Sword Art Online: Lost Song Review

If you enjoyed the popular Sword Art Online anime and are looking to jump headfirst into any SAO related media in hopes that it will tide you over until the 3rd season is released, you’re in luck! The recently released PS3, PS Vita, and PS4 title Sword Art Online: Lost Song brings you right into the action with a new and reworked combat and movement system. While not very welcoming to players unfamiliar with the franchise, Lost Song is jam packed with characters, storylines, and references from the Sword Art Online series that fans will adore.

Sword Art Online: Lost Song follows Kirito and the gang after their adventures through the alternative retelling proposed in the prequel title Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment. In this storyline, the adventure in Aincrad does not actually end after defeating the creator of SAO. The players instead have to work through and beat the last 25 floors of the death game assisted by friends and allies both old and new, before finally being returned into the real world. As a result, the second arc of the anime never happens, and the entire party is able to safely make it out of their VR prison. Lost Song begins a short time after their release from Aincrad, where the group have decided to once again foray into the world of VRMMOs – Alfheim Online.

SAO Dialogue

As the game begins, you are quickly introduced to the vast cast of almost 20 playable characters who are just as excited to explore this new world as you are. For fans of the SAO anime, you’ll be excited to meet many familiar faces like Asuna, Klein, and Sinon redesigned and animated in a stylish new engine.

While the player was only able to control Kirito in the previous game, Lost Song allows you to head out with any combination of 3 characters to fill your party and gives you full rein to choose the party leader who the player controls. With the addition of new spells and weapon types including ranged weapons like bows, the player is given more control over playstyle and customization than ever before.

While all that customization and player choice is great, the most fun and interesting addition to the title is the flight system. For those unfamiliar with the SAO franchise, Alfheim Online is a fairy themed MMORPG, where players have access to wings that allow them to fly across the vast fantasy world. In Lost Song, this flight system is a key mechanic that allows you to both travel and fight in the air. Flight mode is surprisingly intuitive, and can be activated and controlled with a flick of the dpad – where the up button brings you into an air-dash forwards, the left or right buttons leave you floating in mid-air, and the down button drops you back down to earth. This mechanic is extremely satisfying and enjoyable to use, and makes traveling through the large map a breeze.

The combat system in SAO: Lost Song is completely reworked from that of its predecessor, and is now faster and more action-focused. Attacks and magic spells feel smooth and many skills have satisfying knockback effects on enemies. However, it seems that the progression system has been streamlined and vastly reduced in complexity, moving towards a system that focuses on leveling up skills by using them again and again. Overall, I found the battle-to-battle combat in Lost Song a bit more enjoyable than that of Hollow Fragment, but the lack of depth in its progression system definitely diminished what could’ve been an amazing experience.

SAO Flight

However, while this is largely true for the singleplayer story mode of Lost Song, the online co-op mode is a completely different beast entirely. The combat system and mechanics are allowed to truly shine in the online mode that allows you to party up with up to 3 other players to tackle the game’s many dungeons and bosses. In this multiplayer mode, players can viably choose a variety of roles including melee fighter, healer, magic user, ranger, etc. This allows the game to make full use of the varied weapon systems introduced in the single player portion of the title, and lets you approach encounters in however way you desire.

The world of Alfheim Online is vast and the landscapes are beautiful, but unfortunately the game doesn’t do a great job of filling that world with interesting content. The town that serves as the party’s home base is much larger than it needs to be, and ends doing nothing but aggravate you as you run past the mostly empty plaza for the 40th time to get between the blacksmith and the quest givers. Quests beyond those that move the plot along are bland and repetitive, often requiring you fly to obscure areas to kill tens of identical enemies. While there are a ton of cool structures and floating islands for you to fly to and explore in the overworld, there is almost never any reward for doing so other than some hidden collectibles and crafting loot. The maps you are explore are extremely big and varied, but enemy types patrolling them are largely the same. There is some variety to spice things up in the dungeons, but those are too few and far between to save the experience.

Overall, Sword Art Online: Lost Song is a great sequel to its predecessor Hollow Fragment and introduces a plethora of new and interesting mechanics. However, the majority of these mechanics like spells and healing are put in the backburner in the singleplayer story, and are only ever viable in multiplayer mode. The game is filled to the brim with cameos and fanservice for lovers of the Sword Art Online franchise, but does not even try to make it remotely approachable for newcomers to the series. If you’re just looking for an SAO fix, Lost Song will give you a light and enjoyable action RPG experience. However, if you’re looking for a game that is great in its own right, you may be better served looking elsewhere. Sword Art Online: Lost Song is available now on PS3, PS Vita, and PS4.


  • Intuitive and satisfying combat and flight system
  • Great co-op multiplayer
  • 40-hour story with beautifully animated cut scenes fully voice acted by anime voice actors


  • Completely unapproachable for newcomers to the Sword Art Online series
  • Mediocre plot
  • Subquests are highly repetitive, and many are required to progress story


World traveler, gourmand, polygot, and shameless JRPG masochist. Spends a huge percentage of paycheck on cooking ingredients and food. @Exadra

Lost Password

Sign Up