When it comes to dungeon crawler RPGs, I usually avoid them for one reason or another, but Stranger of Sword City was one that had a stronger pull to it the more I researched it. The battle system sounded interesting, the gameplay itself seemed different, and the idea of the world looked like something I would enjoy. Although, with all that said, is this a game more focused towards RPG gamers, or more focused towards someone who plays more casually?
One of the biggest things this game has going for it was the fun character creation system it implemented. While you aren’t able to design your own characters, I feel like that actually worked better for how this game was set up. You were able to design your character’s class, age, talents, names and ability points, and you are also able to have up to 16 characters created at one time. With all those characters, though, you are only able to use six at a time while the rest wait back at base. The biggest problem I found with this game was how it handled characters dying in battle. When you create a character, depending on the age you set them, they acquire a certain number of heart points from one to three and that’s how many “lives” each person is given. When they’re gone they just vanish and are gone for good. This not only made the game more difficult than it needed to be, but when you lose anywhere from one to five people all in a single fight,it’s also extremely frustrating when you have to go back and re-level a character or characters you need.
When it comes to the story, I’d say Stranger of Sword City did a pretty decent job.. It begins with your plane crash landing out of the sky into a strange world full of monsters and creatures known as lineage types. As you begin to wander, you are attacked and as all seems lost you’re saved by a young girl known as Riu. After getting you safely back to the Stranger base, Riu explains everything you need to know about the world you’re now living in to you. Then, after making, remaking and finally deciding on a solid team, you head off into the world to tackle your first mission alongside your new friend Kyo who is training you to see your skills in action. When you finally arrive at the end of the mission you’re facing off against your first lineage boss monster. Once defeated, the monster drops a blood crystal: a rare and powerful magical stone that can be used in many different ways. I could go on for awhile about this story, but as to not spoil any big secrets of the game I’ll leave you with this.
One thing about this game I will warn you about is the gameplay itself. In the beginning of the game, to someone who has never played a game like this before, just know the movement and the style of the game will seem rough, annoying, and even confusing at times.Just give it time and it will get a lot better. Normally I hate when people tell me just to keep playing a game because it gets better. Though the reason this game isn’t like that compared to other games is because it can take almost the whole game for a game to get good in some cases. Stranger of the Sword City manages to get better by the end of the first dungeon which actually surprised me. Starting this game, there was a lot I disliked about it.By the end, there were some things I had the most fun with. When it comes to the gameplay of Stranger of Sword City give it time cause it’ll surprise you.
Now, though, let’s look at the actual details of game play: one thing I’m sure a lot of you have seen before are first-person camera views. If you like them, I’ve got good news for you because that’s all this game has, outside of menu screens. As you wander around the factions of Sword City, all the dungeons will be in first-person view as if you yourself are there walking around. Speaking of walking around, it’s not as smooth as I feel it could have been done. It’s a square set motion kind of game where when you walk, turn, or move it has to either be forward, backwards, left or right. This can be frustrating at times, but overall something that can easily be figured out.
The last thing about the gameplay I’ll mention is the battling system, which I absolutely loved. It’s a six man team with three people in the front, and three in the back.The team in the front protects the peoplein the back from taking damage which is where you’d want to put your mages, clerics, or archers. In contrast, you’ll want the tanks, warriors, or the hard hitting damage sponges to be in the front. The fights are turn based and quite easy to figure out.Once you find a strategy for an area that works well with you, then you can essentially do the same thing every fight to just quickly move throughout the dungeons. I will say watch out for the random difficulty spikes throughout the dungeons. You can be fighting level 15 enemies one second and then have the next fight be facing enemies at level 30. This is one way to get your entire team taken out in one shot. Overall, while running through this game, you’ll be enjoying everything from the wonderfully drawn scenery and great calming background music, to the aimless wandering you’ll do from dungeon to dungeon.
I asked a question in the beginning of this review about who this game was for, and honestly if you just play games in your free time or if you actually love spending countless hours playing games, this game would be perfect for you. It’s easily something you could put 30 minutes into or several hours and still have a fun time. One of the only things that really stood out and bugged me about this game was the random difficulty spikes. It’s never fun to be completely wiped out by a group of monsters because you didn’t notice that the same weaklings you’ve been fighting jumped up 20 levels. Like I said, though, it’s a good solid game and I can’t wait to see what’s to come.
Final Score: 7.5/10