When Sword Art Online actually began, it began as a series of light novels, which is a literary genre specific to Japan. Now, almost two decades after the debut of the first light novel, Sword Art Online is a global franchise that includes an anime series, manga, and video games. The franchise has grown so much that it has hit all major markets, but not with equal success. The topic of this article are going to be the video games that comprise the Sword Art Online franchise.
As of November 2023, 14 Sword Art Online video games have officially been released under the brand in Japan (and the rest of the world). Now, among these, three are mobile games that don’t really fit in anywhere plot-wise, and we won’t be talking about them in the paragraphs below. The remaining games are the primary console games, which are going to be the focus of this article, sans the spin-off game, Accel World vs. Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight, which is non-canon.
Editor’s Note: This list was updated in November 2023 to include Sword Art Online: Last Recollection.
All 7 canon Sword Art Online games in release date order
As we have said, we’re going to be dealing with the main console games, which exclude the seven mobile games that exist. Also, the console game Accel World vs. Sword Art Online: Millennium Twilight won’t be on the list as it is a non-canon game. As for the remaining games, the proper release order of Sword Art Online games is:
- Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment (2013)
- Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment (2014)
- Sword Art Online: Lost Song (2016)
- Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization (2016)
- Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet (2018)
- Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris (2020)
- Sword Art Online: Last Recollection (2023)
In what order should you play the Sword Art Online games?
The best order for playing Sword Art Online games is the release order. You should start your playthrough with Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment, released in 2013, and end it with Sword Art Online: Last Recollection, released in 2023. Keep reading this article for the detailed order of playing Sword Art Online games!
Sword Art Online games in chronological (explained)
1. Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment (2013)
Sword Art Online: Infinity Moment follows an alternate storyline from the end of the first story arc of the original narrative, in which a glitch causes Kirito and the other players to remain confined to Sword Art Online despite defeating Heathcliff, as well as other characters from the second and third arc of the game’s story, such as Leafa (Kirito’s adoptive sister and cousin) and Sinon, who are also sucked into the game.
2. Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment (2014)
The next game in our Sword Art Online playing order is Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment. After defeating Heathcliff on the 75th floor of Aincrad Castle, Kirito finds himself teleported to an unknown area of the game, called the Hollow Area, where he meets Philia, a player fleeing a monstrous Skull Reaper, long lost there. area, which initially mistakes Kirito for an enemy.
3. Sword Art Online: Lost Song (2015)
Sword Art Online: Lost Song released in 2015 follows Kirito and his friends after the events of Sword Art Online: Hollow Fragment. Physically recovered after waking up from SAO, Kirito and his group of surviving friends decide to reunite for fun in a new VRMMO, ALfheim Online. Their attention soon turns to a few islands, called Svart Alfheim, which have just been added to the game and which are more inspired than ever by Norse mythology.
4. Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization (2016)
Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization released in 2016 is known as the best Sword Art Online game in the franchise. After the experiences lived in the worlds of Sword Art Online and Alfheim Online, Kirito and his friends participate, since the debut of the beta version, in a new VRMMORPG: Sword Art: Origin (abbreviated SA: O), which reuses old data of the infamous Sword Art Online.
5. Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet (2018)
Sword Art Online: Fatal Bullet follows the events of Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization and is set in Gun Gale Online, a game published by Zaskar, following the advent of “the seed” or the world generation program.
The story focuses on a player-customizable protagonist who will also be joined by a mini-campaign focused on Kirito, called “Kirito Mode”, where the Death Gun incident has been modified to adapt it to the Gameverse, thus leading to the development of secondary events. in which both the main characters of the Gameverse and those of Fatal Bullet will participate.
6. Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris (2020)
For the first time in the franchise, Sword Art Online: Alicization Lycoris’s storyline closely follows the canon narrative from Alicization Beginning (volume 9) to Alicization Uniting (volume 14). After this initial stage, the game introduces a new arc centered around Medina Orthinanos.
7. Sword Art Online: Last Recollection (2023)
Last Recollection is the pinnacle of the Sword Art Online game series, boasting the most extensive roster of playable characters and sub-scenarios. Set in the War of Underworld anime arc, the game presents a fresh narrative filled with formidable challenges for Kirito and his newfound companions.
Which Sword Art Online game is the best?
The best Sword Art Online game is Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization. This is based on the reviews, but also our personal experience. Sword Art Online: Hollow Realization was released in 2016. All of the games so far have been inferior to the light novels and the anime series, but Hollow Realization is the closest to the original material in terms of quality and continuity.
Will there be more Sword Art Online games?
Unfortunately, the Last Recollection was planned to be the last entry in the main game series, and it doesn’t look like we will get another game any time soon. We will update you as soon as we have more information.
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