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Video Game / Stranger of Sword City

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In ancient times on the world of Escario the Fallen One fought a terrible battle against the Creator. This battle tore a hole in the fabric of reality, through which the Strangers came. Who are the Strangers? Why, we are.

You are the only survivor when a plane you're riding on falls through the gate and crashlands into the Mausoleum of Metal. You would have died like all the others, had Riu, leader of the Strangers' Guild of Sword City, not rescued you from the monsters.

Far from a Fish out of Water, you find yourself possessing strange powers that allow you to battle and destroy the monsters that plague this land. More than that, you are a Chosen One, one of only three people in Escario who can destroy the powerful Lineage Type monsters by taking away their blood crystals. Along with your fellow Chosen your job is to hunt down Lineage Type monsters, take the blood crystals that give them life, and take them to Vessels, who will pass them on to the divine. Hopefully, with enough divine grace you will find a way to return home. If not, you will vanish into nothing like so many others.


Stranger of Sword City is a Dungeon RPG developed by Experience Inc. and published by Nippon Ichi Software for the Xbox 360 in 2014, and later rereleased for the PS Vita in 2015 and the Xbox One in 2016. It made a few changes to the standard DRPG formula, such as a reimagined Perma-Death system, and a deeper emphasis on character creation and customization. It was most well known for its character graphics featuring the work of Yoko Tsukamoto and Oxijyen.


This game provides examples of:

  • An Adventurer Is You: There are a few different classes in the game.
    • The Fighter class specializes in heavy weapons, usually with shields. They're somewhere in between Melee DPS and Tank.
    • The Knight class specializes in heavy armor and shields, and is most definitely The Tank.
    • The Samurai class specializes in attacking entire rows of enemies at once with their dual katanas, and are pure Melee DPS.
    • The Wizard class specializes in attack magic and is the Ranged DPS and The Nuker.
    • The Cleric class specializes in support magic and is both The Healer and The Buffer.
    • The Ranger class specializes in bows and hunting techniques, and is both The Archer and sometimes The Debuffer.
    • The Ninja class is Jack-of-All-Trades, mostly able to work as an Avoidance Tank to taunt and distract enemies or any sort of DPS with its assassination skills.
    • The Dancer class is another Jack-of-All-Trades, but more for support with songs that make it The Buffer, thrown weapons for Ranged DPS, and the item-using abilities of The Resource Master.
    • Revisited adds three new classes: Clocker, Puppeteer, and Freeman.
    • The Clocker class is yet another Jack-of-All-Trades, learning low level Wizard and Cleric spells and specializes in time based skills to act more frequently or inhibit the enemies' turns.
    • The Puppeteer class specializes in manipulating the enemies in various ways, and is The Mezzer.
    • The Freeman class is unique in that is can not ever join the battle party and instead stays behind helping out the Guild earning extra perks over time.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: As mentioned above, character portraits were designed by both Yoko Tsukamoto and Oxijyen; both styles are available for player characters, and a button in the options menu allows you to choose between using Yoko's or Oxijyen's graphics for NPCs. The problem? Oxijyen's cuter and more stylized portraits really clash with the dark tone of the game (though that may be a plus depending on your personal tastes). What's more, all of the backgrounds and enemy graphics are done in Yoko's dark and realistic style, making Oxijyen's designs stick out like a sore thumb.
  • Bad Samaritan: The old man at the beginning of the game finds the player wandering the Mausoleum of Metal and helps them escape... only to summon monsters to ambush them so he can eat their soul.
  • Bare Your Midriff: A few of the portraits selectable for playable characters have this, but notably so does Alm Medell's bodyguard Rain.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Not as bad as some, but there are a few off translations. Notably, the skill screen mistranslates the Slow and Multi-Slow spells as Throw and Multi-Throw, and mistranslates the Tri-Bolt spell (a spell dealing fire, thunder, and ice damage together) as Dry Bolt.
  • Butterfly of Death and Rebirth: Characters that lose their last LP turn into butterflies and vanish. Said butterflies can be found all throughout the labyrinths as well and can perform various helpful feats, mostly teleporting you to safety.
  • The Chosen One: What the player is. In practice, this means their job is to kill Lineage Type monsters, because only a Chosen One is capable of offering up the monster's blood crystal to the vessels and preventing it from reappearing.
  • Crossover: Charon, the villain from Students Of The Round, another Experience Inc game, makes an appearance.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Alm Medell. She's the chosen vessel for the God of Darkness, but she isn't a bad guy. In her words, she also wants a world of peace and happiness, but she doesn't think the filthy should have to perish for that to happen. She wants everyone to be happy... granted, "everyone" does seem to include criminals.
  • Death Is Cheap: To an extent. There are limits, mostly in the form of Life Points and for monsters, Blood Crystals. If your Life Points run out, or if a Chosen One offers up your Blood Crystal to the gods, then you vanish and can never come back.
  • Death-or-Glory Attack: The Samurai's Carnage Back. Challenge one enemy and the two of you take turns swinging at each other until one of you is dead. It can be a great way to take down tough enemies quickly, especially if you've buffed your Avoid stat enough to dodge their counterattacks. If not, it can be a really good way to get yourself killed, or at the least weak enough that a different enemy can finish you off with ease.
  • Difficulty Spike: After the event in the Mausoleum of Forests' sacred grounds three new dungeons open up... all three of them will wreck your shit unless you've done a lot of over-leveling.
  • Dungeon Crawling: Naturally, since it is a Dungeon RPG. There are a few different dungeons to crawl in.
  • Enemy Summoner: Used very annoyingly. Most enemies have the ability to summon more of their own kind. They can do this endlessly and will often wait until just before they're about to die and suddenly summon a replacement, or sometimes multiple replacements. More annoyingly, enemies carrying items can use this tactic to bide time the few turns it takes them to run away. Getting items from kunoichis in the Valley of the Ruined is extremely annoying for just this reason.
  • Gratuitous Latin: Whenever a screen lets the player choose between action or dialog options, the top of the menu always bears the Latin phrase "Verum cur non audimus?", translated "Why do we not listen to the truth?"
  • Fantastic Drug: Poiney Powder, a white powder that creates a sense of euphoria but weakens the heart. In practice it restores lost life points while reducing the life point maximum. Take so much that your max LP becomes zero and you turn into a bloated half-human-half-fly demon called a Zebub.
  • Final Death:
    • Every character has from 1-3 life points depending on the age the player sets when making them. If a character's LP ever reaches 0 that character becomes a butterfly and vanishes. Otherwise, the character can be revived and lost LP can be recovered by resting for a while. The tradeoff is that older characters get fewer LP but more bonus stat points. The sole exception is the main character, who has LP as normal, but they never go down no matter how many times the player dies.
    • More generally, the entire goal of a Chosen One is to cause this for the normally immortal Lineage Type monsters by taking away the blood crystal that gives them life.
  • Five Races: Yep. Each race also has a battle trait tied to it, though the player can assign different traits if they wish.
    • Stout: Dwarves, which are pretty much exactly what you'd expect. They naturally get the "Invincible Body" trait that makes them immune to paralysis
    • Fairy: Ney, the cat people who are super agile and make good rogues. They also have the "Wild Eye" trait that lets them point out interesting spots in the labyrinth that might otherwise go undetected. Naturally, Elves could also count as the Fairy race, but Ney do it a little better.
    • Mundane: Humans, naturally. They're the Jack-of-All-Stats race. They also naturally get "Battle Fortune" which gives +3 bonus stat points and a lower risk of being ambushed.
    • High Men: Elves, who are super-intelligent forest people. They naturally have the "Rich Education" talent which gives them a bonus to identifying found items.
    • Cute: Migmies. They have adorable puppy dog ears, look like cute children even when full grown, and are said to be more in touch with the gods, having a naturally high piety stat. They also have the Intuition skill, which gives them a bonus to identifying traps.
  • Heavyworlder: The main explanation given for the Strangers' absurd combat prowess compared to natives: gravity is lower in Sword City's world.
  • Human Aliens: The Strangers, at least as far as the people of Escario are concerned. Notably, there is a race of humans already living there, which apparently bears no common ancestry with Earthlings.
  • Luck-Based Mission: Parts of the game can fall into this.
    • Some enemy encounters are scripted, and you have to pass them to proceed, but the encounter itself is still random. You might get one or two enemies... or it might spawn enemies four rows deep with 3-6 enemies in each row. Fortunately you can just use the Flash Escape divinity skill to retreat and try again hoping for a better set of foes...
    • Perma-death for players plus enemies with instant-kill abilities is not a pleasant combination. Granted you have LP that might protect you, but still...
  • Mainlining the Monster: The two gang leaders and their top enforcers in the slums all gained power by taking monster blood crystals into their own bodies.
  • Multiple Endings: The game has 3 main endings, depending on whether you primarily supported Marilith (Light), Alm (Darkness), or Riu (Neutral). Each ending also has two variants, depending on whether you playing a White Palace game (which gives a more optimistic ending for Marilith or Riu) or a Black Palace game (which gives a more optimistic ending for Alm). In each ending, Riu always gets kidnapped while the Nameless Elder/Lucifel convinces the Vessel you didn't side with to turn against you. If you side with Riu, both vessels turn on you and have to be killed.
  • Never Say "Die": Player characters who die are definitely said to be dead. Those that suffer Final Death are said to "vanish," though that's mostly to differentiate between regular old death they can come back from and actual permanent death. Monsters slain in combat don't even get that, the game just says they "ran out of energy."
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: It sure was nice of you to get the golden liver to cure the orc king's illness. Too bad you find out about a half an hour later that the golden liver doubles as a powerfully addicting narcotic that drives people into a murderous frenzy, and oh by the way the orc king has mysteriously gone crazy and disappeared.
  • Old Soldier: While the characters can be set to any age between 10 and 99, the balance of base bonus stats and life points makes the most efficient team early on a 60+ years old Chosen One leading a group of 40-59 years old party.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child:
    • Despite the butterflies very clearly holding the souls of vanished people, the Strangers' Guild has cruelly taken to slaughtering these butterflies on sight for their useful properties - mostly their wings which can teleport you safely home from the dungeons, and their legs which can disarm traps. There are also magic clothing, rings, and other equipment made using the butterflies' bodies. For what it's worth, the Strangers' leader, Riu, detests this practice but she doesn't do anything to stop the other Strangers from taking advantage of it.
    • Also the "Dead Man's" weapon line. They're said to contain the grudges of the dead. They're pretty decent mid-game weapons and give a bonus to damage against immortal type enemies.
  • The Power of Blood: Lineage monsters are immortal and powerful because of their blood crystals. These crystals can also be implanted in human bodies to gain power - a common practice among the elite gang leaders of the slums - or they can be offered to a vessel to gain divine power. Lesser monsters also carry lesser crystals called blood gems, which are used as currency in Sword City.
  • Sailor Fuku: Riu wears one. Presumably she was a high school student before ending up in Escario and just never changed out of her clothes.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Alm Medell, who dresses like a boy in order to hide her true gender, for some vaguely explained reasons involving gender politics and her status as heir to her father's business empire. Revisited abandons this plot point entirely; Alm in the remake is never stated to be a girl but is consistently referred to as a boy throughout the entire game.
  • Wretched Hive: The slums, naturally. It's one of the few parts of the city routinely invaded by monsters, not to mention full of thieves and thugs that are just as bad as the monsters themselves.

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