Wandering Sword Preview – Live-A-Traveler
When Wandering Sword was first discussed among our staff, we unanimously thought it looked very familiar, perhaps a little too much to Octopath Traveler and Live-A-Live. But the question we will answer now is…does it manage to stand out, or is just a copycat?
The story of Wandering Sword begins by introducing you to Yuwen Yi, who is part of a caravan commonly tasked with escorting people. During one such job, the caravan’s happy days abruptly end as they are caught in the crossfire between a bandit skirmish, and they all end up suffering from a barrage of poison arrows. He is then taken to the remote village of Wutang by Qingxu, who asks Jiang Yifeng to help “balance his Qi and dispel the poison in his body.”
If that didn’t make much sense to you, you’re not alone because even after one hour of gameplay, I didn’t understand a dang thing about Wandering Sword’s story. Various key points and terminology are never appropriately explained, and some characters have odd cookie-cutter designs. Furthermore, there are points where the game will say, “Months passed…” when in reality, the background implies that only a day has passed. It also doesn’t help that the translation feels stiff and robotic.
None of the characters made an impact, even though you can recruit them to your party by gifting them items from your inventory; however, given that you only get a vague description of what a character likes, your options on what to gift are very few early on. And what’s worse is that the dialogue doesn’t seem to change, with your only guides being the UI prompt that tells you how much friendship that just gave you, which overlaps like a 2004 browser game MMO if too many status or changes happen at once.
A lot of games come our way, and while I can’t say this is the first time I’ve seen something like it, it seems that Wandering Sword borrowed from our good friend plagiarism. The animations and style look like they were ripped off from Octopath Traveler, the combat system feels very Live-A-Live. Still, none of these compare to the fact that many assets were ripped straight from Genshin Impact, among other titles. I am unsure if this is because they haven’t finished their assets, but that doesn’t excuse the fact.
Furthermore, there’s just something off about the UI. This is purely conjecture on my part, but Wandering Sword feels like a game initially designed for a browser or mobile device. Still, plans must’ve fallen through, and the developer seems to have repurposed the UI in a desperate attempt not to waste the assets, but again, I’m just guessing.
The battle system is also woefully unbalanced. To start things off, you cannot use items during combat. This makes this title extremely frustrating to play, as the story will often throw you into consecutive battles without giving you a moment of relief. Furthermore, situations where one character does but a tickle of damage and another, has these crazy-level abilities that feel like you’re Roxas wielding a stick instead of a Keyblade. If you’re like me, who likes story first and foremost and often dislikes copious amounts of grinding, this game will undoubtedly make you want to quit in a fit of rage.
Furthermore, there are battles where everyone fights…against everyone, and they’re a mess due to how weird they are. You have enemies using their specials against other enemies, and you’re somehow supposed to emerge victorious from the cacophony of sound effects. I spent 20 minutes staring at my screen in visible confusion. After each battle, characters earn Martial Points, which are used to upgrade skills. These skills vary depending on the weapon you’ve equipped, and your proficiency with the weapon also increases. Still, it requires a lot of grinding, and as far as I could tell, there was no way to adjust the difficulty.
Wandering Sword is such a broken mess, and while I might be able to overlook some aspects because it is still in development, you’ll need a blind spot the size of Saturn to ignore all of them, especially the plagiarism. Nevertheless, I am intrigued to know what will happen to the development in the future.
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