Publisher: NIS America
Developer: Experience Inc.
Release: March 16th, 2021
Reviewed on: Nintendo Switch
Also on: Steam
It’s pretty exciting to have both of these games arrive on the Switch. Saviors of Sapphire Wings is originally a 2010 game called Students of the Round. It was remade in 2019 for the PS Vita under the title Azure-Winged Chevalier. Stranger of Sword City initially released in 2014 in Japan and internationally in 2016. An updated version was released internationally in 2017 on the PS Vita. So while the games have been around for a while, having both released together on the Switch is certainly a treat for those that enjoy old school RPGs that involve a lot of dungeon delving.
Saviors of Sapphire Wings starts off with your character entrenched in an epic battle with the Overlord. After a few rounds of getting beat down by the Overlord, you and your group dies, the Overlord wins, and darkness starts to creep into the world.
You are reborn (which at this point allows you to create your character) and are brought to a small village that looks oddly similar to The Shire. After you save the son and granddaughter of one of the townsfolk from goblins, you reform the Knights of the Round to once again take on the Overlord. The game starts off a bit slow, it takes roughly four hours before it really starts to open up, but the story and the characters keep the game going.
In Stranger of Sword City, you crash land on a planet and meet an old man who tells you to follow them. And if your instincts tell you that this is a bad idea, well you’d be right. After the intro you are taken to the city where you can start to build your team. Unlike Saviors of Sapphire Wings, the characters on your team don’t have a story behind them, instead you pick up mercenaries that will fit your team’s needs. Where Saviors of Sapphire Wings is very much a JRPG, Stranger of Sword City reminds me more of the old Dungeon and Dragons games, similar to Eye of the Beholder.
Both games allow you to adjust the main character when you are creating them. You pick the picture that best suits your character, assign stats, and select a class. Stranger of Sword City has many more options of pictures to choose from, and you can select your character's race as well as class.
You’ll be doing a lot of dungeon delving in both games, and as you explore, more of the map opens up to you. Both games do require quite a bit of grinding, so if that’s not your thing, then stay away from JRPGs all together. While you do have to grind to level up your characters, both games allow for plenty of side quests so it’s not like you are out in the world just grinding for levels with no real objective. And trust me, I’ve played plenty of JRPGs that would do just that.
Much like any JRPG, there is plenty of equipment to help outfit your character. There is also some weapon and armor crafting as well as item crafting. Both games offer plenty of loot to find too. In Stranger of Sword City, one mechanic that I find interesting is the ability to hide and ambush your opponents. When you dive into a dungeon, you’ll find rooms that are suited for hiding in wait for a monster to appear. When one does appear you can check on the monster and the treasure to see if this is a worthwhile battle. It’s a bit grindy for sure, but it’s a different way to grind for loot.
Saviors of Sapphire Wings has a bonding system, the more you talk to your squires and involve them in battles and eat with them, your relationship grows and will open up more about their characters.
Final Grade: A
If you are a fan of Dungeons and Dragons and reminisce about the days when you played games like Eye of the Beholder, this package is definitely for you. The games start off a bit slow, but once they get going, they are really deep and interesting. I find the story of Saviors of Sapphire Wings to be more interesting, but I enjoy the fact that Stranger of Sword City allows me to build a team to my liking, much like Dungeons and Dragons. And the fact that you get two games in this bundle is certainly something to consider when you are looking for something that will be the best bang for your buck, as both games will keep you busy for a long while.
Review code provided by NIS America