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SAO:HR Is set in an VRMMORPG environment so it’s kinda a game inside a game. You play as the series’ main protagonist and the characters of the game will interact with you as such. However, the game allows you to modify the protagonist’s appearance to your liking. The game is heavily focused in questing and a significant number of hours can be spent in its dating mechanics as well. (thanks to the Affection System). The game’s main storyline quests will be pretty straightforward and you’ll need to head to the marked locations in the map; however, the entire progression of the game will depend on the player since there’s no time limit and the game’s vast open world can be explored at the player’s pace.

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The game has an active battle system where you have full control of your character’s attacks, skill activation, evasion, and movement. You can freely engage or slip away from enemies at your own discretion. You can also invite other characters to form a party of four. The equipment of your members can’t be managed though their weapons and armor can be changed once their affection towards you is at least LV4 (to change their weapons) and LV5 (to change their armor). You can only control your character in Combat though you can order your teammates to synchronize their attacks with your own, draw aggro, evade, heal, etc. On top of the unique characters, players can also recruit other “players” in the game by increasing their affection level to at least LV3.

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The game also heavily emphasizes exploration, grinding, and completing quests since those are the only ways the player can earn exp, better equipment, and earn money. Most of the quests are repeatable and can be a good source of constant income.

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Much of the player's interaction with other characters and personal time will take place in the central hub called The Town of Beginnings. Here they can check out various shops, dating spots, bulletin boards for accepting/reporting quests, Smithy, and your personal room in the local inn where you can edit your character, manage your inventory, and of course, bring your close friends to sleep over.

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