Title: Sword and Fairy 7
Release Date: October 21, 2021
Reviewed On: PC
Genre: Action RPG
I thought my time with the Sword and Fairy series was over after playing Sword and Fairy 6. Believing that I had outgrown the series, I was surprised to see the presentation of the follow-up Sword and Fairy 7. This entry is such a huge step forward in terms of gameplay mechanics, graphics, and design that it looks like an entirely new chapter for the franchise. Still, demanding systems could limit the overall appeal.
Sword and Fairy 7 opens with a struggle between diety and demons as Xiu Wu is seemingly out of his element while facing off against waves of demonic foes. In a last attempt, he manages to escape to the human realm, where he is discovered by Yue Qingshu, which is around where the real adventure begins. A chosen child who has been protected by humans is discovered by demons. This child is the reincarnation of a powerful god, so he must be protected.
There’s some political struggle going on between regions, but everyone seems to agree that these demons need to be dealt with. So Xiu Wu and Yue Qingshu are then sent on a mission to enlist the help of several spirits while also uncovering the true motivations of their ancestors and how this all happened in the first place.
The story is heavy. This is your typical Chinese fantasy drama, and it doesn’t hold back. The tropes of added stakes that are resolved in a matter of minutes even creep up, which reminds me of practically any Chinese soap opera that I watch. Every hurdle is conveniently dealt with without much player interaction that if feels more like you are simply along for the ride.
That said, it’s entertaining to watch. The story is dense as you most likely won’t catch everything as the subtitled text doesn’t stay on screen long enough to process the paragraph of fantasy jargon the characters are spewing out. Regardless, the crucial moments can be followed even if you don’t know why you’re traveling to a location at first, but it becomes clear by the end.
Gameplay is action-focused. Players can command one character from a party at a time as they explore environments and fight monsters. Towns can also be explored with NPCs who provide side quests for additional items. Everything has a natural flow, but these quests don’t have to leave an impact and can be completed without paying much attention to what the requester is talking about. This is due mainly to the convenient map system that will tell you exactly where to go for a mission or side mission, so you’re never lost.
There are various upgradeable systems for new weapons and gear, but it won’t be until a few hours of gameplay that you’ll actually need this. The opening 10 hours features a few dungeons, but nothing demands that you invest in your equipment until much later in the game.
Further, many of those hours are spent walking from cutscene to cutscene without any real fights. I wouldn’t say it hurts the experience as this series is known for its lore, but I can say that it is far more digestible than the previous entries. However, there are a few moments of localization issues, but that’s mostly just found regarding tenses.
When in combat, players have access to a range of combos that grow throughout the game. These are a combination of strong and weak attacks, along with magical skills. Each character has access to a particular element and can be switched to at any time. The control scheme isn’t the easiest to understand as it features different options depending on if you’re holding the triggers, but I became comfortable with it over time.
Players can also use items tied to the directional pad making it feel more like an action game. Sadly, there’s no fanfare for level-ups as you gain experience you’ll randomly notice your characters are level 12 and you’re in chapter 8. Still, the presentation in menus and the HUD is clean relaying all the information you need at any given time.
Enemies are engaging, but they won’t put up too much of a challenge if you’re playing on Normal difficulty. Bosses are pretty exciting as they feature interactive moments where the player can add extra damage with the correct button press. While boss attacks can be read due to their size, enemy attacks aren’t so easy, and some battles appear to be a jumble of colorful attacks making it difficult to dodge.
Combat is enjoyable and works well alongside exploration as the large environments feature stronger enemy types and hidden treasures. The game does well to provide items for those who look around the large areas and towns. Further, platforming mini-games can be found, or players can even take part in a card mini-game. There are also books that can be found which fill up an in-game encyclopedia.
Sword and Fairy 7 is a pretty game with smooth character animation and great environment building. However, it isn’t optimized in the slightest. This game made my 3070 feel like a 1060 as my fans all turned on high. There’s plenty of room to improve the experience in this area because the player base may be limited to those with only powerful machines. Still, there’s a lot to customize in terms of graphics, so you can find what works for you.
Throughout the 25 hour adventure, the soundtrack was perhaps the star of the show. There’s some genuinely epic music as you fight your way to the final battle, and even though you might not know why or how you got there, you know s**ts about to go down.
Sword and Fairy 7 is a gorgeous RPG that brings this series to a new generation of gamers. There’s plenty of work that needs to be done in terms of optimization, but the fantastic presentation provides hours of enjoyable story beats, even if they are a bit overdramatized. The action is fluid and fun, with additional systems to reward the player’s time. If you like your RPGs incredibly niche, then you can’t go wrong with this adventure.
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