Developer: Softstar Entertainment
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Reviewed On: PS4 Pro
Release Date: 30/09/2021
Reviewed By: Keith Lavelle
Review Rush was kindly supplied with a review code.
I knew nothing about the Xuan Yuan Sword series going in to this review and well I going to keep this short. It’s one of the biggest surprise of 2021. For what it has to offer.
Xuan Yuan Sword has been going for thirty years now over in the East. We in the West are only getting introduced to this series now. Playing this has really made us want to check out some older ones.
The story revolves around Tashi Zhao, a lovable and relatable big brother who is trying to protect his sister after their parents were murdered in a political uprising. Tashi has dedicated his life to protecting his sister, while also honing his martial prowess and some mystical arts. On their escape from the murder of their parents, his sister becomes ill. So Tashi becomes a mercenary to proved her with the medication she needs.
While on a simple job to lead a small group of troops through a forest haunted by demons. The troops lose control of the demons and Tashi’s sister is almost killed. In fear for her life, Tashi teleports them to a trapped deity for help. As it is trapped, the deity teaches Tashi a spell to move his sister’s soul in to a doll to keep her animated. The rest is the duo’s adventure to save the body of the wounded sister.
One thing that Xuan Yuan Sword 7 does really well is setting up the relationship between Tashi and his sister and the true sibling bond they share. You have Tashi doing everything he can to help his sister, from telling her tales of ancient China to singing a lullaby. And the heartfelt conversations between the two. By doing this, you are invested in the pair and it sets up the story and tone for the rest of the game.
Xuan Yuan 7 is an ARPG with a heavy story focus. While there are plenty of cutscenes and character development throughout. The game has a great and robust battle system. That allows the player to customise how Tashi will fight. There are fast light attacks, heavy attacks, martial arts and magic attacks. If Tashi has teammates, you can get them to perform their special attack, otherwise they will fight on their own.
Fights feel fluid and smooth, while the game lends heavily from ancient China, then the action has to feel and look good. Mixing up light and heavy attacks to cause maximum damage, while using martial arts to stun enemies in place. Along with a bit of magic to trap the demons’ souls (for later use). There was never a dull moment with fights. Every time I attacked a goblin or a weird wolf dragon, I never found the combat to get boring or repetitive. It was always a treat.
Let’s Get Upgrading
What is a good RPG without an upgrade system and level ups. The level up system mainly works to improve Tashi’s base stats, and over the course of the game, and it does not feel like massive buffs. The real buffs come from is the weapons, clothing and accessories that can be equipped for the party. Also, the souls I mentioned make a massive impact here.
While the story progresses, Tashi will come across materials like iron, woods, gems and so on. These are used in unlocking and upgrading workshops. The work shops allow for weapon upgrading, armour crafting accessories and making upgradable soul orbs, by combining not only souls of trapped enemies but also items. The orbs are the most interesting of the workshops as they will give the party buff, attack and defence increases and utility upgrades like decreased cool downs. There are a LOADS of these orbs to unlock as up to four items can be combined.
The world and dungeons
First, I have to say Xuan Yuan Sword 7 is a beautiful-looking game. I was not sure what to expect, but for the most part, the world is stunning. With some impressive lighting effects, detailed surrounding and a day and night cycle.
While following the rather liner story, you will run in to dungeons and simple climbing sections. The climbing sections seemed very frequent and were more there to buffer the game’s length. While exploring dungeons, you will come across puzzles to solve, these will at first be a bit of a head scratcher. But after a bit of planning and examining are do able. If you do not want to or are finding puzzles too hard, we can skip all together them.
When in towns there are some side quest to do for some NPCs, these are usually straightforward and easy to complete. However, for me, it was playing a version of Nine Men’s Morris. I loved playing it as a kid.
Lost in translation.
This problem comes in the form of the subtitles. I noticed a few translation mistakes, bring spelling and some grammar problems. And at times, the subtitles disappearing and reappearing. Nothing major, normally, but with such a story heavy game, it could be annoying.
Xuan Yuan Sword 7 is a surprise hit that I never saw coming. With simple but gratifying combat and a beautiful and liner world to explore. What is on offer may be to some limited, but what Xuan Yuan Sword 7 gives the player is a well written and excellently presented ARPG. And it is defiantly worth checking out.