Sword Art Online is no stranger to games and is among the several anime properties that Bandai Namco is continuing to support on mobile devices which they showcased at this year’s GDC. Sword Art Online: Integral Factor is the latest title asking if the player could have changed the outcome of that death game. In this free-to-download RPG, the player will be joined by their partner Koharu as they attempt to defeat Aincrad and free players from all over the globe trapped inside of this game. Typically whenever Sword Art Online is brought up at the office someone asks about what freeing all those players will do to the game world and if that would allow the games to continue existing with their current popularity, but that could be a contributing factor to why that particular writer is not well liked.
Sword Art Online: Integral Factor has a few key gameplay features that make it sound pretty interesting. Sword Art Online fans will be treated to original “what if” stories in this title, and depending on how these stories play out they will potentially change the story arc of the original Sword Art Online. Obviously this wouldn’t be canon but being able to influence events that change the outcome of the familiar stories is always an interesting road to explore. Having multitudes of players trapped together inside of a massive online game wouldn’t make too much sense if this was a solo outing, so players will be able to join up with other teams from around the world so that their combined might may crush Aincrad.
Sword Art Online isn’t known for subdued and tame action, and Sword Art Online: Integral Factor will feature plenty of flashy moves and attacks. Players will be free to find their optimum combination of skills and weapons to create a playstyle that is unique to them that features virtually endless combination possibilities. This philosophy isn’t just limited to choosing a character’s combat style as the customization carries over into designing the player’s appearance in general. The player will be free to customize their avatars facial features, hair style and color, choose different costumes and more.
The gameplay of Sword Art Online: Integral Factor uses the standard virtual gamepad touchscreen opens with a thumbstick on one side and different attacks and abilities assigned to buttons on the other side. The time Hardcore Gamer spent with this title was brief, but this approach does a respectable job of emulating gamepad input with a touch screen. The different abilities had varying cool down times based on how useful they are but running around the area to explore felt intuitive with this input method.
Sword Art Online: Integral Factor is free to play with optional in-app purchases and is scheduled for a spring release. Interested players can preregister on Bandai Namco’s site and receive bonuses when the game is released. These bonuses include 2500 Arcana Gems, two types of in game stamps and a four star Asuna Skill Record after logging into the game post launch.