Developed and published by Experience Inc.’STRANGER OF SWORD CITY is the next step in the evolution of the traditional dungeon RPG genre, which will be released on the Xbox One.This title contains the three core elements of attraction for dungeon RPGs: character creation, conquering various dungeons, and dungeon crawling gameplay. Furthermore, our experience and know-how with a large number of titles within the Dungeon RPG genre has allowed us to create enhanced support features that allow our users to enjoy the title to their hearts content.Players will be able to switch between the beautiful and fantastical art style of Yoko Tsukamoto, or the art style of Oxijiyen, an artist renowned for their cute character graphics, for the NPC illustrations in game.’
‘Stranger of Sword City’ is a game that had me very confused at first but was something I eventually got the hang of and is definitely different from any other RPGs I’ve played in the past. As someone fairly new to dungeon RPGs I didn’t really get the whole world layout at first but was something I eventually got to grips with, this was also probably the steepest learning curve for me. There is multiple options when exploring the world, the main form of this is a sort of first-person, environment interaction style where the player moves one square at a time on the mini-map and then interact with the environment by walking up to highlighted areas or investigating what you are looking at/the area around you.
Each area is split into different ‘levels’ to navigate around that have all sorts of things to find around the areas. You can also use an item to turn invisible and ‘ambush’ enemies in areas to get loot from them in certain areas of the game which allows you to get loot without having to go through harder methods such as taking on bosses. A very interesting mechanic and one I have never personally seen before but it works extremely well. Besides this you also have different areas to choose from when you leave other areas, you’ll get a map appear and can return to the ‘Stranger’s Guild,’ the main sort of ‘hub’ area or move on to another dungeon to explore.
The interactions between characters such as speaking to NPCs is most comparable to that of a visual novel. You have all of the speech come up on screen with the character portraits of that character come up and you will have any speech options available to you appear as the conversation progresses. At least, that’s the best comparison I have. Two options are available for the art style, as mentioned in the quote taken from the site. One has a more serious, fantasy look to it while the other style is more of a less serious look to it; these do not affect the way the game plays however.
The combat is turn-based, while the core elements of it are fairly simple the more in depth stuff and management that has to go into the party character’s stats and effects are very important and is where the learning curve really comes in for people who don’t have too much experience with turn based games. Each character has unique abilities and classes that have things specific to them as well as individual stats which are more important to the character depending on their class. An example of this is a knight I had in my party who is always front of the ‘row’ so he is more likely to get hit during battle.
Levelling up his stats for health/defence and damage would be more important than something related to spells since he is a more physical fighter. Players can choose their class, age (affects things such as life points and time to recover when dead) and their stat points; the usual and what you would expect. However, one of the things a bit different and that was also interesting to me was the ability to make new party members from scratch by going through the character creation process again. While these party members start out with low stats and low level you can grow these characters to specifically how you want them which can be extremely useful.
The voicing for the game is done in Japanese so you have to read all of the subtitles for the game and if you’re one of those people that doesn’t really like games dubbed in another language then the game may not be to your taste since the entire game is much like Japanese games from the art style to the way the characters speak/act. If you can get past the fact it isn’t your typical, western developed RPG it is definitely something good with many different features to games you may have played before and (at least to me) it was a unique game unlike any other I’ve played.