Siliconera recently had the opportunity to play through the opening hours of Sword Art Online: Lost Song on PS4. After the events of the first game, the original world of Aincrad has been left behind and players have begun flocking to a new game called ALfheim Online. While Sword Art Online had a medieval theme, this new game is fairy themed and lets players fly around its world.
Flying is one of the first things you do once you start playing, as Yui and Leafa walk Kirito through the flying and battle controls while introducing him to the world of ALfheim Online. The flying doesn’t quite feel intuitive but certainly doesn’t take long to get used to the controls either. There’s two different modes for flying and you select these from the D-Pad. Pressing up on the D-Pad will send you up into the air and you’ll start flying automatically, making it easy to get around Lost Song’s open fields. Pressing either left or right on the D-Pad will make you hover in the air. You travel slower than you do flying but you have a greater degree of control and it also enables you to fight enemies in midair. Pressing down the on the D-Pad will retract your wings and you’ll stop flying. I had a good time just flying around different areas, exploring all the small islands that are floating around.
One big improvement from Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment is that Sword Art Online: Lost Song feels much more friendly for new players. I felt Hollow Fragment overwhelmed you at the start of the game, with all the things you could do though you’ve only learnt the basics of battle. Lost Song takes things a little more slowly and sets you on a path through some early missions before giving you free rein of what you want to do. It has also dialed back the MMORPG feel slightly, especially in battle where it feels more like an action RPG than an MMORPG.
There’s no casting time or waiting to attack now, you’re free to hack and slash to your heart’s content. In battle, the only signs of the MMORPG feel is when you cast your skills. Pressing R1 will ready your weapon and pressing it again will put it away. Holding R1 will ready you to cast a skill and you use the symbol buttons to select and perform that action. If your weapon is unsheathed then you’re given physical skills. If you don’t have your weapon out, then you’re able to cast magic skills such as buffs or healing abilities. Outside of people though, there’s a number of things to see that still feel it enough of an MMORPG feel. Within towns, where there’s dozens of colourful NPCs running around chatting with each other. The menus as well, with their many options for equipment and skills feel like something you would see in an MMORPG and the characters still send you messages in-game like they did in Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment.
From my early impressions, I’d also say that if you only have a passing interesting in Sword Art Online but was interested in playing Lost Song it makes for a decent starting point. While Hollow Fragment expected the player to be very familiar with the series already, Lost Song again, takes it’s time to introduces the characters, who they are and the setting without spoiling much of what has come before. It also helps that Hollow Fragment and Lost Song are now part of a separate continuity so you don’t need to know too much about the overall series.
Sword Art Online: Lost Song will be arriving on PS4 and PS Vita in Europe on 13th November and in the US on 17th November.