Xuan Yuan Sword 7 is an Action RPG, developed by Softstar and DOMO Studios. Originally released for PC, and consoles in Asia I’m 2020. EastAsiaSoft is publishing worldwide on September 30th, 2021!
*Disclaimer: A code was provided to me by the publisher for the purposes of this review. That does not affect my opinions. As my thoughts are mine and mine alone.
Your sister is sick, and cannot leave the house very far. As a hunter, you do what you can to make money to be able to take her to see a doctor. Until one day you help the wrong people and your sister ends up dying. But there is a way to save her body. All you have to do is help this mysterious “King” who’s been locked behind a door to be the guardian of the “Elysium”. Unfortunately for you, as you journey to try and save your sister, you find yourself caught up in the middle of a war.
The game takes place during the Han Dynasty of the Chinese nations. I’m not 100% sure if where you are is actually a part of China, or if it’s more of a backdrop to it all, but it helps set up everything. Even all of the dialogue is spoken in Mandarin. The war, the locale, the characters, and there are a ton of those. The story itself starts off a bit wild, then slows down again until everything starts to hit the fan again. Between the many storylines going on in the game, I expected something to be lacklustre. Between helping save your sister, and assisting in a war, and saving a king and so on, it all keeps it pace pretty well. But there was one part of the story, where a character said something and it had me going “WHA!?”, but then it was never touched on again. Or even brought up. I even read the lore that you unlock throughout the game and it wasn’t there either! So I’m not 100% sure why the line was even there.
Although there are a lot of characters, some of them are very cardboard like….like the villain. He’s very clearly the villain, and you guess it just by looking at him, and that’s it. He has his one reason for why he’s evil. Then there’s Zhao and Xiang, the main characters. Zhao goes from wanting to save Xiang at all costs, without the care of anyone or anything else. Even without listening to Xiang. But eventually he grows to understand he can’t live like that. Then there’s Xiang, who’s the silly bubbly character. Going from the silly helpless little sister to the badass fighter, who unfortunately likes to bite off more than she can chew. Watching the character growth was so satisfying and funny between these two siblings, it made me wish I still had such a bond with my siblings.
The world itself feels so alive…in a sense. When you get to the town’s, the streets are filled with people, and if you stand near them, you see them having a conversation with each other, or talking to themselves. These aren’t voiced, as it’s just text above their heads, but you get to see life in each village. In one town, there was a boy who was throwing a tantrum because his mother wouldn’t let him go to the market, and she told him to stop or he’ll never go again. In other towns where there’s death and destruction, you feel for the families, as you can see their reactions to it all, and crying children. The music helps set the tone to mind you, and it makes you feel the destruction and despair that you see.
The game itself plays as an action game with RPG elements. You get to level up, craft new armor if you’d like, and even upgrade your weapon! Which even changes the look of it, as you upgrade it. Instead of just “this sword will look the same forever”. Though the game tries to be souls-like, which is very evident, I just got through the game mashing R1. Which sometimes made combat boring, but when enemies were tossed in that I couldn’t just do that, their attacks were so awful that it didn’t make it enjoyable. There are skills that you acquire throughout the game as well, called “Martial Arts”. The more you use them, the more they level, and the more powerful they become. Though to level them up, all I had to do was mash R2 in some combat sections, and before I knew it, they’d be levelled up. Then I only really used two out of the five you acquired. But they did come in handy for killing really annoying enemies when I saw them!
Then with the bosses, there are such difficulty spikes! I never died in the game at all, except for falling off of cliffs, until the second boss rolled around. This boss took me a good hour and a half on normal to beat. As suddenly I had to play very defensively as this boss could kill me in one combo! So here I was, running around the battlefield, letting my AI teammates slowly kill the boss, as I try to stay alive, because the attack patterns were such bullshit, I never had an opening to actually do damage myself! The difference between normal and easy was also pretty wild. On the last boss, it was late at night, and I had died about 3 times already. So I said “screw this, I wanna see the credits before bed”, and I switched the difficulty to “Easy”, and my god. Suddenly I was taking almost no damage, then I took off about ¼ of the bosses health off with one combo myself! I was thrown for such a loop that the difference between the two was so large.
Though between combat, you get exploration! Though the game is very linear, there are side paths to go down, and treasures to find, but the locales are fun to explore, and I was so excited to see every nook and cranny. There’s a bit of side content too. Some quests were short and sweet, like one where you help a wife make her husband….”healthy” again. Cough cough. Then you get longer quests that actually made me feel like there were deep ramifications for my actions. I can’t forget to talk about the side quest that also runs through basically the whole game! A minigame called Zhuolu Chess. Which sure, it’s basically connect 3, but it was so fun to outwit the AI! Or when they’d beat me, I’d just use their strategy against them and win!
As for the graphics of the game, which everyone cares about, cuz graphics, it looked…decent. It looked very well crafted, but at the same time, I felt like it could’ve been better, as some things clipped through the characters, like their hair. It would clip through their necks and scarves and ears. There were also a small handful of character models. You see the same one many times over. It was weird. Especially in a scene where you’re rallying people. The environment looks gorgeous though and the enemies look very well designed. Even if you look at their lore in the journal. Though there were some things that didn’t look great. Like when an enemy would breath poison gas at you, it would just sort of appear, and damage you even if you were a good distance away.
The music though? Oh the music was top notch. Throughout the journey, the music you hear most is very mellow yet kind of sad ballads, as you explore the lands, and see the people. It helped really convey the desperation that Zhao was feeling on his journey to save his sister. With pianos, and wind chimes, and harp, and so on. It was such a wonderful sound. Then the music ramped up when you were in besieged, war torn towns, and people were fighting against the invaders! Or you go back to the dark and desperate in the towns where there was nothing but death and everyone had left. The music was so soothing that it sounded like a lullaby almost all the time. So when I’d be trying to play late at night, it would literally put me to sleep. So take that for what you will. Good or bad, but I think it’s fantastic that a musical score is that good!
- Great Story
- Likable Characters
- Fantastic Music
- Difficulty Spikes
- A Weird Story Point That Isn’t Covered
I really enjoyed this game. The story was more than I expected, the characters were fun, and the music was so fantastic and serene that it made the journey that much better. Yes there were some stupid difficulty spikes and the combat was the deepest, but that can be overlooked in my opinion for literally everything else the game has to offer. Plus Zhuolu Chess was really fun to play.
I can’t recommend this game enough. Now I wonder if I can play the rest of the series….
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Game & Developer Information
Developer Website: Softstar Entertainment / DOMO Studio
Publisher Website: EastAsiaSoft
Publisher Socials: Twitter
PSN Store Links: £44.99/€49.99 Europe / $49.99 North America
Trophy Information: 44. 1 / 2 / 11 / 30