If fans disliked the switch from Sword Art Online to Alfheim Online, then they were destined to despise Gun Gale Online for the same reasons. But, events specific to this online shooter game and those that relate to what transpires in the original Sword Art Online prove that GGO is a perfect sequel.
A reason why some fans think Dot Hack is Sword Art Online done right, the shift to ALO may have altered the setting, character designs and power systems from SAO, but at it still takes place in a fantasy realm with a magic system. Another plus about ALO is that the most likeable characters from SAO would later join Kirito in adventures there as well. Like ALO’s first arc, the only member of the original SAO squad in GGO is Kirito, with a girl avatar no less. What’s worse is that GGO is in a futuristic setting with modern weapons, the exact opposite of fantasy-based RPGs like SAO.
Gun Gale Online’s Events are Wholly Unique
Kirito’s journey in Gun Gale Online could only be possible in the series’ cyberpunk setting. Kirito’s ability to acclimate to Gun Gale‘s setting by wielding a variation of the type of weapon he was used to accomplishing more than just serving as a fun way to show his character’s adaptability. First, he’s able to transform his chosen laser sword from something that was perceived as the most useless weapon into one of the best. Second, how Kirito naturally finds his way back to swords is indicative of one of the arc’s most prevalent themes: that the characters and decisions they make in the game are a reflection of the player’s true self. Third, Kirito embraces his gun to win his final battle, which is irony at its best and could never have translated well in ALO.
For the same reason, Gun Gale serves as the perfect sequel to the storylines in SAO involving the Laughing Coffin guild. The members of Laughing Coffin actively sought out to kill their fellow players in the game with the knowledge that their victims’ real bodies would die as well. Since no one can actually die in any of these virtual reality games anymore, the surviving members of Laughing Coffin in GGO have to come up with unique ways in order to create the allusion that they are killing other players in the game. The fact that Gun Gale introduces a never-before-seen storyline about the Laughing Coffin guild further underscores how much the guild members were willing to adapt to carry out their desires in such a different setting. Moreover, their adaptability is another example of the arc’s overall theme that players who are a certain way in one game are the same in another regardless of how different the games are.
Sinon’s Trauma Only Works In Gun Gale’s Setting
Lastly, the personal journey of Sinon’s character couldn’t been replicated in a fantasy world like Sword Art Online or Alfheim. Sinon is traumatized by how she had been forced to kill an armed robber with a gun and tries to overcome her fear of guns that’s triggered whenever she sees one or someone just makes the gesture with their hands through immersion by shooting guns in Gun Gale.
No one uses swords, spells or any other fantasy-based methods of attack in the real world. Sinon’s therapy in the game would have to be the same as her “trigger” in real life. Moreover, the gun she used as a child also appears in the game. The fact that Sinon’s journey continues in Alfheim further justifies Gun Gale Online because, like Kirito, she adapts to the fantasy-world setting by wielding weapons that best emulate guns.
Sword Art Online is streaming on Crunchyroll.