Sword and Fairy: Together Forever is actually the 7th in the Sword and Fairy series. You’d be forgiven for knowing this since it’s a mostly Chinese franchise, but releasing on Playstation 5, Together Forever (Aaah I see what I did there) is looking to pull in a new audience with a Western release.
Well, it is in that it’s released here, but the game is all Chinese in speech (with subs for English). I’m ok with this, I think most will be given the nature of the game and I quite like that it’s not trying to be Westernised too badly also.
Together Forever is an action-RPG game which does not shy at all from its Chinese cultural influence. The story is about a young woman who is a sword-master and is trying to protect her home town from all sorts of weird beasts. A mysterious figure crosses her path early on, and then it gets real – as gods and bigger monsters all join the fray for a massive battle.
Set with three clans, ‘humans’, ‘deity’ and ‘demon’, it’s a developing conflict of scale and spectacle. The Chinese location gives a magical and foreign environment from the norm for Western gamers to explore, although it’s only a semi-open world. I didn’t find myself running into too many restrictions, but there were points where I did want to explore, yet the game wasn’t prepared to let me go in that direction just yet.
Thankfully (for me) there is no turn-based combat here, which I can tire of after many hours in these typically lengthy JRPG games (although I’ve not finished it yet I’ve heard that the run-time does not reach the hundreds of hours at least). But switching to live combat, my fears manifested fairly quickly as I worried it was going to be akin to Dynasty Warriors. Structurally no, it’s a story-guided RPG which is filled with side quests (the majority of which seem to be fetch quests) but the combat is very much hack-and-slash. It is nice and smooth and looks pretty with some colourful effects but I did feel like I was button mashing frequently. Some combo attacks add variety, along with character abilities but they can lock you into an animation to which you need to wait for it to finish before you can carry on – which is generally fine, aside from a few which feel a bit too long, leaving you exposed.
As you’d expect with any RPG, there’s the capacity to level up characters and learn new abilities. Typical of JRPGs, numbers fly on the screen as you do damage, and quickly grow in scale, hitting enemies for hundreds of points of damage. Customisation extends to the characters visually themselves, as you equip new gear and weapons. Dungeons present the main gameplay challenge with some epic boss battles thrown in. Appropriately epic music blasts at you whilst you’re hacking down these foes too, although I felt like I could have lived with it being slightly more ‘calm oriental’ than epica.
I think Sword and Fairy: Together Forever is a decent game. It’s standalone from a story perspective, so you don’t need to have played the previous 6 to have an idea of what’s going on. It’s a fun experience with lots of activities to enjoy. However, it isn’t the deepest from a gameplay perspective so your mileage may vary depending on your appetite for hacking and slashing.
Reviewed on PS5