Accel World vs Sword Art Online is without a doubt created for the hardcore fans of Reki Kawahara’s works. With an original story penned by the author, Accel World vs Sword Art Online is a game that plays with the emotions of fans, tricking them with a host of fan service moments and the ever-heart-melting crossover baloney into believing that this hollow, poorly written mess is a game they should care about.
You see, this fourth entry into the Sword Art Online gaming canon—which is a different universe than that of the anime—is probably one of the least inspired. Much like its predecessors Lost Song and Hollow Realization, AW v SAO recycles models, textures, environments, gameplay mechanics, animations and voice lines more than your average Omega Force video game.
Anyone who’s played any Sword Art Online game post the remarkably fresh and endearing Hollow Fragment knows exactly what’s going on here. Large sections of gratingly written visual novel sections followed by flying through large albeit ugly environments slashing enemies with barebones combat and eventually delving into a dungeon and fighting a boss. Rinse and repeat for forty-or-so hours except with the addition of an extra full cast, bulking up the game to something that may appear to be worth a purchase for fans of Kawahara’s new series.
The game’s crossover novelty wears off pretty quickly
Accel World vs Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight is a game as artificially extended as its title. The first half of the game’s narrative consists of meeting up with various characters from both the Accel World and Sword Art Online franchises and explaining to them what’s going on and why the Brain Burst VRMMO characters have appeared in SAO’s Alfheim Online. Outside of the novelty of seeing your favourite characters from both universes teaming up and meeting with each other, the game’s writing does very little to make any of these encounters feel unique. It stretches the character archetypes to the maximum and only makes it more apparent how cliched the behavioural characteristics of each character are when you see mirrored personalities interact with each other.
Sometimes, and only sometimes, the ways in which you meet up with these characters can be entertaining such as finding SAO’s Klein and AW’s Ash Rider speeding through the icy tundra of Flosshilde on the back of the latter character’s motorcycle, but many other characters appear so nonchalantly that they fail to feel unique in such a large cast of characters. As someone who has never interacted with the cast of Accel World in any medium, it was hard to care about any of these characters let alone remember them while trying to keep track of the game’s disorganized plot. Although, I will never forget the appearance of the cool-as-heck Chrome Disaster, the most badass character in the game.
AW v SAO suffers from a lack of depth
Outside of its overly exposition-filled story, AW v SAO’s biggest problem lies in how many characters that they’ve shoved into its ankle-deep pond of a game. Outside of a few weapon types and slightly different playstyles between Accel World and SAO characters, there isn’t a lot of variety between the majority of the game’s gargantuan cast. Even with the hundreds of skills that you can equip, it’s hard to make any character feel unique outside of their aesthetic differences leading to a repetitive combat system that never evolves outside of increasing damage numbers.
There are many other aspects of the game which also fall short. Outside of its poorly rendered environments and shoddy combat, AC v SAO suffers from an abundance of performance issues, poor camera controls, cutscenes missing music and sound effects entirely, and sections of gameplay in where you have to do the exact opposite of what the plot is telling you to do. For example, the first encounter you have with the metal-as-hell Chrome Disaster you are specifically told by character Black Lotus to retreat from the battle which makes it not only weird, but confusing when I, playing as Black Lotus, had to defeat the character I told everyone to run away from, just because! That, my friends, is bad game design.
Accel World vs Sword Art Online is a mediocre title held down even further by its lack of innovation. With three games set in the anime’s second arc location Alfheim Online, the game series needs a drastic change in locale. The “erosion effects” that occur in this title, bringing small sections of Accel World’s Brain Burst location into that of Alfheim, does little to make this title feel like a worthy purchase for anyone who’s played another title in this tired, dead horse of a series.
What was once a mediocre game series has been made even worse. Technical issues and gameplay blunders are somehow shadowed by a bulky, contrived plot that believes in quantity over quality.