Which Sword Art Online Game Should You Get First?
Hey everyone, welcome to my channel, it’s
me Gamerturk and today, I am going to answer
a question that I have been asked many many
times as a Youtuber who focuses on Sword Art
Online games and that question is
“Which Sword Art Online game should I get
For those of you who are not patient that
result in my Audience Retention to remain at 30%,
the answer is either “Follow the Chronology
and start with Hollow Fragment”, which is
the default answer for someone who just wants
to follow the story or a definitive “Hollow
Realization” if you just want a good gaming
experience as a whole package.
Now that the video is done for the impatient
ones, I would appreciate if you at least click
that like button before you leave, because
now, I’m going to go more in depth with my
reasoning with a lot of talking.
Let me start by saying, this video has been
created in March 2018.
As of today, there are 5 Console/PC Sword
Art Online games available, those being Hollow
Fragment, Lost Song, Hollow Realization, Accel
World vs Sword Art Online and Fatal Bullet,
in that chronological order.
If you are watching this video in the future,
chances are, more games have been released,
but me not being a fortune teller, those future
games are not included in this video.
Now as I said at the beginning, if you are
here to follow the Gameverse story, after
at least experiencing the Aincrad arc of the
main series, and don’t really care about the
gameplay, my initial suggestion stands.
You should start with Sword Art Online Hollow
Fragment, which starts at the Floor 75 duel
between Kirito and Heathcliff, seperating
the Game continuity from the main canon by
taking it a completely different direction.
To follow the story after HF, you continue
with Lost Song, followed by Hollow Realization
and eventually Fatal Bullet.
Keep in mind that from all the information
we have so far, Accel World vs Sword Art Online,
while seemingly taking place in the Gameverse
continuity on a surface level, is most probably
a standalone game and is not actually a part
of the Gameverse canon, due to everlasting
consequences that cannot be fixed being absolutely
non-existant in Fatal Bullet, as well as the
game going above and beyond at being a total
nonsense on many aspects, including directly
contradicting the events of previous games.
As for those of you who are asking based on
the quality, the scope, the entertainment
value, the ambition of the games, the answer
easily becomes Hollow Realization.
HR, developed by Aquria, is still the golden
standard of an SAO game, from a storytelling
perspective, including the characterization/portrayal
of individual characters, as well as offering
a very ambitious and grand game, with over
a hundred hours of stuff to do and an intricate
combat system that is fun, as well as including
things to grind for without boring you to
But to be more specific, let me talk about
the other games first and what they do wrong
or at least do insufficiently.
Hollow Fragment, the very first Sword Art
Online game, developed by Aquria, which is
an extended remake of the PSP game Infinity
Moment, tells the story of what would happen,
if the players had to clear all 100 Floors,
while the remake additional story, called
the Hollow Story, is a parallel adventure
that takes place in a discarded area of Aincrad.
While the Hollow Story is by far the best
story the game has to offer, with decent story
pacing, enough mystery to keep you interested
and a fun structure, the same cannot be said
about the Aincrad story.
Sure, the players now have to clear the 100
There is literally nothing to do but clearing
While playing through Aincrad, you will soon
realize the entire story is mostly inconsequencial
and you are just in for a slogfest that requires
you to do the same objectives over and over
with minimal rewards, that is clearing Floors.
Writers tried shaping things up by also adapting
the Fairy Dance storyline, as well as an original
story to the last Floors, but again, the journey
is so long that the barren story they are
trying to convey here is stretched incredibly
thin, it makes you lose interest in what is
And the fact of the matter is, while it offers
a variety of sword skills, they all feel soo
clunky and slow that you can’t really shake
off the feeling that you are just doing the
same thing over and over, due to the adrenaline
just not being there.
The next game, Lost Song, takes place a little
after HF and inside ALfheim Online.
It is developed by Artdink and features a
completely different gameplay formula.
I like to call Lost Song as “Calibur arc of
the Gameverse”, since there is absolutely
no tension or barely anything to reach out
to your feelings in the story compared to
every other game or arc.
It is borderline inconsequential and the conflict
between Kirito and Seven, a newcomer to the
series, is absolutely artificial and relies
on Kirito deciding to just be a dick, since
the experiment Seven is conducting is not
illegal by any means and literally has no
negative effect that would put it in a grey
It is no different than a game offering you
an optional survey to ask for your opinions.
But Kirito decides it’s unethical, because
the game needs a conflict.
The story is not something “you have to experience”
and to be frank, the gameplay is not either.
While it is most certainly faster than what
Hollow Fragment offered, it feels incredibly
stiff and scripted.
Not in a “Quicktime events” kind of scripted,
but all your sword skills are scripted in
such a way, that in the case of your enemy
moving an inch to the side, will result in
your Sword Skills completely missing the target.
To add to that, the skills do not feel powerful.
I know I go a lot talking about the “feeling”
of things, but lets be honest, we play fantasy
games to feel powerful.
For all the negatives HF did, the spectacle
of a skill was not one of them.
Every skill you used was grand thanks to the
effects used on your skill.
Lost Song was missing that feeling.
And that is the biggest mistake a game based
on the power fantasy can commit.
Not feeling powerful.
Hollow Realization came after Lost Song, once
again, switching back to the initial developers
Aquria and Aquria sure as hell took this chance.
HR is essentially an upgraded Hollow Fragment,
but damn aren’t these upgrades great.
We have a much bigger, much more ambitious,
much more visually impressive game while we
dive into this brand new adventure in the
gameverse, taking place in a game, imitating
the world before Aincrad.
You have all your Sword Skills with all the
weapon types and a whole lot more.
You have the best characterization in the
gameverse, not relying too heavily on fanservice
and still offering emotional/intimate moments
between the characters, much better than any
other game so far.
The gameplay feels fast, responsive and actually
fun thanks to the new mechanics.
Despite being repetetive, you will never feel
like doing anything repetetive because the
fast paced action is there to distract you.
The skills are once again great showcases
of power and it’s a joy to use them, while
the in game mechanics are much less limiting
than what caused Hollow Fragment gameplay
to feel like a slog.
While the story premise is somewhat similar
to the original Aincrad, the single twist
takes the stakes away from the players and
put it on something they care about deeply
and for those interested, the story actually
has a nice question for you to think about.
Story pacing is much better than what was
present in HF, you will feel the story moving
forward constantly, instead of going through
huge chunks of gameplay before you proc the
next story advancement.
There is fun grind involved with the amazing
post-game content that will reward you with
even better and more impressive gear to equip.
And then there is the DLC Episodes, which
I have to say, is actually worth it, for the
side stories alone, let alone the main story.
If I have to criticize one thing about Hollow
Realization, it’s that the main campaign ending
literally incentives you to get the DLC, which
is not a practice I can get behind, but then
again, the DLC is worth it, so I am not willing
to complain too much.
Hollow Realization is by far the golden standard
for an SAO game at the moment.
In a weird timeframe, Accel World vs Sword
Art Online came out, actually intervening
with the release schedule of Hollow Realization
DLC’s and this was the point where I started
getting the questions about the games as well.
This game, effectively cannibalized the sales
of Hollow Realization and the release schedule
and the effort that went into this game was
the proof that AWvsSAO was just a blatant
It is once again developed by Artdink, and
it is once again, Lost Song.
In my First Impressions video, I gave the
game the benefit of the doubt for the minor
improvements I saw in the early sections of
the game, hoping for more improvements in
general but I was thoroughly disappointed.
The entire game feels like a story expansion
for Lost Song, with the improvements between
the two games being even less worthy than
what Hollow Realization offered as free gameplay
This is topped off by the worst personality
portrayal of individual characters in the
entire series, turning every side event into
a fanservice and the main story that does
not explain integral story bits properly,
making you question your sanity during time
travel parts, which is a huge shame, considering
this game actually had the best premise in
the entire gameverse, having a very personal
and touching story for the main characters.
And dont get me even started on the DLC, the
single DLC this game has, offers less content
than a single DLC Chapter Hollow Realization
I am actually quite glad, this game is not
considered a part of the Gameverse canon and
am quite sad that it managed to be nothing
more than a blatant cash grab.
Such an amazing premise could have been handled
in a much better way.
Sadly, AWvsSAO is effectively filled with
events that are essentially what SAO haters
think SAO is.
Just a cashgrab in the form of fanservice.
And last but not least, we got Sword Art Online
Fatal Bullet, the game that was teased back
in Hollow Realization and finally took place
in Gun Gale Online.
This one is developed by Dimps and is essentially
your Freedom Wars successor if you ever encountered
It is a third person looter shooter that is
completely different from the previous games.
While I had incredibly high hopes for this
game, considering the success of Freedom Wars,
but I was left slightly disappointed.
Again, it’s a game with great premise, that
doesn’t quite live up to it.
For the first time, you actually play as your
own character and you see and experience Kirito
from a third person perspective, which is
a neat change.
The problem is, the game was heavily advertised
as “Your choices will have effects on the
world”, which turned out to be heavily false
You have dialogue choices in the game for
your own character, which results in miniscule
changes in the sentece that follows yours,
which has absolutely no effect in the world.
And the one meaningful choice you make at
the end of the game is bogged down by the
game offering a third “True Ending”, which
leads to your choice, effectively not having
any effect whatsoever in the world, considering
the canon result is already there.
The story pacing is extremely off as well
and most characters don’t feel natural as
to how they got so close to your character.
60% of the game, you will be collecting materials
without advancing the story anywhere, which
feels a lot like playing Hollow Fragment.
You just “do stuff” without any real payoff,
turning the majority of the story campaign
into a slogfest.
I have to mention the difficulty curve here
as well, the game forces you to grind outside
of the story, because the story events alone
are not enough to carry you through the story.
You will feel extremely powerless and fragile,
unless you do your own grinding.
Overall, while I put this game in the second
spot for my best Gameverse game recommendation,
it is disappointing that I expected this game
to actually top that chart by miles, considering
the build up to it.
But thats it from me today.
If you want more in depth looks into these
games, I have my reviews available on my channel
with a lot more information on the individual
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