“Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment” is an action role-playing game developed by Aquria and published by Bandai Namco Games for the PlayStation Portable (PSP). Released in Japan in 2013, the game is part of the Sword Art Online (SAO) franchise, inspired by the light novel series written by Reki Kawahara. Infinity Moment is set within the fictional virtual reality MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) world of Aincrad, a recurring setting in the Sword Art Online universe.
Story: The game’s narrative is an alternate storyline that branches off from the Aincrad arc of the Sword Art Online anime and light novels. Players assume the role of Kirito, the main protagonist of the series, as he explores the floating castle of Aincrad. Unlike the original SAO storyline, where players were trapped in the game until they cleared all 100 floors, Infinity Moment takes a different direction.
The game begins with Kirito and other players discovering that they cannot log out of the virtual world, leading to a new quest to explore Aincrad and unlock the secrets behind their predicament. As players progress through various levels of Aincrad, they encounter both familiar and new characters from the Sword Art Online series.
Gameplay: Infinity Moment features action RPG gameplay with a focus on real-time combat. Players navigate through dungeons, engage in battles with monsters, and interact with other characters. The game introduces a unique “Skill Connect” system, allowing players to chain together different sword skills in succession for more powerful attacks.
Character development is a key aspect of the game. Players can enhance Kirito’s skills, acquire new abilities, and customize his equipment to suit different playstyles. The game also incorporates a social system, encouraging players to build relationships with other characters from the SAO universe.
Graphics and Sound: Given the limitations of the PSP hardware, Infinity Moment’s graphics are relatively modest. However, the game does capture the essence of the Sword Art Online aesthetic, featuring recognizable character designs and virtual landscapes. The music in the game includes tracks that are reminiscent of the anime series, contributing to the overall atmosphere.
Reception and Legacy: Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment received mixed reviews, with some praising its exploration of an alternate SAO storyline and others criticizing certain aspects of the gameplay and graphics. While it didn’t achieve the same level of acclaim as some other entries in the Sword Art Online game series, it contributed to the growing popularity of SAO games.
It’s worth noting that Infinity Moment was followed by “Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment,” which expanded on the original story and improved upon various gameplay elements. Subsequent Sword Art Online games have been released on more powerful platforms, continuing to explore different aspects of the SAO universe.