Monday, 4 January 2016

Sword Art Online: Lost Song

When you hear the premise of Sword Art Online the anime you would automatically think that it would make an awesome  game, right? I mean, it's a show about people in an MMO and if you die in the MMO, you die in real life (which was also the premise a movie starring Frankie Muniz called “Game Over").  It sounded like it had so much potential but unfortunately, it just becomes boring really quickly.

Developed by Artdink and out now for Playstation 4, Sword Art Online: Lost Song begins pretty well. The problem is that it just doesn’t really go anywhere at all. You don’t need to be a fan of the anime or even play previous games in the series as fan service is kept to a minimum, but there just isn’t much to grasp at in terms of the narrative. It’s honestly just a lot of reading. The gameplay though fairs much better. It feels smooth and responsive and the game even allows you to customise what spells and abilities are mapped to which buttons. It feels completely open and you can make your character feel exactly to your style, quite like an MMO actually. 

That feeling of a MMO continues to the actual gameplay. It's hard to not be impressed by the scope when you see your first field. It's sprawling, vast, and populated. It's not long before you feel like the world is too populated. There are enemies everywhere and you don't have to take them all on; In fact, you're expect to just go where you wish and tackle quests. The enemies are to make it feel like an MMO as if not all enemies are there for you and exist for other "players".

That isn't to say that you can't play with others. The game incorporates multiplayer to play with other real people and if you can, I highly suggest this. Sword Art Online: Lost Song is fun with friends as you take on hundreds of enemies and grinding up your levels. I say play with your friends or other people if you can because this game gets repetitive.

How repetitive you ask? Well, I can only assume that this happened but I had my first video game blackout when playing this game. Elaborate? OK, I was in an open field attacking the same enemy for the thousandth time and the next thing I remember I had moved about and my characters had all leveled up by a few levels, something that would take a bit of time. Time itself blurred and vanished from my own existence. This is surprisingly disappointing as Sword Art Online: Lost Song allows you to float and fly whenever you want. Not only can you take on countless enemies on the ground, but you can fight countless of the same enemy in the sky also. Controlling this part varies from acceptable to nearly delivering a powerbomb to your controller in order to do what you want it to. It's once again something that sounds like it could be incredible but fails to follow through.

It sounds like I really didn't like Sword Art Online: Lost Song but that's not the case. The truth is that while I enjoyed it a fair bit, some glaring problems as well as a failure to capitalise on it's promising features means that it never became the game I thought it might be during playtime. I did still enjoy it for what it is.

Sword Art Online: Lost Song
is more lost potential than lost cause 3/5.


Jason Redmond

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