Review: Xuan Yuan Sword 7
Today no Japanese RPG in the form of Dragon Quest or Final Fantasy and certainly no Western RPG in the form of The Witcher, Fallout or Skyrim. We take a look at a Chinese RPG, the first of this franchise to appear in the West: Xuan Yuan Sword 7.
Xuan Yuan Sword is an RPG series being developed by Domo Studio under the Softstar umbrella, a Taiwanese developer and publisher. Today we are talking about the seventh part of this franchise. Xuan Yuan Sword 7 appears more than 21 years after the first part on the Playstation in the west. Previously, PC players could already get started with the Chinese RPG.
Don't be put off by the number 7. The Xuan Yuan titles can be compared to Final Fantasy and Dragon Quest in that respect. Each part contains a new cast of characters and its own story. Here and there you may see references to previous parts, but in principle you won't miss anything if you haven't played previous parts. That is very unlikely in this case, unless you can understand Chinese fluently, read and are somehow a huge fan of this RPG series.
Xuann Yuan Sword 7 is a third-person Action RPG made in Unreal Engine 4. This gives the game the well-known UE4 powers and ailments. The ame doesn't really excel at anything, but it isn't particularly bad at anything either. It is a typical A or double A title with minimal flaws, but also minimal finishing.
The story in this Chinese RPG mainly revolves around Chinese history and mythology. That's why you play in an imaginative world with castles and villages from ancient Chinese times. There is a lot of character associated with this style and you will find that a lot in the small-scale villages that you will find between the mountains with lots of green that crosses on your path.
At times the game also looks very nice. You can see far into the distance and it remains detailed for a long time so you really have the feeling that you are walking somewhere in a Chinese landscape. Especially the areas around you ranging from wooded trails, small villages, castles and dungeons look beautiful. The characters, animations and faces are slightly less beautifully finished, but actually it is not entirely disturbing and this was not really in line with expectations. It's all fine, not particularly bad, not particularly good either.
The style of the game can best be compared to Japanese antiquity. Many building structures are very similar, but in terms of characters you do notice differences. Of course it has that Eastern look, but you can clearly see that it is really an RPG with a Chinese theme. For example, you see many figures from Chinese drawings and many fighters really have those traditional armor and weapons. It is a very interesting title to familiarize you with the fanciful features of Chinese history.
In between pg'tje
In Xuan Yuan Sword 7, we follow the story of a boy who is suddenly forced to leave his hometown when invaders appear. His family is murdered and the whole city is on fire. Apparently a bamboo roll has surfaced somewhere and it is very important. Why? No idea. That's definitely something we'll find out.
Time is fast forwarded 10 years and in these 10 years the country is a bit Chaotic. There is war and when you think it can't get any worse, that bamboo scroll that disappeared 10 years ago has suddenly reappeared. Because this role is apparently so important, it creates even more drama and this is where our adventure actually begins. Why and what exactly is our connection to that role? Those are great questions that will keep you busy during your playthrough of about 20 hours.
Very nice pace
The great thing about Xuan Yuan Sword 7 is that it knows what it is. It's a budget RPG in the most positive sense. Everything is therefore neatly framed and nothing feels unfinished, rushed or out of place. It all fits neatly within the framework and it is also all equally engaging. Deviating from the common thread to do something different will not cost you hours, but minutes and that is sometimes quite nice for a change. It's a bite-sized and fairly linear RPG with just enough freedom to feel free as well. In addition to a common thread through the story, the game also offers you some optional quests, a unique kind of chess game where your opponents get better and better, a crafting system and a mild system to put together your character build.
The pacing is really good, because the developers realize that they don't have to make a huge Open World RPG with a lot of filler to stretch the duration. It's all opinion full and to the point. That applies to every system that the game uses and they almost all work well and entertaining. Xuan Yuan Sword 7 knows exactly when to give you new stuff and also knows how to keep it interesting throughout the entire ride. There is not a single boring bit where you are saddled with boring filler content.
Xuan Yuan Sword 7 is the first Chinese RPG I've played and it actually surprised me positively. It's nowhere near Game of the Year, but it's an entertaining bite-sized snack. The game doesn't excel at anything, but it doesn't fail at anything either. It basically plays as you'd expect with your traditional action-combat, crafting system, special attacks and more, but does so with excellent pacing that doesn't make for a duller moment. It's a nice RPG with a fun factor that is actually constant and we don't see that much.
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