Sometimes you have to go offline to go online and then go online in a VR game inside a video game. No, you’re not being incepted, it’s just the new Sword Art Online game.
What I’m about to tell you may blow your minds or shock you. Are you ready? Brace yourselves. Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization isn’t an MMORPG! (Shocker, I know.) But what’s interesting about the series, if you're not familiar, is that unlike most MMOs that draw upon a history of single player titles that ruled the lands when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, Hollow Realization draws upon the modern mechanics of MMOs to create an experience that a solo player can enjoy. You're playing a set of characters inside of an MMO, but it's more of a JRPG.
This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise to anyone who’s played the last few installments in the Sword Art series or those who have been following the IP in general, as it’s always tried to present itself in such a manner. The HUD with its various buffs and attacks will be familiar to anyone who’s played online in the last decade, as will the action focused gameplay. Only now your party looks to be made up of you and a posse of NPC anime girls.
Fans of the light novel and anime series will be familiar with the main character, Kirito, his allies and the various VR worlds they traverse. Hollow Realization finds our hero on the receiving end of a mysterious message that compels him back to where his adventures first began, Aincrad. But he’s not going back alone, he’ll have several characters he can add to his team to help him on his quest including his love interest, Asuna and his old pal, Klein.
Hollow realization will also feature a new fighting system. From what we saw, you’ll have a combo-based hack and slash inspired fighting style mixed with AP-based attacks. You can check out our hands-on time in the video we shot during Bandai Namco’s Open House to get a closer look at what you can expect from combat and get a glimpse of some of the abilities and attacks you’ll have at your disposal to take down your foes.
Although it looks like the game is going to be primarily focused on a single player experience we were told that there will be “a robust online multiplayer experience.” What does that entail? We’re not quite sure yet, but hopefully it means teaming up with your friends to take on the many enemies that lie in between you and discovering the truth behind your mysterious invitation back to SAO. Or perhaps it will mean putting your skills up against your friends in a PvE mode. At this point the real mystery is what exactly, “robust” means. Hopefully we’ll find out soon. Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization is coming to the PS4 and PS Vita, we’ll be sure to let you know when we get a release date for you!