Together Forever Review – A Solid Experience
DSOFTSTAR’s developer sword and fairy The series is a series that is not widely known in the West, and for good reason. Most games in the franchise suffer from limited accessibility as they’re only available in Chinese, but that’s changing with Sword and Fairy: Together Forever. It’s a console version of Sword and Fairy 7 which was released on PC last year, and while this version doesn’t rewrite the playbook, it does feature some notable improvements that should make this package more appealing to Western audiences. That said, Sword and Fairy: Together Forever doesn’t solve all the problems with the original, but let’s not rush here and analyze each aspect of the game one by one.
The biggest deal breaker in the case of Sword and fairy 7 is the fact that the game has no English dub. You have the option to choose between English, Chinese and Japanese in terms of subtitles, but the dubbing is limited to the original. The lack of additional voiceovers is a little disappointing considering this is a worldwide release, although the voice acting itself is quite expressive and generally well done. That said, I found many grammatical errors in the English translation, which can also sometimes distract from the immersion. Also, some parts of the menus are still in Chinese, which is a clear sign of shoddy execution on that front.
“It’s a pretty well-played perspective of good versus evil, but this formulaic story is made enjoyable through well-written characters. “
Whereas Sword and fairy is a long-standing franchise with many entries to its credit, Sword and Fairy: Together Forever is a standalone story that requires no prior experience to fully grasp, making it an ideal candidate for those new to the series. The game takes place in a mystical world of the Six Kingdoms which are inhabited by humans and demons. The story itself revolves around your group trying to save the world from the wrath of vicious beasts that have escaped from the prison of paradise, leading you down a rabbit hole of discovery and conjuring up diabolical plots that could very well lead to the end of the world . It’s a pretty well-played perspective of good versus evil, but this formulaic story is made enjoyable through well-written characters.
You start the game as Xiu Wu, who is sent on a mission to eradicate evil. Next, we are greeted by Yue Quingshu, the lone disciple of a crumbling Mingshu sect who symbiotically attaches itself to Xiu Wu in the human realm, making cohesion essential for the survival of the deity in that realm. There are also Bai Moqing and Sang Yo, a pair of young lovers who also accompany Yue and Xiu on this dangerous quest. While the story itself has quite a few twists and turns that make the plot interesting, the biggest draw is undoubtedly the journey these characters take. With the exception of Que Yingshu, the remaining trio of protagonists seem far removed from you when they start out as they clearly seem to fit too well into the box of stereotypical RPG characters – but as the revelations about their past unfold. open up, they begin to become more relatable and likable. These story beats proved essential as they allowed me to continue through this vast adventure which doesn’t have the best pace as the narrative tends to go off on a ton of inconsequential tangents.
“Sword and fairy 7 abandons the turn-based roots of previous entries and features a dynamic real-time combat system that emphasizes unleashing a flurry of hard-hitting combos on your enemies. “
Sword and fairy 7 abandons the turn-based roots of previous entries and features a dynamic real-time combat system that emphasizes unleashing a flurry of hard-hitting combos on your enemies. Each character has their assortment of light and heavy attacks, which can be chained together to create different combos. The right trigger lets you toggle on your special moves, which consume magick and have a cooldown. The abilities themselves are plentiful and you gain more as you progress through the game.
You can switch between party members at any time during battle, which opens up a bunch of tactical options during fights. Xiu Wu is a Master Swordsman, Yue Quingshu is a Spirit Controller and Team Healer and both specialize in close range combat while Sang Yo and Bai Moqing excel at dealing ranged damage. Some characters are more effective than others, but they still all serve a distinct purpose in the combat procedure.
Overall, it’s a simple yet effective combat system, but it’s also pretty light on feedback. Enemies rarely react to your hits, and telegraphy can be random. There are times when the game cleverly uses the PS5’s DualSense capabilities to help gauge boss attack timings, but those instances are more of the exception than the norm. Most enemies don’t react to your hits at all, as they absorb tons and tons of damage without batting an eyelid. Particle effects also tend to fill the screen during tense battles, making it difficult to see enemy attack telegraphs.
“There are times when the game cleverly uses the PS5’s DualSense capabilities to help gauge boss attack timings, but those instances are more of the exception than the norm.“
The game starts off easy enough, but there are really annoying difficulty spikes throughout the experience. This was one of the issues we pointed out during our review of the original release, and there doesn’t appear to be any change to this aspect. Many boss battles end up being tests of your stamina rather than your skill, which can make those gargantuan health bars a frustrating experience. Like all other RPGs, the game emphasizes progression, but Sword and fairy 7 does very little to explain to players how it all works. You need to constantly upgrade your weapons, trade weapons for more powerful variants from vendors, equip armor sets that provide different buffs, upgrade spirits, and cook different types of food that provide different status effects for your party – and many of these mechanics are poorly explained or completely left out for you to figure out for yourself. Fortunately, the crafting materials and combat rewards are generous – and no excessive grinding is needed to keep up with the enemy’s increasing power levels.
Whereas sword and fairy is not an open world game, it is divided into several open sections and dungeons that you can explore at your leisure. Besides the general assortment of loot merchants and supplies, you can also participate in NPC side quests. These mostly consist of going for quests, and while the rewards can be generous, luckily they aren’t necessary to progress through the main story, so you’re free to skip them if you wish.
“Side quests are like seeking quests, and while the rewards can be generous, thankfully they aren’t necessary to progress through the main story, so you’re free to skip them if you wish. “
Sword and Fairy: Together Forever looks and works great on the PlayStation 5. The character models and materials are of high quality textures, and the lighting and reflection can also combine to make certain areas absolutely breathtaking. Briefly comparing it to the PC version, I don’t think the PS5 version has ray-traced shadows as they are significantly blurrier than the PC version at max. I should also mention here that there are no performance profiles to choose from, which is also a bit disappointing.
Fortunately, Sword and Fairy: Together Forever also features a wide variety of environments, which range from frosty peaks to tropical beaches to hellscapes and so on. Many of them are an absolute treat to explore, thanks to the gorgeous visuals. Performance was generally solid in my experience, which was a major issue with the original, but the game suffers from poor draw distance. I’ve seen several instances of characters moving in and out of frame during new card introduction shots, which distracts from the otherwise impressive technical composition. Loading times are pretty quick too, thanks to the PS5’s super-fast SSD.
Sword and Fairy: Together Forever is a pretty good set of this intriguing RPG, and while Softstar hasn’t added a lot of content or drastically changed the gameplay mechanics, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s a solid experience worth worth watching to the end. The lack of an English voice-over is a downside, as is the lack of proper explanation of character progression mechanics and an uneven difficulty curve. Those who have played the game before might be tempted to skip this release, but if you haven’t and are even intrigued by the concept or gameplay, you might end up loving this one.
This game was tested on the PlayStation 5.