[This week, Gematsu is sponsored by Sword Art Online: Integral Factor for iOS and Android. The following article is an advertisement.]
“SWORD ART ONLINE” is the anime series based on the popular novel written by Reki Kawahara. The story takes place inside a massive multiplayer online role-playing game – and now fans can enter that very same game and have their own adventures, and forge their own alliances, in new mobile game SWORD ART ONLINE: Integral Factor.
It’s this level of meta-play that gives SWORD ART ONLINE: Integral Factor a unique hook in the MMORPG market. You’re playing as a character who knows they are in a game. The introductory stages even allow you to go through the character creation process twice – first time through you’re creating your in-game character. Second time, you’re creating the “real world” version yourself, revealed after everyone is trapped inside the game by its creator, Akihiko Kayaba, and told that unless they can ascend all 100 floors of the Aincrad fortress, they’ll be stuck in virtual space forever.
In other words, unlike other MMO games SWORD ART ONLINE: Integral Factor characters meet up as beta testers, discuss tactics, character classes and which items to use. The characters talk like players, and the players talk like the characters.
While you’re playing in the same game world that the manga and anime take place in, you won’t be following the stories set out in previous SWORD ART ONLINE media. You may meet up with familiar characters from the page or screen, but if you’ve never experience SWORD ART ONLINE before you won’t be left struggling to keep up. Everything you need to know is explained in the opening minutes.
You won’t be facing the perils of Aincrad alone, however. You’ll be accompanied by Koharu, a fellow player who is new to MMO games. While you start out looking after her, it’s through her lack of experience that you also get to discover the nature of SWORD ART ONLINE, and as the game progresses she becomes a fearsome partner rather than someone to look after. The idea, according to the design team, was to create a heroine who was very different to what gamers would expect, and her story will grow and evolve in future updates.
That’s because, like any great MMO, SWORD ART ONLINE: Integral Factor will continue to change and add new material as it goes along, and the game-within-a-game setting means that these changes can take place organically. For example, a new forest map will be coming to the seventh floor of Aincrad from April 26, while a new Chaos Boss event running from April 28 to May 6 will allow players to team up and face a challenging new enemy in return for exclusive gear.
Also, all users logging in to the game before May 9th will be able to receive 2500 Arcana Gems, a pair of in-game stamps, 4 Star Asuna Skill Records (Attack & Defense boosts), and 4 avatar outfits for you and your partner when you log into the game.
Just as readers and viewers thrilled to the adventures of Kirito in the realm of Sword Art Online, now you can see just how you’d fare if placed in the same situation. Will you rise to the challenge? Check out the Official Facebook Page to look for more information!