⚔️ Xuan Yuan Sword 7 | Xbox Series X | Review | 7/10 | "An Enjoyable Experience, Let Down by Some Inconsistencies" ⚔️ @XuanYuan_Sword #IndieGame #GameDev #IndieGames

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I had never heard of this series - which is not surprising as it’s the first of the series to be released in the west. 

An ARPG with a heavy focus on story, the game is linear, which to my mind isn't a bad thing, it follows Taishi Zhao, an orphaned mercenary who is trying to earn money to pay for his sick sister's medicine -  this is the basic plot but fairly quickly it takes a turn.

I'm going to avoid describing much of the narrative as it branches off into several different directions, the story becomes slightly more muddled as it progresses, it is engaging but seems to go for a more scattergun approach instead of focusing on one or two threads. 

One good thing is that, although this is the 7th game, you can follow the story without having to have intricate knowledge of the previous 6 games. Whilst they are apparently interconnected, having played them you will understand more but it is not integral. 

I found that a couple of side quests ended rather suddenly, not in a broken way more in a, ‘Ok.. is this where I'm leaving this character at?’ way, ‘You’re an orphan? Well... I'm off, busy man you see, plenty of things to do, can't just stand around here watching you cry, take care now’. I hope we meet them again in Xuan Yuan 8 and they are having a much better life or I'm going to feel really crappy. 

The characters in the game are all likeable, the cast of characters you follow are an interesting bunch who feel like real people, they are very easy to root for. I also found that the dialogue between them was interesting and expanded the mythology of the world, whereas in Tales of Arise, by the end I wanted them to stop speaking and never open their mouths again. 

Here, I welcomed the dialogue between them and would actively slow down to read the text. I will say though that the text is a little small with no way of expanding it, which is a shame. Also, two other problems arose with reading the text during the very start - two achievements popped up and blocked the text, so I have no idea what was said - and throughout combat, when text popped up it was incredibly difficult to read and engage in combat. The localisation is also a bit rough, there are some grammatical errors and the like. It’s nothing major, but it is noticeable.

Speaking of combat, I felt that it was OK but nothing special, you have all of the typical attacks and abilities, the magic spells, later on, are pretty good but I felt the pacing was kind of off with enemy strength. I went from blitzing through them with no problem to struggling and then went back to blitzing through them, this extended to the bosses - some were hard but others I killed without even having to heal, it felt imbalanced. With other ARPG’s it feels very progressive, both my characters and the enemies were progressing, but here it seemed almost random. Like I said - the actual combat is decent but I just felt it was all a bit uninspired.

The music in this game is fantastic, which is a massive plus, it really helped set the mood from the more frantic action set pieces to just running around the forest, peacefully. The game also has some plusses design-wise, for example, the map is very well laid out and you have frequent fast travel points so navigation is easy. The game is also only 12-15 hours long, which some might see as negative but personally, I think it’s a good length.

I'm going to end my review by talking about the most important aspect of any RPG – yes, that’s right - the mini-game. In this game, it's Zhuolu Chess and it's brilliant, it would make my top 10 mini-games easily. It’s challenging, it’s tactical... it’s brilliant.

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