Sword Art Online vs Gun Gale Online: What’s the difference between the two games?

Sword Art Online vs Gun Gale Online

In the world of Sword Art Online, VR technology and by extension VRMMORPGs are the very foundation of the narrative. While the technology is extensively showcased in various ways, VR Games seem to be the most prominent means and within that subset, two games are the most important ones for the plot – Sword Art Online (SAO) and Gun Gale Online (GGO).

This raises one crucial question, Sword Art Online vs Gun Gale Online: What’s the difference between the two games?

Sword Art Online vs Gun Gale Online

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Asuna (Image via IMDb)

SAO is set in a medieval fantasy realm with swords, magic, castles, and mystical creatures modeled after traditional RPGs like Final Fantasy. The setting is reminiscent of classics like Lord of the Rings. GGO on the other hand takes place in a post-apocalyptic, war-torn setting focused on firearms and shooting mechanics.

  • The environments, themes, and backstories of the two games are completely opposite.
  • The medieval fantasy trappings of SAO feature ornate armor, cloaks, castles, glowing magic visuals, and mystical creatures.
  • The world resembles a Tolkien fantasy. GGO uses modern visuals like camo fatigues, guns, tech ware, visors, mechanical elements, and crumbling urban settings to match its gritty shooter theme.

Gameplay and Skills

SAO uses traditional RPG elements like one-handed sword skills, blacksmithing for weapons/armor, meditation to regain health, and magic spells to call upon supernatural attacks or healing. GGO forgoes these stereotypical RPG skills and instead requires knowledge of real-world guns, military training, and combat tactics. Things like scanning, satellite tracking, formations, and stealth are essential in GGO.

  • Because of its ranged focus, PVP in GGO is slower-paced and more calculated, with an emphasis on taking cover, securing high vantage points, and ambushing enemies.
  • SAO’s action-oriented sword duels feature more movement, aerial attacks, parrying, and reflex-dependent play. Duels are decided in seconds, while GGO matches can last longer.
  • GGO favors strategy while SAO values reaction time and technical sword skills.

Action and Combat

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Sword Art Online | Image Courtesy via IMDb

Combat in SAO emphasizes melee weapons and sword skills. Players must get up close to enemies and use combo attacks, spells, and carefully-timed parries to defeat foes. Duels often involve close-quarters swordplay and sometimes magic. GGO uses long-range weapons like sniper rifles, plasma cannons, and grenade launchers. Victory depends more on aim, positioning, and tactical squad maneuvers rather than raw stats or reflexes. Long range is favored.

  • The most crucial difference between the two, however, is that in SAO, player death resulted in actual death for the user due to the nerve gear helmet technology utilized.
  • Death in GGO simply respawns the player after a short cooldown period.
  • This makes GGO’s PVP less high-stakes than SAO‘s original deadly battles where loss meant death in real life.


Overall, while they share the VRMMORPG style, SAO, and GGO provide very different experiences with their own distinct flair. Their worlds, combat, skills, and PVP capture polar opposites between fantasy swordsmanship and military shooter games.

This diversity is part of what makes the franchise compelling. The Gun Gale Online Anime exists to accurately differentiate the kind of stories that could be told in these two worlds.

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