07th Dec2021

‘Xuan Yuan Sword 7’ Review (Xbox Series X/S)

by Phil Wheat

There are a lot of metrics by which to measure the quality of video games – graphics, sound, controls, game play… But there’s one, at least for me, that trumps all those. Namely how long I’ll plonk myself in front of the TV and play a game in one sitting… And after downloading Xuan Yuan Sword 7 and turning it one to “have a look” at the game I was still playing it almost SIX hours later. I honestly could not stop playing! And the only reason I did stop playing in that first sitting was only, and I do men ONLY, because I got stuck on a boss battle… That’s it. Had I not died a couple of times and got frustrated I would no doubt played Xuan Yuan Sword 7 waaaay into the night.

Which for someone whose attention span with video games is seemingly getting shorter, AND the fact this is an action RPG – a genre I tend to avoid – is incredibly surprising. A sure sign of the quality of this game for sure.

In basic terms, Xuan Yuan Sword 7 is a combination of a Warriors-style game and Uncharted, or modern-day Tomb Raider – replete with PLENTY of enemies to fight (including wolves, soldier, demons and more); a plethora of puzzles to solve; and a huge map to explore. This game is actually the first game in the 30-year-old series to come to the West, but don’t let that put you off – this game offers a standalone story following hero Taishi Zhao, making it the PERFECT entry point for newcomers. Which I certainly was.

The games main plot is pretty basic: Set 2000 years ago in China near the end of Western Han rule, Xuan Yuan Sword 7 sees Taishi following the trail of a mysterious bamboo slip from the crypt of Marquis of Liu that promised prosperity, but only brought famine and misery in its wake. To protect his family and seek out the truth of this calamity, Taishi Zhao embarks upon a journey through a mythological realm full of otherworldly beings bent on his destruction. And when I say main plot I mean main plot – this game has a myriad of plot threads that interweave through the main story, with different quests that break the game up into level-like chunks which – honestly – kept me interested in the game. Typically with an “open world” game I’d get bored and start messing around, losing interest in the game and the overarching story. Here it was the opposite – the addition of quests (and on top of that even more actual side quests) kept me interested and then the unfolding story had me totally hooked.

Graphically, as you traverse the land there’s a ton of stunning scenery to take in and [obviously] explore. Now I don’t know if the game has been optimised for the Series S/X (I doubt it) but it looks brilliant. From the lighting, to the scenery, to the characters, Xuan Yuan Sword 7, to me, looks superb. Stunning. And that’s the thing about this game – given this is the seventh title in the series the developers have had time to work on every aspect of the game over time and this is the [near] perfect result.

****½  4.5/5

Xuan Yuan Sword 7 might be the first of the franchise to make it to the West but based on this release this shouldn’t be the the last!

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