With the anime kicking off in 2012, the franchise began a new and alternate storyline in the games starting from the ending of Heathcliff’s fight with Kirito. Blah, blah, blah, things happen and and we meet several new characters never seen before in the anime plus a cool story that pretty much erases every bad thing that ever happened.
Since the release of Infinity Moment, the game-timeline of Sword Art Online continued on with Hollow Fragment, Lost Song, Hollow Realization, now Millennium Twilight, and the later yet-to-be released Fatal Bullet.
With Fatal Bullet announced to be set within the world of Gun Gale Online, we can assume that Millennium Twilight is the final installment of the Alfheim Online storyline. That being said, does AW vs. SAO live up to that name of finale?
The main story of the game brings together the cast of both Accel World and Sword Art Online, which both are works of Reki Kawahara who also wrote the story for the game. However this game is meant to be a Sword Art Online game, which means they don’t expect you to watch Accel World or know anything about it in order to enjoy this game. In fact, they pretty much explain all the lore right there for you. Hell, you can even watch some comedic school-setting lectures by Strea herself and her assistant Kuroyukihime will help explain some of the concepts of Accel World for you.
However, how good was the story for the game itself? It’s pretty darn good. From the very beginning, our heroes witness the kidnapping of Yui from the main antagonist Persona Vabel, and that acts as the motivation for the story to keep pushing on and the story quests do not fail to capture that.
The gameplay itself is no stranger for those who played Lost Song. The game mechanics are similar and almost identical. From flight to skill execution, all that is the same. However what makes MT such a marvel is the gameplay mechanics such as
- Real-time character switching with just a simple touch of two buttons. This feature was not present in Lost Song and makes it much easier to win a boss battle, especially if the character you’re playing as dies. In Lost Song, you literally couldn’t “switch” and had to hope a party member would come and resurrect you. In MT, you can save time and switch over to a living character and revive the others yourself.
- The switch option is also somewhat integrated into combat as well. When your switch meter is at least 50% full, you can fight while switching to execute higher combat multipliers. This also stuns your opponents to ensure you can actually execute those combos. This feature in Lost Song was merely a combat enhancer, only worked by increasing attack power and had no noticeable usage.
- There are multiple save points placed all around ALO and not just the main town. Hidden in your options menu is the ability to instantly teleport back to town. Lost Song didn’t have this feature and you could only return instantly if you had a teleport crystal.
- Dungeon exploration is no longer a bore. In Lost Song, all dungeons were boringly gray and looked like you were in a castle. In MT, the majority of the dungeons are unique and take place somewhere in open space, out in the open. Because of the integration with Brain Burst, it also provides several dungeons that take place in areas that resemble the real world as well.
- The items you buy and equip to your main character, will also separately equip to your other party members as well. Essentially when you buy a crystal for a character and equip it to him, you’re essentially being crystals for all your party members to use. That’s pretty nifty and Lost Song literally just wastes your crystals.
- Because of ALO’s integration with Brain Burst, BP also appears as a new type of currency you can use to either buy stuff for Accel World characters, strengthen them, or level up any MT character in the game. You can get them just by farming monsters.
- MT took one of the worst characters from Lost Song and turned it into a force to be reckoned with, Kuroyuki Lotus. Combined with Silver Crow, Kuroyukihime comes with the ability of flight and the rest of her repertoire when she was only just Black Lotus.
- The ending itself is also a tear jerker once Persona Vabel’s identity and motives are revealed, and you can’t blame her once you find out.
I can go on a tangent and talk about how great this game is, but I gotta talk about it’s flaws.
- Repetitive gameplay. Throughout the story-driven game, you’re basically flying around while hack-n-slashing monsters with just a few new enhancements of the gameplay, pretty much like a Lost Song Golden (if you get what I mean)
- Vague objectives. Sometimes when you’re in the middle of doing a mission, you’re not given a clear objective of what to do, thus you’re flying around clueless on where to begin without any clue. This eventually forces you to look online for a walkthrough.
- Availability of some DLC characters. The new “Castaway from Another World” DLC pack adds three new characters into the game. One of them is Oberon from the second half of the anime’s first season. The other two are Eugeo and Alice from the novels’ Alicization arc, which has received high expectations from fans of the original light novels. However they’re not accessible until after you beat the game, thus you lose motivation to level them up without a story. Meanwhile from the beginning, the DLC characters available are Sachi (oh poor Sachi), Heathcliff, and Yuna from Ordinal Scale. Aside from Heathcliff, Sachi and Yuna are useless and not worth leveling up (if you’re planning on playing offensive)
- The edition of Graphite Edge into the game. In famous Accel World fandom, he’s supposedly supposed to be Kirito, but a whole bunch of evidence debunks this and Reki Kawahara has stated many times that they’re not the same character. If this is the case, then why is Graphite Edge being mysterious towards Kirito? And why is the point of keeping his voice actor a mystery if you’re going to continuously make implications he’s Kirito? In any case, he doesn’t have any involvement in the game’s story, thus it was a waste to have him in the game.
While this game is a big improvement over Lost Song, the game still has some faults that make it frustrating to play. The characters are nice, but some either have no place in the game or we’re frustrated that we can’t play it just yet. The story is good, but the gameplay still resembles Lost Song, despite new combat features. I wouldn’t recommend this game, but if you want a good mix of Accel World and Sword Art Online, than this might be the game for you.