Many of us remember a certain show called Lost, headed by one J.J. Abrams, or at least the elevator pitch: an airliner went down somewhere in the middle of the ocean, and the survivors were stuck on a mysterious island. There were alliances made and broken, new and unexplained phenomena almost every episode, and a smoke monster. Lost eventually spiraled down into a perplexing infamy, and Abrams went on to helm Star Wars Episode VII for better or worse.
But what if things had been different? Instead of a mishmash of boring hallucinations, what if the island the plane survivors beached on was home to an enchanting fantasy civilization, breathtaking landscapes, and more beautiful people than you could shake a stick at? What if they had to find their way back home in a series of awesome dungeon battles? Would they even want to? That’s something like the elevator pitch for Stranger of Sword City, a PlayStation Vita dungeon crawler RPG developed by Experience, Inc. and releasing on April 26th in the United States. The game will also release on April 29th in Europe, nearly two years after its original Xbox 360 release in Japan.
The player is, of course, the stranger of Sword City, also known as Escario. You are also the Chosen One – why wouldn’t you be? – and furthermore fated to defend the city from cosmic or other kinds of destruction by navigating the dark sociopolitical landscape between three opposing factions. Make no mistake, Stranger of Sword City is dark: publisher NIS America is quick to announce that “the story and characters depart from the comedy and lightness found in some of [developer Experience’s] other games.” Eeesh. Expect some gorgeous blood spatters to dress up the well-hued colors of Escario, at the very least.
Although not much is known about the turn-based combat design, NIS America proudly touts that permadeath is an important part of Stranger of Sword City (thereby endangering all the attractive people in your party) as well as an “Ambush system” that will force the player to consider some serious risk-reward choices. There will also be leaderboards to compete in monster-slaying prowess, or perhaps slaying of dwarves, elves, ney, or migmy. If the past is any guide, Experience’s previous dungeon crawler Demon Gaze received good marks for its battles. For more information, see the game’s English-language website.
Seriously, wouldn’t Lost be such a better show if it started out like Stranger of Sword City? Share your thoughts on Abrams, Lost, Star Wars, and Stranger of Sword City in the comments below!