Based on the Japanese light novel series, Sword Art Online has been replicated surprisingly well within a number of fun action RPG’s.
Followers of the manga franchise have enjoyed the games set within its expansive world, which includes Infinity Moment, Hollow Fragment and Lost Song. Now it’s time to take another virtual trip into Sword Art Online with a brand new entry in the series – Hollow Realization. Taking a glance at this sequel’s implementation of new features makes it clear that the battle system has received an upgrade; fans who’ve fallen in love with the series’ lovable NPC’s will be happy to see them make their return.
Before you go adventuring into Hollow Realization’s new digital world, let us explain every important facet of the game you need to know.
1. The Story Revolves Around a New NPC Named Premiere
The narrative mastermind behind the series’ novels (Reki Kawahara) has thankfully been tapped to handle the main author role for Hollow Realization. Now the year is 2026, which places this entry three years after the events of the last game. The latest adventures of Kirito and his crew takes place in Ainground, which is a virtual restoration of Aincrad within the Sword Art: Origin online server game world. The main mystery this time around revolves around a mysterious 14-year old NPC named Premiere, who accompanies Kirito on his latest missions. She brings along with her a very cryptic message that makes her role in the game even more of a puzzle that needs to be solved: “I am back to Aincrad.”
2. The Battle System Returns to its MMORPG Roots and New Features Have Been Added to Refresh the Series as a Whole
The Sword Art Online games have been developed to feel exactly like your typical MMORPG, which makes perfect sense since that’s the premise of the manga itself. The battles that take place out in the field feature real-time action RPG mechanics; instead of exploring the world with you and two other partners, you’ll now get to bring three allies alongside you. Kirito, his NPC partners and the custom avatar you’ll eventually create yourself can both be heavily customized (features such as their name, gender, physical appearance and offensive/defensive gear can be altered over the course of your trek through the game).
While in battle, you can dish out any number of attacks and activate your special abilities through the use of the hotkey bar options. You can stick to one of nine different weapons classes for your avatar, develop stronger bonds with fellow NPC’s by providing them with gifts, engage in difficult 16-player raids, take battle suggestions from your allies, combine any of your attacks with another’s etc. The element of “Named Monsters” adds a new feature where tougher creatures pop up on the battlefield without warning and provide you with the toughest random battles you’ll need to conquer. With familiar friends such as Asuna, Leafa, Silica, Klein, Sinon, Lisbeth etc. to call upon, Kirito will have all the NPC help he needs to conquer everything within Ainground.
3. Additional DLC Has Already Been Announced for 2016 and 2017
Hollow Realization is a massive game that will take you hundreds of hours to thoroughly complete. Beyond the main game and its set of side content offered at launch, there’s going to be some future DLC to look forward to later in the year. For 2016, you’ll get to add two downloadable party members to your cast of warriors (Rain and Seven), plus there will be new features included with the DLC pack and an additional story campaign to complete. And in 2017, three story chapters will also make their way into the game and give you even more plot threads to hack ‘n slash through.
4. Pre-Orders Come With a Few Exclusive Costumes for Your Party Members
Choosing to order your copy of Hollow Realization early means you’ll come away with a set of new costumes for your characters. Pre-orders of the game gifts its recipients with a Maid costume, Nightwear outfit and two special sets of clothing based on the attire worn by God Eater’s Soma and Livie.
5. This Game Also Comes in a Very Special Collector’s Package
Besides the Standard Edition of Hollow Realization, fans can also choose to get their hands on the game’s Collector’s Edition. This PS4-exclusive package comes with a physical copy of the game, a beautiful SteelBook case, collector’s edition packaging, a full soundtrack, mini posters, decal sheets, an art book, a disc packed with special content and tall figurines of characters Kirito and Asuna.