A few juicy bits of information have dropped for Sword Art Online: Lost Song this week.
First and foremost is the newly-updated battle system.
To match with the location of Alfheim, players are now able to fly freely, which means aerial battles will also be included in the game. The new degree of maneuverability and added y-axis are said to make placement during battle of great importance. This is compounded by the removal of auto-attacks from aerial battles. However, now players who are not locked on to a target are allowed to attack any part of the enemy’s body, depending upon their positioning.
In contrast, land battles are said to play out entirely differently from aerial battles. These, of course, are the predominant form of combat in dungeons. However, ground fighting has changed, too—if nothing else, it’s been heavily implied that jumping will be an added feature.
The most exciting part is that players will be able to switch between air and ground combat styles freely, under normal circumstances.
Parties have now been bumped up to three characters, instead of just Kirito and a partner. And in addition to that, Lost Song will be the first SAO game to allow you to play as someone other than Kirito. Whether or not you can customize your own avatar, or remove Kirito from the party altogether has not yet been addressed. Several new characters are going to be added, and a number of the other characters are set to return.
The location has been revealed, too. While the game takes place in Alfheim, it’s on Svart Alfheim, a new floating island that showed up in an update to ALO. The new update contains a huge number of area types, ranging from plains to tundras to deserts, and many others. Each area is gigantic, too, covering a supposed 16 square kilometers each—and these can all be explored on foot or in the air.
The game is set for release in Japan next year, on Vita and PS3. It certainly sounds and looks exciting, and I know a bunch of our Niche Gamer writers are looking forward to this one.