By providing a brief yet exciting adventure in a purely metroidvania manner, The Vagrant, produced by OTK Games, gained some success. Nobody was unaware of how visually inspired Vanillaware’s works were, which is nonetheless a huge compliment given how different the two firms are from one another. As a result, we now enjoy the benefits of the console port created by DICO, edited by Rainy Frog, and given the new moniker Sword of the Vagrant.
Legend of Vagrant: Vivian’s Awakening
As at the beginning of another adventure with a specific elf, our voyage begins amid a storm of Homeric proportions on a ship that is sinking and being tossed about by enormous waves. Our protagonist, Vivian, is introduced to a fascinating owl-headed character who forewarns her of the dangers of her voyage.
This information greatly intrigues her because the latter is looking for her father, a scholar who had gone insane before fleeing the marital house. The ship collides with the reefs a little while later, with barely enough time to take charge of the handling of our seductive barbarian and give a few well-felt cuffs to bony and rattling stowaways.
Later, on a sunny beach, we regain our composure. A young woman, who we assume is from a respectable household, encounters a wild boar and goes into utter fear. Vivian cares for the beast deftly despite her wounds and the hunger that torments her.
The young woman then extends an invitation to her home as a gesture of gratitude before rapidly making an unusual request of her: accompany her covertly outside the village into the forest to our heroine’s next destination—the metropolis. Naturally, the latter accepts nonchalantly, never imagining for a second that the course of events would take a particularly sad turn.
As a result, we learn more about our virtual partner, a muscular mercenary with unending blond hair who is likely a distant descendant of Tyris Flare given her choice of clothes that favours great mobility over protection.
That the most conservative may rest easy, there is an alternate outfit that can be activated in the game options to hide this particularly disgusting package of quivering flesh. Just that the character’s idleness and motion degrade, drawing our attention to what is now hidden, is regrettable.
Sword of the Vagrant exhibits a certain efficiency in its classicism when it comes to the menus specifically. Only Vivian’s weapon benefits from multiple visual iterations among her equipment, which also includes armour, accessories, and a supply of potions. The inventory includes all of the conceivable supplementary mixtures, along with the numerous components related to the forge and the kitchen: a joyful chaos that we almost certainly never review. Vivian has four simultaneous “Skills” that can be used as special moves. They are started by pressing the B button and a direction at the same time. They deplete our Rage bar, which refuels with each strike delivered but notably with those taken. A fairly simple skill tree in the form of a whirlwind is visible behind the “Aptitudes”; nevertheless, as it does not allow for the creation of distinct “builds,” it would have deserved a little more complexity. Finally, the “Notes” section provides access to the adventure diary detailing the scenario’s progress as well as a summary of all the tutorials and a bestiary to be filled up.
Path of Vagrant
In only one step, Vivian transforms from the village of Brocley’s colourful wheat fields to the area’s lush, gloomy woodland, ruthlessly slicing the bears, ravens, rodents, and other wolves that make up the local fauna.
The enemy occasionally drops food that heals us as well as mana crystals when they die, along with gold coins, and other items that are usually made for sale or for crafting. These act as experience points that let us upgrade our gear and unlock a variety of passive bonuses and attack combos in the skill tree. Mana is even employed as a medium of transaction with some sellers in the game’s closing stages.
Since each weapon or piece of armour acquired is randomly created, the loot system is a little more complicated than it first appears. As a result, it is conceivable to have multiple items that are identical but have various qualities and levels.
Vivian can upgrade the quality of the various components of her equipment from one to five stars by using mana. A rune slot that may or may not already is filled opens up with each new level. It can be challenging to decide whether to destroy a thing to recover the runes that are on it because they have varying degrees of purity and can be integrated into another object.
Fortunately, progressing through the game, at least on a Normal level, does not need optimising this gameplay element. Instead, you can just use the equipment you find along the road, runes and all. But it’s always good to have the chance to push our abilities to their utmost, particularly in the endgame and in the harder game types.
Fighting Game: Champion Edition Vagrant
Our barbarian has a fairly acceptable range of primarily offensive options at the beginning of the game. Our tremendous attack causes significant damage and destroys the enemy’s shields to cap off the series of low hits that can be delivered on the ground or in the air. As a long-range weapon, the “Impulse Blade” skill is used. A slide on the ground and a dodge that gives the benefit of covering a reasonable amount of ground on the screen finish out this combination.
Vivian discovers old stone tablets as she investigates the various locations, which are frequently very well hidden (and, more importantly, not marked on the map). These are filled with historical knowledge that expands our toolbox of abilities. Of course, the conflicts become more dynamic and effective.
We discover an old battlefield full of very aggressive warriors after our country walk and a few other incidents that gradually change the course of our quest. This is the game’s first genuine significant head-to-head encounter because the previous one was ultimately just a cruel farce.
Crossing swords with an opponent that is many times our size can be challenging because, in addition to his four health bars, the monster has lightning attacks and a startlingly quick reaction time. If failure is still a possibility, the save point (manual, of course) is always nearby and enables you to restart the conflict equipped with more insight into the enemy’s strategy and perhaps a quick “farm” session to tip the odds in our favour.
Orchestra of the Wanderer
The rest of the game continues in the same vein, never breaking the little too formulaic pattern of campfire conversation, followed by area exploration and a boss battle. The main characters’ conversations occasionally lack creativity and wit, but we can already tell where the title will lead us given its themes of irrational power grabs and atonement. A special mention should go to the NPCs, though, who are not content with just one line of speech and may even provide us with a tiny reward if we take the time to listen to them all the way through. The same is true for merchants, who profit from the kind of blistering responses uncommon in an RPG. It is regrettable all the more since some translation errors spoil the experience.
The settings never deviate from the typical heroic-fantasy game tropes: unsettling graveyard, snow-capped mountain, the dark, sticky lair of any entomological or fungal monstrosity—all of these tropes are there, which is comforting to us. With its share of long climbs inside massive structures and quadruple jumps followed by an upward blow to reach the that annoying barely discernible platform on which a chest is resting, verticality becomes more and more crucial over time. Despite some dubious transitions, the map is pretty intuitive.
With its string of the dead, haunting armour, and other blobs seen and discussed in all other creations of the genre, the bestiary is different but also retains a very classic feel. Only the musical environment occasionally permits a few detours from the conventional symphonic works, throwing us a piece of the most bizarre techno-pop out of nowhere.
Vagrant Girl in Monster World
Sadly, Vivian’s journey never really surprises the seasoned metroidvania veterans. Despite these flaws, the gameplay is still enjoyable, and the different ancillary systems (Skills, Abilities, and crafts) are straightforward enough that you don’t need to be an optimization expert to understand their potential.
Given that the main tale can be finished in ten hours, excluding some side activities, the lifetime is quite well balanced. However, we may rue a rather poorly dosed challenge in the final leg of our voyage, where attackers often viciously aligned us off-screen and with perfect impunity. To prevent getting frustrated at this level, some “grinding” is probably necessary. Since many achievement hunters need to put in a few extra hours to end up drowning in flagrant hatred, they are not forgotten. Others, less obviously, inquire as to why a short screenplay sequence that is frequently dismal comes to an early finish in the face of specific enemies. Finally, unless you have masochistic tendencies, you need to complete the game twice to unlock each of the game’s endings. One of those games must be done on a harder setting, ideally during a New Game+.
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