Relive the events of SAO season one, but this time, through your eyes.
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The Sword Art Online anime’s cross-media success might come down to its main premise: a virtual reality, massively multiplayer online RPG lures players with the promise of 100% immersion. More than 10,000 early adopters have logged in right as the game’s malevolent developer reveals that all the players are not only trapped inside this game, but that if they were to die in-game, they would also die in real life. The only way out is through beating all 100 floors can the players hope to escape. It’s immediately apparent why the show appealed to a generation of anime and game fans.
Given that premise, you’d be forgiven for feeling a little skittish about jumping into a Sword Art Online video game. But rest assured, the just-released Sword Art Online: Integral Factor exists only on your iOS or Android device, requires no fancy complicated VR gear, and perhaps most importantly — won’t trap you inside the game.
Trapped in Aincrad
Your player-character is not so lucky though. However you choose to create him or her, the character is trapped in Aincrad, the 100-level, tower-like world that bedeviled many doomed players in the popular anime. You and your custom character experience the anime’s events from your own point of view, running into familiar Sword Art Online characters and participating in the story. In special event scenes, players even have the chance to change the story’s course (perhaps save some characters’ lives?)
You will be exploring the SWORD ART ONLINE universe with your constant companion named Koharu (a name you can also customize), who is controlled by the game’s A.I. When you play alone your computer-controlled partner always has your back, but they’ll take a break when you team up with other players. You can customize her weapon, armor, and weapon skill equips, creating a character who can complement your own character’s strengths.
Together, you set off to conquer Aincrad. While many zones can be soloed (or is that duo-ed?) teaming up with other Integral Factor players presents the best chance for rapid progress. Beyond the standard attack, your character can equip each weapon type (of six total) with four stronger, more powerful Sword Skills.
Onward and Upward
Integral Factor is a full MMORPG on your phone, with all the quests, monsters, and complexity that you can expect while also offering touch-screen control for easy navigation. While monsters in the beginning won’t be too challenging, allowing you to practice the combat system in relative peace, you eventually want to power-up to prosper, and Integral Factor offers a couple paths to do so.
Earning levels via EXP provides all-around character upgrades, and your weapon, armor, and Sword Skills can be improved provided you find the right crafting materials. You can also get ahead by spending Arcana Gems, the in-game currency. You’ll earn plenty just by solving quests, leveling up, logging in, killing bosses, etc.
Early Birds Get the Cards ‘n’ Crystals
Since the game just launched in North America, Sword Art Online: Integral Factor is in the middle of its celebratory launch event. If you log on before May 9th, you’ll score a bunch of free bonus items, including 2500 Arcana Gems, a four-star attack/defense buff card, and various costume items.
What’s more, the game’s getting a big update on April 26. Team-players rejoice, as the new Guild system will allow up to 30 allies to band together. The forest-based Floor 7 will also unlock, complete with new story events. And if you’re not quite strong enough for that, a new EXP Boost Tower will flood you with level-ups like they’re going outta style. You can expect other new quests, login bonuses, and more as well.
If you’d like to learn more about the game, check out its official home page, or this 48-page prologue comic to get caught up in the world of Sword Art Online: Integral Factor. You can download the game through your app store of choice once you’re ready to dive right in!
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