magic to power their special skills while the AW characters have a gauge that builds based on the damage they give and receive.
Use your BP wisely.
While the SAO characters can use money to buy weapons to get stronger, the Accel World characters don’t use weapons. Thus, they boost their own attacks by using a different kind of experience point called “BP.” However, BP can be used for more than just that: It can also be turned into normal XP to raise characters’ levels instantly. And several characters can only be unlocked for play by spending BP.
Thus, it’s best to save as much BP as possible for a rainy day. While you should absolutely power up any characters you play with regularly, keep in mind that you never know when you’ll come across a side mission that forces you to use a character you’ve never touched before.
Here’s the best way to level up.
While you won’t need to grind much XP in this game for your main party, if you want to get the most out of AW vs SAO, you’ll end up doing all the story/character-related side quests. For these, as I mentioned above, you’ll be forced to use specific characters. If you have the BP stashed away, you can level up that way.
However, if you’re looking to save your BP, the next fastest way is to do the “extra missions.” Extra missions are basically the bosses you have already beaten in the main story and can be done repeatedly. However, if you just want to blow through them in seconds, extra missions are also available in coop multiplayer—making a fast way to level up even faster. Oh, and for beating them you also get a good chunk of BP as well.
Multiplayer unlocks when you complete Chapter 5 of the main story.
There are two types of story-filled side quests.
The first have no combat. You’ll get an email message between two of the characters. Make the person that the mail is addressed to your player character and then go to the reflecting pool in town. Once there, you can activate the pool to start up the fun story scene.
The second kind of side quest is equal parts story and dungeon. As you move through the game, you’ll see your party members around town with a green mark above their heads. If you talk to them, they’ll tell you who they are waiting for. Simply become this person and talk with the quest-giver again.
More often than not you’ll see a scene and then be transported to a dungeon you’ll have to complete—with a boss waiting at the end. If you find the characters you are using to be under-leveled, either use your BP or dive into some “extra quests.”
Level up Kirito and Silver Crow (even if you never use them).
The two longest side mission chains in the game involve Kirito and Silver Crow doing dungeons with their various respective friends. If Kirito and Silver Crow are leveled enough, you won’t need to waste time or BP on leveling up their companions and will be able to solo these missions.
Moreover, there are also main story/character unlock missions that require you to play as Kirito—so not having him leveled especially can put the brakes on your fun real fast.
Here’s where to get your favorite characters.
There are 17 chapters in the main story. You will have all the main characters recruited after completing episode 10. The rest are gained through side missions or DLC.
UNLOCKED DURING MAIN STORY
UNLOCKED VIA SIDE MISSION
Accel Assult Kuroyukihime
Accel Assult Chiyuri
UNLOCKED VIA POST GAME SIDE MISSION
Image Source: アニプレックス on YouTube
Yuna is the best girl.
DLC character Yuna, the mysterious singer from film Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale, is perhaps the most useful character in the game.
Yuna is a dedicated healer/buffer. Not only can she keep your other two members alive through nearly anything, she can keep them buffed so that they do far more damage than they normally would. Moreover, while she is an SAO character, she is not a fairy and can’t fly—but she can jump like the AW characters. This means if you prefer an SAO character team and ever need to move quickly in a dungeon, you can switch to her as she can move much faster than her flying friends.
But best of all, as DLC, you can do the short side mission to get her very early on—i.e., as soon as you get the ability to choose your own party. Only Seven, a fellow songstress, has a similar power set, and you can’t get her until after you’ve completed the main plot.
From the moment I first tried her out, she became a mainstay of my party (along with Asuna and Yuuki)—and those times where I couldn’t use her were painful to say the least.
Accel World VS Sword Art Online was released for PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita on July 7, 2017 in North America.