This show really needs a shout out, because I don't feel it has a huge following yet, and it damn well should! It's called Sword Art Online, and it's a lot like .hack, but it definitely does its own unique stuff and should in no way be be labeled a copy cat of that series.
Crunchyroll Link: www.crunchyroll.com/sword-art-…
In the year 2022, the Virtual reality Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (VRMMORPG) Sword Art Online (SAO) is released. With the Nerve Gear, a virtual reality Helmet that stimulates the user's five senses via their brain, players can experience and control their in-game characters with their minds.
On November 6, 2022, all the players log in for the first time, and discover that they are unable to log out. They are then teleported to a place where Kayaba Akihiko, the creator of SAO, issues them a challenge; if they wish to be free and log out of the game, they must reach the 100th floor of the game's tower and defeat the final boss. However, if their avatars die in game, their bodies will also die in the real world. The story follows Kirito, a skilled player who is determined to beat the game.
Kirito, playing on the 74th floor of the game, develops a love interest with a female player called Asuna. Eventually, Kirito becomes part of Asuna's guild 'Knights of the Blood Oath' after losing a duel with its leader Heathcliff and they marry and travel back to the 22nd floor for some time together.
The light novel series spans several virtual MMORPGs, not exclusively the titular world of Sword Art Online.
Sword Art Online
The first virtual game world, and the setting of the first and second novels of the series. It consists of a giant floating castle called Aincrad, with 100 floors in it, each of which contains a slightly different medieval setting and dungeon with a boss. If the boss is killed the players can proceed to the next floor. It is turned into a death game by its creator Kayaba Akihiko in hopes of creating a true virtual reality. It implements a level based system. Thus, in cases where players with an overwhelming difference in levels face off, one side could very well be invincible compared to the other side