Reviews - Updated on April 3, 2022

Japanese “dungeon” RPGs in the spirit of the Wizardry series (adored, by the way, in the Land of the Rising Sun) are a separate genre. And in recent years, the Studio Experience Inc. has played a prominent role in it. In 2016, its Stranger of Sword City was released in the West, and a year later on PS Vita there was an international release of its supplemented and improved version – Revisited. In 2019, the studio released another notable game in the same style – Blue-Winged Chevalier (international name – Saviors of Sapphire Wings), but again exclusively on Vita and in Japan. And recently, both were released for the first time on PC – as part of the Saviors of Sapphire Wings / Stranger of Sword City Revisited collection.

Japanese Knights of the Round Table

I must say right away that it was Saviors of Sapphire Wings that interested me. Because Stranger of Sword City was released on Steam back in 2016, and its improved version, Revisited, includes three new classes and three new dungeons, an expanded character creation system, improved combat, plus something else. In general, the usual story. But the former Blue-Winged Chevalier, now known as Saviors of Sapphire Wings (don’t be surprised, the Japanese love to complicate things – you haven’t seen the titles of some anime films and series yet!), on personal computers, and in principle outside of their homeland released for the first time.

Saviors of Sapphire Wings / Stranger of Sword City Revisited: Обзор

Stranger of Sword City had massive battles.

What might be of interest to Saviors of Sapphire Wings? You will be surprised, but by the plot and gameplay, or rather, by those interesting mechanics that are implemented here.

So, the topic here seems to be trivial – again the fight between the “beaver and the donkey”, but it is not presented in a completely standard way. The main hero, it turns out, once fought with no less main villain, the “overlord of darkness” named Ol=Ohma. And lost, died. And with him – and his comrades from the local society of the Knights of the Round Table.

And now, 100 years later, he was reborn in a new body, but, of course, at first he remembers little. And now we have to remember past events and our friends, who also went through the process of reincarnation and were reborn in new guises. And, of course, you have to look for ways to still overcome the villain.

Saviors of Sapphire Wings / Stranger of Sword City Revisited: Обзор

The battle with the main boss here is already at the very beginning. But this is not the last meeting with him.

It is clear that this takes a lot of time – the plot in Saviors of Sapphire Wings is large-scale, involving many hours of travel through forests, fields, ruins, castles, dungeons, fortresses, cities and villages. It’s no joke – if at first three partners travel with the main character, then their number will grow to ten. And only five people are allowed to take with them. Communicate with all of them at the base, which is located on the back of a huge flying whale. In general, as it should be in a JRPG, everything is epic and slightly crazy.

Saviors of Sapphire Wings / Stranger of Sword City Revisited: Обзор

That’s for sure – a miracle-yudo fish-whale. Flying only.

Basic set

The gameplay can also be called large-scale, solid, in the sense that there are many nuances here. The basis, of course, is standard for projects in the “Japanese dungeon crawler” genre – we explore locations, complete quests and fight from a first-person view. The battles are turn-based, in the classic Wizardry style, and victories in them give items and experience, allowing you to upgrade our wards. Naturally, in fights you can use class skills and spells. And we learn new ones as we level up the characters.

Saviors of Sapphire Wings / Stranger of Sword City Revisited: Обзор

At the base of the knights, everything is in charge of such a pretty “maid”, somewhat reminiscent of Rem from Re: Zero.

The latter differ in class and “soul” – this is actually an analogue of races, which gives bonuses to various basic characteristics. For example, the soul of a champion includes the energy of dwarves and gives a lot of strength, while the soul of a sage is already the legacy of the elves, and it is focused on intelligence and magic. You can also choose the souls of other races, including even fairies. As you develop, it will be possible to take both the main character and partners subclasses. The main and additional classes, with rare exceptions, are all familiar – “healer”, fighter, druid, paladin, wizard, and so on.

Saviors of Sapphire Wings / Stranger of Sword City Revisited: Обзор

But the main specialization cannot be changed for the protagonist – it was initially set by the game itself.

Alchemy is also in place in Saviors of Sapphire Wings, and traditional JRPG cooking, and equipment upgrades.

What about talking?

There are details. The same food is often used as bait for monsters in special traps. Different locations and different enemies require different baits: some people like vegetables and fruits, while others prefer meat. And you need this in order to establish control over the traps, attract and destroy the most dangerous monsters and capture the region.

There are also other interesting details – for example, both chests and most of the equipment in them are initially cursed, so you won’t be able to put everything on right away. You need to remove the curses or wait for the return to the base, when the curses disappear automatically.

Saviors of Sapphire Wings / Stranger of Sword City Revisited: Обзор

Some cursed chests can also escape, so you need to defeat the “leader” guarding them as quickly as possible.

But, perhaps, the main “trick” is the need to closely interact and communicate with partners. This happens during story scenes and when the hero specifically calls the character to his room for a conversation. By communicating, asking about their past, what is bothering them, and correctly answering their questions (“And for you, master, is murder a common thing?”), We improve relationships. You can even arrange a joint meal.

All this charges a special scale Soul Gauge, and then allows you to increase Soul Rank – the higher it is, the more opportunities open up for your partner. In particular, only at the fifth level of Soul Rank will he be allowed to choose a subclass.

Saviors of Sapphire Wings / Stranger of Sword City Revisited: Обзор

For each party member, information is given – here is a biography, and a list of what he likes, and the results of conversations.

Also, good relations give bonuses to experience, and with the receipt of new levels of Soul Rank, the number of so-called Union Skill Points also increases – these are the points needed to use powerful joint attacks.

Saviors of Sapphire Wings / Stranger of Sword City Revisited: Обзор

The choice of lines in dialogues with companions really matters.

Maintaining good relations is also important because strong enemies can perform special magic that takes our characters under control, and they even begin to attack their own. Only joint attacks and a high Soul Rank allow you to quickly get rid of this spell.

Not all at once

Naturally, like almost all Japanese RPGs, Saviors of Sapphire Wings also has a lot of grinding. In general, the game is quite complex and long. Well, how difficult… Many of the fights here, of course, are walk-through and look something like this:

We just need to click on the same button.

But at the same time, even on normal difficulty, there are bound to be enemies that you can’t deal with insolently. And considering that, as a rule, there are not enough potions and special stones for teleportation to our flying base, we often have to return through the entire location to the entry point – this is the only way to get off the map and get to our fortress in order to restore health and mana reserves.

Well, at least, the function of automatic movement is implemented here – just select a point on the map, and the party will go there by itself.

Saviors of Sapphire Wings / Stranger of Sword City Revisited: Обзор

Even the nasty goblins are tastefully drawn here.

Saviors of Sapphire Wings / Stranger of Sword City Revisited are not perfect games, but in their new versions they leave an overall great impression. Someone complains about the difficulties with controller support on the PC and some other roughness in porting, but I calmly played the keyboard and did not notice any special problems. So with a clear conscience I can recommend these games to all fans of the genre.

Pros: epic storyline; a lot of events and assorted partners with whom you need to maintain good relations; gameplay rich in interesting mechanics and events; nice art design and atmospheric music.

Cons: a lot of grind; not everything is fine with the balance of complexity.

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