Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization video game has finally received its official release. The developers of the video game have promised to allow fans of the anime to explore the world of Reki Kawahara’s 2009 novel series Sword Art Online and fight monsters in epic battles.
Bandai Namco had earlier announced SAO’s online video game would be available on November 8, 2016 in North America and Europe. Surprisingly, the game will be launched merely two weeks earlier in Japan. After hitting Japan, the game will be simultaneously made available in other Southeast Asian regions, including Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia and Singapore.
— AnimeBlurayUK (@AnimeBlurayUK) August 30, 2016
Currently the game is restricted for the PlayStation Vita and PlayStation 4 consoles. The developers of Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization haven’t confirmed if the game is being prepped for other popular gaming consoles like the Nintendo Wii U, Xbox One or even the PC platform. There have been speculations of an exclusive tie-up with Sony. However, there hasn’t been any confirmation about the restriction of the game’s release for Sony’s consoles. Fans are hopeful there could be a slightly modified version of the SAO game for the other consoles from Nintendo and Microsoft in the near future.
The Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization gameplay is said to be similar to SAO’s previous installment Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment. The game will have four main characters. Al, who is also known by his alias Premier, has the benefit of fighting alongside one of SAO’s leading protagonists Kirito. The other main characters, including Asuna, Leafa, Sinon, will also be seen in the highly anticipated online Role Playing Game (RPG).
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These primary members are part of a group and the gameplay is believed to be focused on them. However, these characters can also choose from 300 “non-player” characters. Interestingly, the main characters’ strength, skills and abilities are highly dependent on the way they choose these non-player characters, impart their knowledge and distribute combat equipment.
— Bandai Namco UK (@BandaiNamcoUK) August 30, 2016
The game relies heavily on the tried and tested Skill Tree System. Essentially, the game works on the cumulative strength of all the members in the group and not just the main characters. Moreover, by bestowing combat and other survival equipment to the non-player characters, the main players can create “special bonds.” Additionally, such collaborative and synergistic approach is expected to boost the player’s strengths and skills that will come handy in battling the numerous monsters.
— Sword Art Online (@SwordArtUSA) August 30, 2016
The Skill Tree System urges players to explore the expansive virtual world and selectively upgrade the skills of the characters they have chosen to play. The learning system is claimed to be adaptive and players can continually upgrade the abilities throughout the game. These skills will come in handy in the advanced stages of the game.
“Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization” will be released in Southeast Asia on November 8, 2016. https://t.co/F6xYQPijsD
— GMA News (@gmanews) August 30, 2016
Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization is set in the year 2026, about three years after the original SAO event. Players are expected to battle and win against several monsters, each with a completely different set of powers. The battles take place on a large floor in Aincrad.
Those who pre-order Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization will get several costumes that were seen in the God Eater series. North American PS4 players will receive the exclusive Costume Pack which includes a maid’s costume as well as a nightwear costume for Asuna. Interestingly, the Costume Pack differs substantially based on the region and hence European buyers are expected to receive an entirely different set of costumes. Some buyers will also get an A4 lithograph that will be personally autographed by the SAO series creator Kawahara.
— PlayStationLifeStyle (@PSLifeStyle) August 29, 2016
For the hardcore fans of the Sword Art Online series, there’s a special Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization Collector’s Edition. Apart from the game, the collector’s edition will have special figurines of Kirito and Asuna, one steel-book case, an art book, mini-posters, and a Blu-Ray disc. The collector’s edition is priced at $149.99.
[Image via Bandai Namco]