Xuan Yuan Sword 7 is a good Chinese ARPG that didn't really click with me. Everything is just OK, there are no big problems with the gameplay or presentation, it's just that I didn't really care all that much about it.
The game is set 2000 years ago in China and places you in the role of noble swordsman Taishi Zhao who embarks upon a journey through a mythological realm full of otherworldly beings bent on his destruction to protect his family and seek out what is happening in the world.
Xuan Yuan Sword 7 is a celebration of ancient China’s landscape, civilization, and culture, infused with the mystique of its own legends. So expect to meet up and interact with well, famous gods and monsters from Chinese mythology while progressing through the story. I had never even heard of the Xuan Yuan Sword franchise before playing the seventh installment so I guess if you've played the six games before this one, you would have an even better understanding of this whole universe. Xuan Yuan Sword 7 does a fine job of not overcomplicating things or recalling past events for newcomers like myself which is quite good in my opinion. However, I still did not care about what was happening in the game or why I was doing what I was doing.
Again, I believe this is entirely on my side cause playing through the game, I couldn't keep up. I'll explain it better. You see, the voice acting is only in Chinese with English subtitles on the screen for you to read. I don't know Chinese, it's completely foreign to me and that made following what was happening, like what the characters would say while exploring or during combat or in cutscenes, very hard. Cause, you know, you may be checking a little bit of Twitter while there's a cutscene playing or you might be focusing on combat while characters are speaking and if you don't understand the language, you kinda just miss the whole thing. At least, that's what happened to me, so you might want to keep this in mind if you are planning to get the game.
When it comes to the gameplay, it's a typical ARPG. You have your basic attack sword combos, a variety of special attacking techniques, blocking, dodging and riposting. Combat is not that challenging, most of the time. You will be just fine just by slashing the enemies a couple of times with a good one or two special attacks thrown in for good measure. Taishi can also slow down time, absorb monsters and even have your party members unleash a special attack or two and you have to rely on all these when the difficulty just goes up to eleven without a single warning. That happened quite a few times to me, especially during some boss fights, but just running around the arena and having my party members attack instead of myself, I would slowly recover my lost health after drinking a potion.
You can upgrade all your characters, buy, equip or upgrade your weapons and armor and trinkets etc. You can also craft stuff using materials you get from exploring or as rewards for completing missions. It has all of the usual RPG stuff, you've played hundreds of times before. There are some puzzles in the game, that range from good to "why is this in the game?!", but it has an option to just skip a puzzle altogether which saves you from trying to find a walkthrough online.
And of course, there are a lot of cut-scenes to offer some exposition on what happened, who's who or just why, you know. To be completely honest, after the initial hours, I just skipped through all of them cause I wanted to get to the active part of the game, combat.
As for the presentation, the game looks just fine, maybe a little old since it's 2021. Each level is just a series of corridors, it's not an open-world or anything like that. The environments are good, you have mountain paths, old cities, and villages, old temples etc. Sometimes the lighting in these environments is really good and the game looks pretty, but often it just looks like a budget PS4 game. The characters look a little bit better, with some detailed clothes and armors and the same can be said about the many different monsters, but the animations feel like they were done on a budget.
Xuan Yuan Sword 7 is just an OK action role-playing game. There's nothing special in it, but that doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with it. Unfortunately, the lack of English voice acting made it so that the game didn't really click with me. But if you are in the market for a game like this one, you will enjoy the 12 hours it takes to complete the story. Thanks for reading.
The game was reviewed on a PS5 (via BC) using a PS4 code provided by the publisher. Xuan Yuan Sword 7 is out now for PS4 and Xbox One.