Sword Art Online: Lost Song – Review
Follow Genre: Action RPG
Developer: Artdink
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Platform: PS Vita, PS3, PS4
Tested on: PS4

Sword Art Online: Lost Song – Review

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Good: Lost Song's fantastic flying mode works very well.
Bad: At times the game fails to motivate its players to keep playing.
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With the existence of a farming simulator and a goat simulator, the only logical next step would be an MMO simulator, right? That’s what the developer of Sword Art Online: Lost Song must have thought. Lost Song is an incredibly meta game that has one fantastic selling point: its flying mode.



You’d think that one trip to a virtual world where in-game death translates to real life death would be enough to scare someone away from virtual reality games forever. Sword Art Online: Lost Song’s protagonist Kirito however, can’t seem to get enough of the genre, as he and his friends can’t wait to test out the newest VRMMO content in the new big virtual reality hit ALfheim Online. Whilst ALfheim Online does have some major advantages over its predecessor, the main one being that Kirito and his team aren’t in constant life-threatening danger while playing, it’s the old formula of VRMMO’s that truly draws them in. As it turns out, VRMMO’s in the Sword Art Online universe aren’t very different to the MMO’s we know. A dungeon here, a side quest there (and there, and there), lots of opportunities for custimization, … ALfheim Online even has bots.

Sword Art Online: Lost Song does a great job at creating a relatively realistic MMO environment, with many ‘players’ gathering in the central hub, the existence of clans, … The game’s main setback however is that there is no true motivation as to why one would keep playing, the game tries to urge you to make progress by expressing that the in-game characters want to proceed and clear the next level, but ultimately it’s hard to find a good reason to choose a game that’s basically an MMO simulator over a real MMO (though fans of the series might beg to differ). Lost Song does give the option to use a co-op and raid-like mode, but that does not make it a genuine MMO.

Other than discussing the personal life of Kirito, and referencing the series’ lore, Sword Art Online: Lost Song also contains a rather weak main quest. The story of child genius Seven (and everyone’s obsession with her) and her Shamrock crew feels like a cringeworthy fanfiction at times. Luckily, the game does make up for this by providing lots of personal quests for your fellow team members. These quests give life to the characters and are generally quite different and relatively fun. Fans of the series will probably enjoy this one more than newcomers will though.

SAO LS personal quest example


As the game was released both on PS3 and PS Vita before appearing on PS4, the graphics aren’t exactly groundbreaking. Environments look relatively flat and monotonous, and enemy models are simple. Character and dialogue screens as well as cutscenes featuring anime-like art do switch things up, and feel appropriate for this type of game. We didn’t encounter any bugs, and the game played smoothly on PS4.

It’s great how every area of the game features a different environmental style, and the differences between desert, snow and grass levels keeps things interesting.


The voice acting in Lost Song is exactly what you’d expect from an anime-based RPG. Girls have squeaky voices and their spoken dialogue is laced with giggling, whilst male voice actors take on similar stereotypical roles. The game would however lose a lot of its charm if this wasn’t the case, so the cheesy voice acting is never really a problem.

Music-wise, Lost Song does not offer that much in terms of variety, sticking to one or two themes per area or situation, but the songs weren’t completely lost on us either. Terrible puns aside, the game does have a more than decent soundtrack, and we often found ourselves really enjoying flying about to the notes of one of the background tracks.

SAO LS final boss gameplay


Whilst Sword Art Online: Lost Song is classed as an action RPG, it might be more accurate to describe the game as an MMO simulator. Unfortunately, the game falls into the same traps that some real life MMO’s struggle with as well. Enemies use see-through tactics, and once you understand which tactic to use on which type of enemy, the game will be a breeze. Most bosses, especially the ones at the end of each area, are sponges and take very little damage. Combine this with their usually lazy AI and you get unnecessarily long boss fights that don’t feel exciting anymore after the 6th boss.

The game does have positive points though. While combat can turn into button-mashing easily, overall the system does work and does offer variety. Players are offered the opportunity to create their own character, which is great for a series with a set storyline. Enemies are recycled constantly, but this does remind of older RPG’s and adds to the game’s charm. Lost Song’s dungeons are decent, their puzzles are fun enough and the more complex dungeons manage to provide a challenge.

The main thing Lost Song has got going for it is its flight system. And truthfully, flying is fantastic. Not only does it add much necessary movement and motion to the combat, but it also elevates (last pun, promise) Sword Art Online: Lost Song from mediocrity, and left us wondering why flying isn’t an option in every video game, or hell, even in real life. Suddenly the appeal of VRMMO’s becomes clear, and so does the appeal of Lost Song itself. With two flight modes, full flight and hovering, as well as a great translation of the flight system into combat, this is where the game truly shines.

Check out the flight system in motion below.


Sword Art Online: Lost Song is a game with ups and downs (oops, one more pun then). With a relatively mediocre storyline, it’s a good thing the interesting personal quests and fantastic flying system manage to keep things interesting. If you’re looking for a casual game that’s fun to play, it might be worth it to pick this one up. Still, we presume Sword Art Online: Lost Song will mostly be popular with existing fans of the series.

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I'm a 24 year old gamer with a passion for RPG's, and the gaming community as a whole. When I'm not gaming, I can be found cooking, reading, or with my partner and pets. Currently on: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, PC and 3DS.

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