Madeline Ricchiuto writes from E3,
Sword Art Online’s latest game “Hollow Realization” is a spinoff from the popular Anime/light novel series, essentially positing itself as a ghost game on the Sword Art Online servers. You control Kirito and a group of three other Sword Art characters as they search their way through this new game to discover its secrets.
Basically, its a single player game that takes place within the world of a fictional MMO like ALfheim Online and the .hack// game series. While wondering around the world of this ghost game, you and Kirito will run into NPC parties like if you were actually in an MMO, though your interaction with other parties is limited. That said, Hollow Realization, developed by Aquira and published by Bandai Namco, has a remarkably realistic MMO feel to the controls. You don’t get nice fancy hotbars that map you skills to PS 4 or PS Vita controls, you actually have to use the D-pad to select a skill from a large grid sort of like you would on PC. Hell, you can even emote at your own party members to tell them they did a good job, or to give formation orders.
The computer AI for your companions appears to be somewhat decent from what I could tell in my ten-minute demo.
Hollow Realization’s Japanese release date is October 27, 2016, with the North American release following sometime after.