Sword and Fairy: Together Forever is Eastasiasoft’s most ambitious release in quite a while. We’re reviewing it on a PlayStation 5.
While Eastasiasoft’s been very prolific as a publisher in recent years, most of their games are low budget titles that are often ports of PC-based titles. Sword and Fairy: Together Forever is a mid-price release that, in terms of its impressive scope, reminds us a little of Edge of Eternity. And while it’s the seventh game in the Sword and Fairy series, you can play this as a standalone adventure – which is good because the older games aren’t readily available if you’re a console player.
What’s refreshing is that Sword and Fairy: Together Forever doesn’t use the usual western or JRPG art style, but goes with a Chinese style – one we don’t see too often, especially on consoles. Yue Quingshu and Xiu Wu are the main protagonists, with the latter being a deity who’s currently trapped on earth while Yue is seeing his Mingshu Sect threatened. Their fates and goals end up aligning, so you’ll be with them for most of the game.
During their journey, you’ll often engage in combat, and unlike a typical JRPG this takes place through real time battles of the hack and slash variety. It’s not terribly deep and you don’t have to face off against huge numbers like you would in a musou title, but it works in keeping the pace of the adventure up, with a heavy emphasis on narrative development. Sword and Fairy: Together Forever features tons of story-driven cutscenes, showcasing the impressive scope of the project. There are moments where they’re actually too long or frequent for their own good, but part of that is the fact that we don’t speak Chinese and the quality of the writing in English isn’t great – a missed opportunity when you consider how narrative-heavy the game is.
You’ll also notice this emphasis on narrative while traveling the game map and engaging in side quests, which at least in part are often missions that involve going to spot X and talking to character Y before you take on the task of defeating some monster(s) for someone. As you’d expect, being successful gives you opportunities to upgrade and craft your loadout as well – which you can also do with the loot you find out in the world. It’s a more linear game than other RPGs though, so don’t expect to be doing a ton of exploring naturally.
And while most of the game is rather typical in the world of story-driven action RPGs, we were also pleasantly surprised to see a few sections where we were suddenly engaged in a bit of platforming or a card-based battle. There are obviously better examples of either genre out there, but it’s nice to see the developer’s commitment to not just sticking with genre mainstays the whole time.
Sword and Fairy: Together Forever looks good as well, although you shouldn’t expect Final Fantasy VII Remake levels of polish here. As with Edge of Eternity, this is a AA production from a smaller team that was eager to try and push for a premium RPG experience, and the team has largely succeeded. The biggest drawback of Sword and Fairy: Together Forever is that there are better examples out there for nearly all its components, but when taken together that doesn’t make it a bad game. It’s a nice introduction to a long-running series, and we’re hoping they build on this.