The latest instalment of the sword and fairy series made its way to us last week with the arrival of Together Forever, the Acton adventure RPG from developers Softstar, which was published by EastAsiaSoft for the PS4, PS5 and Windows. Let’s take a look and see if it’s worth picking up, shall we?
Together Forever opens up with you in the boots of a deity by the name of Xiu Wu as he travels through the demon realm under attack by the local denizens, whom he makes quick work of considering their manpower. These first moments of the game function as the title’s tutorial, and in typical fashion, as soon as it’s done teaching you the basics, it beats down your god-like character, strips him of his strength, and banishes him to the human realm.
At this point, you’re introduced to your next main character, a young human woman by the name of Yue Qingshu. Yue, a member of one of the sects cultivating immortality in the world, is a practitioner of spirit arts. Together with her grandfather, they make up all that remains of their once prestigious sect. Before long, however, things begin to change as a string of unusual events sees these two heroes, worlds apart, set off on an adventure filled with magic, demons, and twists and turns a plenty.
In all honesty, there’s a lot to the story of this title, and even more so if you delve into the side quests and lore of the world. While it does boast some text-heavy segments, at no point did I lose interest. Be it with the conflicts between god and demons, or running a quest where a husband was hiding money away on the roof of his house, each moment brought an element to the world, be it funny, deadly serious, or otherworldly.
One of the main things that struck me was the visuals of the world. Every area I visited was a visual treat. Be it the charred and desolate demon realm or a mountain top settlement full of trees and plant life, each area was unique and well crafted.
Add to this the cinematics that play a distinct role in the storytelling and I was fairly impressed. Admittedly, these cinematic segments were a little rough around the edges and occasionally had the dreaded QTE’s, but I can’t fault them when compared to many I’ve seen recently. Sure, they’re not perfect, but my lord they’re entertaining and over the top and more often than not go big and go hard.
Much like the rest of the entry, the music is great, doing a fine job with the SFX to set the tone for any given situation. There’s a point in the game that should have lasted maybe a couple of minutes where music is used against you to basically cripple your character’s ability to act, and honestly, I had to stop and enjoy it.
While at its core, you and your party will be hacking your way through monsters with the aid of some abilities and magic, there’s a fair amount of content outside of monster slaying.
For a start, wall quests are plentiful for a start and usually see you either hunting a particularly strong foe or gathering an item. Honestly, completing a majority of them is a brain dead task with the story attached has been worth more than completing the requirements, with those quests that span the length of the game being more rewarding than others.
The game also has 2 mini-games, with one being vastly more enjoyable than the other. Firstly, we have the Treasure Jump Fairy, which, as the name suggests, sees you taking on a jumping challenge to acquire a treasure chest that, while providing great rewards, can be incredibly frustrating at times. Fortunately, these are vastly less frequent than the more enjoyable…
Card battles. These card games see you use your deck against your opponent, with each of you using 5 cards. Each of these is one of 3 types, ala Rock Paper Scissors. Using a card of a type gives you a token of that type, allowing you to use the special abilities of some cards that can heal you or damage your opponent (sometimes both).
All the side content, aside from the core gameplay as you progress through the story, sees you travelling around the world hunting vicious beasts and gathering spirits, while uncovering the truth behind the scenes. A majority of this is done via exploration and combat. The former possesses little challenge, with the latter being more dependent on the difficulty you select. Overall, combat is equal parts fun and challenging on the normal difficulty, requiring you to utilise all your skills, especially on bosses.
Overall, I enjoyed Sword and Fairy very much. Not only was it a visual treat, but the story was interesting and constantly kept me guessing. I find myself easily recommending this title and while it may be a little rough around the edges, it’s definitely worth playing.
An unpolished gem of an RPG every fan should experience
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