We are doing something very different with this review. It’s an experiment for now, and who knows how it will go in the future. Hopefully, we can do more of these in kind, but if they’re not working like we hope, then we can always pull back on them. Ideally, we’d like to do one a month, but let’s just get on with the first one first: Today we launch our first Review-as-a-Visual Novel, with the DDNet mascot, Dee Dee, reviewing Xuan-Yuan Sword VII.
Currently available in Asian markets for PlayStation 4 (the version we played, and totally in English), or PC, Xuan-Yuan Sword VII is the latest in a beloved series that has been big in China for many years now, but is only just starting to make its way out west. This new one is an action RPG with some very impressive production values, and it delves into a truly ancient part of Chinese history, spirituality, and culture.
The visual novel review will only take you around 15 minutes to complete – we wanted this to be accessible and entertaining rather than a time commitment in its own right. It is, of course, totally free (as it’s a review, rather than a “proper” VN project), but if you do enjoy it, then we highly recommend that you check out some of our proper VNs on our itch.io page to support the continued development of them (art and music doesn’t come cheap!).
Do let us know what you think of this concept and the VN. It is new (and a very different way of looking at a game review), so we’ll be refining it in the months ahead. If you’re here and just looking for a summary of Xuan-Yuan Sword VII, though, I’ll just say this: This game is excellent. It plays nicely, has solid cultural resonance, and actually respects the player’s time, as it’s only around 20 hours or so in length (while not compromising on the narrative quality). This is easily one of my favourite games of the year, which is why I wanted to do something a little special in reviewing it.
For the full VN review, just follow the link below:
Find me on Twitter: @mattsainsb
The critic purchased a copy of this game for the purposes of review.