Xuan Yuan Sword 7 is a Taiwanese ARPG or action RPG game. It was developed by SOFTSTAR’s DOMO Studio and published by Yooreka Studio. The game is available on PS4, Xbox One, and PC.
A noble boy named Taishi Zhao has his way of life and family taken from him by an unknown enemy. He grows up raising his sister, Taishi (Li) Xiang who is ill and also the last of his family. Zhao becomes a hunter living in the mountains taking any work that comes along to maintain his sisters health with medicine bought or brewed. His family is endangered once again when his sister is mortally wounded by a monster and he must embark on a quest to heal her.
So to start this review I got to say that I’m pretty mixed on how I feel about this game. For one it definitely has a lot of potential and enough going for it that it could have been really good. But on the other hand it had a lot of things that I feel could have been done better and falls far from being a great game to just around average for me. The story itself isn’t terrible but it suffers from bad writing and a subpar performance of the voice actors. The world itself seems like it could have been a lot more interesting but it just wasn’t engaging enough half the time.
It seemed like it was going to be an open world game but wound up being very linear in nature although it had aspects of an open world game like side quests, fast travel, and even treasure chests scattered throughout the game world as well. Even if it doesn’t help or is in any way useful, I like to be able to make my character jump and this game didn’t let you do that either. There’s a climbing mechanic that seemed kind of pointless because it was pretty much just a cut scene of in game graphics of you climbing a little cliff or sometimes it would turn into an interactive part where you had to move the analog stick to move the character. Still it was better than these weird times that the game gave you control of the character for a scene in which your only movement was preset like a ride on a rail that couldn’t veer off a road.
I liked that it was an action-RPG meaning instead of turn based combat like most RPG’s it had an active combat system where you could move at your own leisure and consisted of hack and slash combat with some martial art skills, blocking, dodging, and some riposte (parrying). There are four basic martial art skills which can be learned as you progress through the game, Bull, Wolf, Bear, and Tiger. They become stronger and increase the length or hits of their combo the more you use them. A big draw back is that you could only equip or use two at one time although they can be changed at anytime through the talent menu. Then there are three special martial art skills two of which are Taowu and Tundou. The combat was one of the things that had me really conflicted because it can be pretty fun sometimes. A cool thing I liked about the combat was that there was a meter that would go up when you would attack an enemy and if it filled all the way you could perform an execution on them. Otherwise it was very unresponsive most of the time making dodging and parrying really hard and kind of useless. I found the blocking especially useless because of how much damage you still incurred. There is a skill tree for new martial arts and you can create and upgrade structures in Elysium that can enhance various things, such as weapon, armor, accessories and more. You can also use the fusion to capture the souls of enemies in combat and fuse them together in Elysium to equip them for bonus stats and effects.
You’re able to carry items in your inventory which are mainly objects like items that don’t do anything except advance the story or quest and some like healing ones or weapons. There is an equipment screen for weapons and accessories but you only stay with one weapon the whole game. It does change and become stronger and its appearance changes too, but I wish there would have been more weapons or at least different swords. You can also change outfits. I’m not sure if you get any in the game as it progresses or not because the version I played came with a couple of additional weapons/costumes available from the beginning. You do wind up getting some party members which is customary of some RPG’s and they help out by attacking enemies on their own. You can control them by activating some abilities or special attacks that have cool down times for when you can use them again. There’s a mini-game called Zhuolu chess and it can be pretty fun and a nice change of pace but not what you were looking for when you bought the game.
You can save your game and recover health at random campfires throughout the game world, as well as listen to some party dialogue when you choose to rest. The dialogue tends to repeat often and doesn’t really advance the story much or fit where you are at in the story that often. The game mechanics are similar to Dark Souls as resting re-spawns enemies when you save at a bonfire and you get healed too. As I mentioned earlier the game employs a fast travel system consisting of way points called guard stones that you can activate when found. There is an element of puzzle solving in the game but they don’t seem to be that hard to figure out and some can even be skipped if you don’t want to bother with it.
The graphics were pretty solid and the game surely looks really good for the most part. The textures are sometimes rough in the environment and sometimes there’s very noticeable instances of “pop-ins” but the overall aesthetic and style is beautiful. You really never get to play games where you get to see ancient Chinese castles, cities, or kingdoms so that was nice. The leaves in the trees are even ruffled by the wind, which is a nice touch too. The main characters, like Zhao and his sister Xiang, look great and so do most of the secondary characters, like Chu-Hong and Mo Huang. It just makes it that much more disappointing when you see sub-par detail in the NPC’s and stiff cut scenes because you know they could have done better on those too. Maybe they didn’t have enough time, man power or budget.
The music was probably one of the best additions to the game as a whole. Containing traditional Chinese sounds and instruments befitting the setting, the music was great. There are some instances where there is no music and the void is filled with nothing but awkward silence or the sound of footsteps. Only the mediocre voice acting fills the dead air and background music would have added more depth to certain parts and scenes of the game. There’s no English dubbing for the voice acting in the game it’s only in Mandarin/Chinese which isn’t bad in itself except the performances are kind of hit and miss and not very balanced.
⦁ Beautiful looking world and nice graphics
⦁ Story and game play were pretty enjoyable
⦁ Interesting mix of fantasy and history
⦁ Lacks the polish that could have made it great
⦁ Too linear and doesn’t open up enough
⦁ Combat could have been further refined
Rating: 5 out of 10
The game seemed very rough around the edges. It lacked that “polished” feel that it would have gotten if it had been a “AAA” game instead of a “AA” game. It’s linear aspects left little to no deviation for exploring the world other than the main quest making it feel like going through a tunnel from location to the next. Which is a shame because it was a pretty interesting world and looked beautiful in certain parts. The distances between the towns and villages also made the world feel really small which it probably was. The story and game-play were enjoyable enough but writing and especially acting/voice acting in key cut-scenes needed work. The combat was was so uninspired I felt like I was doing the same sword attacks the whole game and that they never really changed. So in conclusion I have to give Xuan Yuan Sword 7 a 5/10. It’s an average or ok game, which has it’s moments but nothing to write home about. However if they make a Xuan Yuan Sword 8, I’d be looking forward to see what kind of improvements they would make in the next installment.