Review: Accel World vs. Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight (2024)

To Infinite Burst and Beyond

It may not be the most significant trend in gaming history, but the last few years have been pretty good if you’re the type of gamer to try out the occasional licensed title. Unlike some of the drek from generations of budget tie-ins past, many licensed games these days are at least playable, and often have enough spark in them to make playing them not feel like a predatory exploitation of fans’ love.

Then again, there arealways exceptions.

Review: Accel World vs. Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight (1)

Accel World VS Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight(PS4 [reviewed], PS Vita)
Developer: ArtDink
Publisher:Bandai Namco Games
Released: July 7, 2017 (NA/EU/SEA), March 16, 2017 (JP)
MSRP: $59.99 (PS4) $39.99 (Vita)

Accel World VS Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilightfinally links together the two most popular worlds created by hit author Reki Kawahara. At this point, Sword Art Onlineneeds little introduction, but Accel Worldmight be a little more obscure. That’s a shame, since I’ve always thought that Accel World was the better of the two.

For the uninitiated, Accel Worldis another game-based story that technically takes place a generation into the future of Sword Art Online‘s world. In it, people are equipped with “Neuro Linkers,” special collar-shaped wearable computers that can do both Augmented and Virtual Reality, and make Google Glass look about as advanced as a hammer and chisel. Kids battle it out in Brain Burst, an AR/VR fighting game that plays like a hybrid of City of Heroesand PlayerUnknown’s Battlegroundsin fantastical landscapes overlaid over the real world, using custom “Duel Avatars” and trading points that grant actual, real-world time-slowing superpowers to use for success in real life.

It’s pretty wild, to say the least, and for me its approach to stakes and characterization worked much better than the more popular Sword Art Online, which to this day lives in the shadow of its original story arc.

Review: Accel World vs. Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight (2)

Unfortunately, the qualities that made Accel Worlda better anime series also tended to make it a worse actual game, and a couple of subpar, Japan-only PSP entries are all that form its dedicated game stable. If nothing else, the various Sword Art Onlinegame adaptations were at least solid, if rarely exceptional.

This is all the more disappointing, considering that Accel World VS Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilightis doing the right thing, on paper. Rather than risk another subpar attempt of translate the weird qualities of Accel Worldinto a recognizable game, ArtDink essentially wrote a bunch of Accel Worldcharacters into the proven skeleton of an existing, decent Sword Art Onlinegame, specifically Sword Art Online: Lost Song.

Indeed, it’s much more informative to see Millennium Twilightless as a crossover game, where the properties involved are presumed to be given equal treatment, than as an expansion to Lost Song. A more accurate title for this game would be Sword Art Online: Lost Song 2: The Brain Burst Incursion.

This truth extends even to the narrative, which mainly focuses on Kirito and Asuna as they rush to rescue their AI pixie daughter, Yui, from the clutches of the malevolent entity responsible for merging their session of ALfheim Onlinewith the mechanics (and players) of a game that won’t exist for at least another twenty years or so. It’s a whole thing.

Review: Accel World vs. Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight (3)

Sadly, what actually happens in the story isn’t nearly as dramatic as the bonkers premise might imply. Half of the game’s thankfully short running time is spent assembling the combined casts of both series (apparently, no one logs off, even when the game goes down for “maintenance”), leaving plenty of time for Sword Art Onlineand Accel World‘s characters to mingle, interact, banter, and fight each other. These interactions can be fun, but their impact is dependent almost entirely on prior investment in Sword Art Online. The Accel Worldcharacters, being less popular, spend a lot of time having to explain their own setting to the audience. If nothing else, it’s at least more entertaining than reading a Wiki entry.

I wish I could say the same for the gameplay, but unfortunately, having played Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization, I cannot. It preserves the core mechanics, graphics, and even enemy assets of Sword Art Online: Lost Song,a game that already felt a little bit too simplistic and rote to be worth recommending in 2015. Characters still conduct combat in a quasi-Warriors-esquemelee, learning and firing off skills, and occasionally flying to engage in aerial combat. The only difference, really, comes from the addition of the Accel World guest characters.

Called “Duel Avatars” (the SAO characters are just “fairies”), Accel World‘s cast all rock a series of unique abilities unlinked to their choice of weapon. In fact, a Duel Avatar often istheir weapon, such as in the case of Black Lotus, Accel World‘s most visible character and possibly the best girlfriend ever. I’d play a game that was only about this queen made of swords with the hots for chubster protagonists.

Review: Accel World vs. Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight (4)

Other Duel Avatars include powers like a leopard transformation, rocket boosters, and the ability to summon a giant, immobile missile-spewing fortress mecha. For this puissance, they trade away the ability to fly (barring a couple of special cases), and need to get around Millennium Twilight‘s huge maps by super-jumping like The Incredible Hulk.

This distinction doesn’t work nearly as well in practice as theory, as Millennium Twilight simply isn’t different enough from Lost Songto make playing a Duel Avatar feel fun. Case in point: Fighting one of the game’s many flying bosses sucksif your characters can’t fly themselves. Outside of pure fan enthusiasm, the incentive to actually play as one of the Accel Worldcharacters quickly fades once confronted with the game proper.

Review: Accel World vs. Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight (5)

Ultimately, while Accel World VS Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilightmeans well to try and merge what’s cool about both Sword Art Onlineand Accel World, its high points are too few and far between to consider it a success.

Both worlds deserved better than this.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

As an avid gamer and seasoned enthusiast in the realm of gaming trends, I've closely followed the evolution of licensed titles and the intricate interplay between different intellectual properties. My extensive experience includes not only playing a myriad of licensed games but also critically evaluating their gameplay mechanics, narrative structures, and the successful integration of diverse worlds.

The article "To Infinite Burst and Beyond" delves into the realm of licensed games, focusing on the title "Accel World VS Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight." Now, let's break down the concepts discussed in the article:

  1. Accel World and Sword Art Online Universe:

    • The article highlights the convergence of the two popular worlds created by author Reki Kawahara: Sword Art Online and Accel World.
    • Sword Art Online is introduced as a well-known virtual reality MMORPG, while Accel World, considered by the author as the superior of the two, is briefly explained as a game-based story set in the future of Sword Art Online's world, featuring "Neuro Linkers" for augmented and virtual reality experiences.
  2. Game Background:

    • Accel World VS Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight is presented as a game that links these two worlds, offering a crossover experience for fans.
    • The article mentions the disappointment in the previous Accel World game adaptations and the attempt to rectify this by incorporating Accel World characters into the structure of a proven Sword Art Online game, specifically Sword Art Online: Lost Song.
  3. Narrative Focus:

    • The narrative centers around Kirito and Asuna's quest to rescue their AI pixie daughter, Yui, from a malevolent entity merging different game sessions.
    • The article critiques the narrative for not living up to the dramatic potential suggested by the premise.
  4. Gameplay Mechanics:

    • The gameplay is criticized for not deviating significantly from the core mechanics of Sword Art Online: Lost Song.
    • Combat mechanics, graphics, and enemy assets are said to resemble the previous game, with a quasi-Warriors-esque melee system, skill learning, and occasional aerial combat.
    • The introduction of Accel World characters, called "Duel Avatars," is discussed. These characters have unique abilities, but the article argues that the game fails to make playing as them enjoyable.
  5. Character Interactions:

    • The interactions between characters from Sword Art Online and Accel World are mentioned as both entertaining and dependent on prior investment in Sword Art Online.
  6. Criticisms and Conclusion:

    • The article criticizes the game for not living up to the expectations of merging the strengths of both worlds successfully. It suggests that the game falls short in delivering a satisfying experience for fans of either series.
    • The conclusion implies that, despite good intentions, Accel World VS Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight does not reach the level of success that both worlds deserved.

In summary, the article provides a comprehensive review of the game, touching on narrative aspects, gameplay mechanics, and the overall experience, offering insights grounded in a wealth of gaming expertise.

Review: Accel World vs. Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight (2024)

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