7 Games like Sword Art Online

Updated on April 12, 2016

Sword Art Online—A Virtual Reality MMORPG

Sword Art Online (SAO) is a popular Japanese light novel series by best-selling writer Reki Kawahara. It has been adapted into three manga, an anime, and a video game for the PlayStation Portable.

SAO has taken the anime world by storm. Many consider it one of the best anime series in recent years. Its storyline is extremely compelling, and it successfully takes the viewer into a virtual world experience.

Ever since its release, many anime and gaming fans have been wondering if there are games like Sword Art Online. Of course there isn't anything like the Nerve Gear out there yet, so let's look at the current MMORPGs on the market.

I also want to note that these games do not have all the features available on SAO, but I think these are the closest games to SAO that exist so far. Feel free to add to the list by sharing your thoughts in the comments section.

7 Games Like Sword Art Online

First Released
Other Notes
May 2012
BlueHole Studio
Very smooth combat.
March 2008
Tactical combat. Fun and detailed world.
Dragon Nest
October 2011
Non-targeting combat system.
Wizardry Online
March 2013
Permadeath means you could permanently lose your character.
November 2012
Maiet Entertainment
A lot of flexibility in character development.
Age of Wushu
May 2013
Snail Games
When you're offline, you remain in the game as an NPC.
March 2001
Free to play, but paying players get more value.

1. Tera


The Exiled Realm of Arborea (TERA) is a 3D fantasy MMORPG developed by Bluehole Studio. In February 2013, TERA transitioned from a subscription model into a freemium design in North America and Europe. This allows players to play the game for free with the option of buying premium status.

The Details

What sets TERA apart from other MMORPGs is its action-based combat system. Forget about clicking or tab-targeting monsters before attacking. This game is played from the third-person perspective and you use a cross-hair cursor to aim your attacks. The real-time battle system also requires you to actively dodge enemy attacks.

TERA has a huge open world, with other features such as questing, crafting, and obtaining professions. PvP is done in the open world, which adds significantly to the action you experience while doing quests or traveling. You can choose from seven races and eight classes, each with its own strengths and weaknesses. Guild housing is also available, allowing you to have time to chat and strategize with your guildmates.

My Verdict

TERA is one of the best MMORPGs out there. The exciting combat system and persistent game world make for an action-filled experience. Be sure to check out this absolutely amazing game.

Video Review: Tera

2. Mabinogi

Mabinogi is an action MMORPG developed by Nexon. The game world is persistently expanded through important updates which introduce new areas, skills, and advancements in the storyline.

The Details

In Mabinogi, you are not limited by any class other than your character's race. You have the freedom to choose and level up any of the available skills. Ability points are required to learn and upgrade skills. The key feature of Mabinogi is its combat system. Your skills are going to be put to the test as you must predict the movements of your enemies and time your skills precisely. This makes the game's combat more tactical compared to other games.

You can increase your character's statistics, which include Strength, Intelligence, Dexterity, Will, and Luck, to make you more powerful in combat. The game also has a lot of quests and you can also take on part-time jobs to gain various rewards.

My Verdict

Mabinogi is a must-try game for every MMORPG fan. Its combat system is unparalleled and creates a gaming experience unlike any other. The game's exploration quests and fantasy life feature are also interesting additions that make Mabinogi even more fun and exciting.

Mabinogi Gameplay: First Look HD

3. Dragon Nest

Dragon Nest is a free-to-play MMORPG developed by Eyedentity. If you're looking for a game that is filled with action and adventure, then be sure to not miss out on this fantastic game.

The Details

Dragon Nest features a non-targeting combat system. This means that you have complete control over your character's movements. You are going to spend most of your time teaming up with other players to complete instanced dungeons. You can learn Devastating skills to aid you in defeating monsters and gain an advantage over your PvP opponents.

The combat system of Dragon Nest also makes the gameplay mostly skill-based. This allows you to battle high-level players and still come out on top. The game has six playable characters, each one branching out into two classes upon the first job change and another two classes on the second job change.

My Verdict

The fast-paced combat system of Dragon Nest is enough to keep you glued to your seats for hours at a time. Enjoy this amazing game as you try to finish instanced dungeons with your friends.

Dragon Nest Gameplay

4. Wizardry Online

Wizardry Online is a free-to-play MMORPG developed by Gamepot. It is based on the classic Wizardry games originally created by Sir-Tech. The game was released outside of Japan on January 2013 by Sony Online Entertainment.

The Details

Wizardry Online features five races (Human, Elf, Porkul, Dwarf (male-only), and Gnome (female-only)) as well as four classes (Fighter, Priest, Mage, and Thief). You can create a character using any combination of these races and classes. Upon character creation, you receive a set amount of points which you can use to increase your character's attributes. The game also allows you to change your class as long as you meet the required attribute points to unlock the class you want.

There is also a challenging addition to the gameplay known as Permadeath. When your character dies, there is a chance of losing your character forever. This applies regardless of whether you have been slain by a player or a monster. This risk is increased by the open world PvP, where you can attack other players not only in fields and dungeons but also in towns.

My Verdict

Wizardry Online has a lot to keep you hooked with the game. The Permadeath feature provides an added challenge, requiring you to be quick and careful with your actions.

Wizardly Online First Look

5. Raiderz

RaiderZ is a game developed by MAIET Entertainment with fast-paced combat and exceptional character progression.

The Details

The game features the usual MMORPG elements such as quests, PvP battles and crafting. The combat system requires you to actively participate in combat instead of the typical point and click controls in other games. You can't just swing your weapon aimlessly at your enemies. You must dodge enemy attacks and correctly position yourself to gain an advantage over your opponent.

What sets RaiderZ apart from other games is its unique character progression. During character creation, you can choose from four basic combat styles: Defender (Tank), Berserker (Melee DPS), Cleric (Healer), and Sorcerer (Range DPS). Once you reach level 10, you can choose to learn any skill from any of the four styles. For instance, you can choose to be a Defender with huge armor plates and learn magic attacks. This feature makes the game much more interesting, allowing you to develop your character in any way you want.

My Verdict

RaiderZ is an exciting MMORPG like Sword Art Online that offers a lot more than other games on the market. If you're looking for a game that gives you the freedom to develop your character however you want, then RaiderZ is the perfect game for you.

RaiderZ Gameplay: First Look

6. Age of Wushu

Age of Wushu is a martial-arts-themed MMORPG developed by Snail Games. It consists of a lot of gaming elements that are not usually seen in other MMORPGs.

The Details

The game does not have a class system, which allows you to create a character and choose the skills you want. You must choose one of the eight player factions, or Schools, which include: Shaolin, Wudang, Emei, Beggar, Tang Clan, Scholar's Academy, Royal Guard, and Wanderer's Valley. There are skills that are unique to a specific school known as Internal Skills.

You are unable to use these skills once you leave the faction. External Skills are the game's combat skills. The game has a player reputation system called Chivalry and Guilt. If you have twice the amount of Chivalry than Guilt, you become Heroic. Twice the Guilt over Chivalry makes you Evil. When you are logged off of the game, you stay in the game as an NPC.

Age of Wushu has the unique feature of kidnapping, which allows you to abduct and sell an offline player to an NPC for a quest and a profit. Other players can either rescue or steal the hostage from the kidnapper. Saving the hostage will increase your Chivalry while completing the kidnapping will increase your Guilt.

My Verdict

Age of Wushu is a highly entertaining game, featuring martial-arts styles and superhuman abilities. There are no class levels and restrictions, which allows you to play the game as you wish.

Age of Wushu Gameplay: First Look

7. RuneScape


RuneScape is a fantasy MMORPG developed by Jagex Games Studios. With over 200 million accounts created, RuneScape is recognized by the Guinness World Records as the world's largest free MMORPG and is also one of the most updated games.

The Details

The game has a nonlinear storyline which allows you to create your own goals and objectives. You can train your in-game skills, fight NPC monsters, and complete quests. RuneScape features a semi-real-time combat system and is divided into three main categories: melee, magic, and ranged. You can retrieve items or gold from defeated monsters or players. You can also go to the Wilderness to engage in PvP battles with other players.

My Verdict

RuneScape is a timeless classic, still going strong after more than a decade of existence. The game's accessibility through a browser is a key ingredient to its success, allowing virtually anyone to play the game. It may not have the fancy graphics of today's new games, but it will eat up your time with its never-ending and exciting gameplay.

RuneScape Gameplay: First Look

Which game like Sword Art Online will you check out?

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Questions & Answers


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      • profile image

        Get your facts straight 

        8 days ago

        Its funny you put Wizardy on here like it was even available when this article was originally posted. Its been a dead game since a year after launch and was shut down around that same time.

      • Tenketsu profile image


        24 months ago

        wizardry... i got nothing, i know right, me not playing an mmo, oh wait i avoid WoW like the plague

        raiderz is gone... sadly

        age of poopoo... hahahahahaa, no, just no, when the majority of what you do is travel, and combat sucks, ive played most mmos to know suck and nonsuck, no

        mabinogi... oh yeah, and it had an sao event last year.. or the year before, it was pretty good.

        tera... near sao like hit detection:collision based and smooth combat yes... lack of freedom, no

        runescape... maybe


        mortal online... sadly this is closer to sao, but only the launch sao not subsequent rereleases like ALO, SA:O, GGO

        black desert online... with class, weapon, gender locks, no, lack of teleports, no, combat/crafting/CC... YES YES YASS

        archeage... class freedom/gear freedom, yes... most nearly everything, hahahahaa

        onigiri... hell yes, big mega whoppers yes......... but not because the combat is smooth and silky, its not, last i played, and there are only weapons and weapon skills, just like sao, and AI partners when you want to solo

        So i will kinda ask you to redo this list of yours?

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        The creators even mentioned that Wizardry was the game that lead to SAO. It's a great game but not for people with no patience or fore thought.

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        Add SAO Legends its a game so close to sao

      • profile image


        2 years ago

        there is rappelz to

      • profile image

        Kon Skyplay 

        2 years ago

        How is the Phantasy Star series not on here?

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        Why is there no Guild Wars 2?

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        SAO is more like Cabal 1

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        I bealieave if they made a game with a first person system like skyrim because to me that's what sao would feel like and if they gave it infinit custmizastions like sao and free running house building and pretty much a game that genorateaed it's own wepons and what not that there could be an amazing game from that idea but the problem is that it would be very difficult to get the rescouses and people to create such a massive thing and if Sony and Microsoft came together on something like this it could completely change the gaming world but that's very unlikely

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        Elder Scrolls Online is kinda similar since its first person, it's also going to be a f2p

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        i played most of this games and non of them are like SAO only thing that is the same is they are all MMORPG but nothing alse

      • profile image


        3 years ago

        IMPORTANT!!! go take a look at Black Desert Online. its now in BETA in korea. full game will be released in western countries in 2016. its amazing and the closest thing ive ever seen to SAO

      • TCoote profile image


        3 years ago from Florida

        I remember playing runescape for a few years i don't think its similar to sao but then again i have played it in long time so i can't say, but I would love to try age of wushu I heard its fun. I have a friend that is addicted to Tera. what about the age of aincrad?

      • muppetpilot profile image

        Ryan Goodman 

        3 years ago from Indiana, USA

        Not sure Tera is so much like Sword Art but it's one of the very best F2P MMOs out there. You know, I haven't played it in a while, cranked it up today and made a Reaper, whoa!

      • profile image


        4 years ago

        guys mabinogi is the most like sao with everything there was an SAO dlc for godsakes but it is still an aqiured taste

      • profile image


        4 years ago

        after watching the Wizardry Online video, I thought that it seemed to be the closest to SAO in that the dungeons are not something to laugh about. it is necessary to join parties in order to complete the dungeons and the game has the feature of possible character deletion if the character dies from a monster or PvP. I was excited to play the game, but then I found out that the game was ended by Sony Online Entertainment and Gamepot as of July 31, 2014. if anyone doubts this, go to https://forums.station.sony.com/wo/index.php?threa.../with-great-regret-we-announce-your-wizardry-journey-is-coming-to-an-end.4771/

        because of this, i recommend editing this article to include the fact that some of the games mentioned are no longer playable.

      • profile image


        4 years ago

        Another game that came out recently is Dragon's Prophet. It's a high end action mmorpg like RaiderZ and Dragon's Nest with the added benefit of having your own Dragon. Unfortunately since I only have a low-spec laptop and no money for a good computer I haven't been able to play it first hand, but it's definitely a game I want to check out.

      • profile image


        4 years ago

        Only games that are somewhat similar to SAO are Mabinogi and RaiderZ. Other games have nothing in common.

      • profile image


        4 years ago

        a realm reborn!

      • SimilarSam profile image


        4 years ago from Australia

        For me nothing really compares to TERA, definitely the best option here and worthy of that top spot.

      • phillippeengel profile image

        Deng Xiang 

        4 years ago

        The game which has the most cultural significance would probably be Age of Wushu. In this game, it's not about fighting and dueling per se, but it also features the mesmerizing architecture and the traditions of the Chinese. Not only will you love the gameplay, you will also be more interested in the Chinese culture. It's somewhat educational and definitely worth a try.

      • profile image


        4 years ago

        After searching for a few days, when I first watched the subbed SAO, I found the best hope we have to coming close to SAO, and that is actaully a game called AOA or as it will be known "Age of Aincrad", they have only hit floor 10 so far in development as far as I know but they are going to do it some day, maybe when the anime hits its series finale maybe within the next year, whatever the case I don't know but for now I've been downloading PSO2 seeing as how I personally feel this will probably come closest (not that mabinogi isn't extremely close as is, if only they would expand on it more)

      • profile image


        4 years ago

        iv played every last game on this list for at least 24 hours , and mabinogi is the closest thing to S.A.O. in fact its exactly like s.a.o. would be if they kept advancing it, theres no class system (talent system aka 2x exp for skills in a certain fighting style) complete character customization, hundreds of thousands of different types of armors, clothes, costumes, life skills like with S.A.O. including FISHING, and SMITHING, you can set up a shop or even a house shop, its exactly like S.A.O but with things that make the experience better, like rebirthing, commercing from town to town, not only is there melee (warriors) but theres archery, lancers (knights), mages, clerics, alchemists, martial artists, gunslingers, puppetiers, bards (musicians) and everything in-between and those are talents not classes/jobs, so you can have a hybrid talent or have multiple hybrids, your not limited to which, but its better to stick with classes that can be used well together, also the weapon choises are about a plethora times larger veriaty (swords, axes, blunts, scythes, 2h swords, 2h axes, 2h blunts, knuckles, daggers, many MANY different musical instruments, wands, staves, control baws, cyliunders, shields(not necisarrily a weapon), i think im forgetting a few others..iif anybody desides to play it, im on mari server, my name is bloodvampire. i have been playing for around 5 years now.

      • profile image

        RS player 

        5 years ago

        RuneScape is NOTHING LIKE SAO

        i played it for 3 years and people have stopped playing when i first started there were at least 1mil in game now there is barely 30k if that

      • profile image


        5 years ago

        Tera is the best game on this list as well as the closest game to SAO in current existence.

        Age of Wushu is unique and fun, but not so much like SAO.

        Dragon Nest is like SAO and overall a great game.

        RuneScape used to be an extremely fun game in its day, but now it is garbage. However, Jagex has an "old school RuneScape" version but it requires paid membership. Old School is an ADDICTING and great game, and much like SAO with the skills, quests, and socialization, but other than that not much like SAO at all.

        Wizardry is a waste of your time; don't even try it.

        RaiderZ and Mabinogi I haven't played that much, but I have heard RaiderZ is good.

      • Caleb Melvern profile imageAUTHOR

        Caleb Melvern 

        5 years ago from Philippines

        Age of Wushu is definitely worth checking out! I hope you enjoy the game! Thanks for reading!

      • Dreamhowl profile image

        Jessica Marello 

        5 years ago from United States

        I absolutely love Sword Art Online, and love the suggestions for games that you gave here. Age of Wushu seems especially interesting - it might be worth me checking it out! Voted up.


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