As far as I've ever read, Chinese Paladin: Sword and Fairy is one of the most storied RPG series to come out of China, with I think seven mainline titles and two spinoffs released since I want to say 1990? Somewhere around there.
Right now there are, to my knowledge, three entries in the series that you can play in English. There's a fan translation of the DOS/Win95 version of Sword and Fairy 1 floating around out there, and then there's official releases of Sword and Fairy 6 and Sword and Fairy 7 and one of the spinoffs over on Steam and the consoles. There's not any particular reason I've picked 7 over those others, and I'll probably get to them eventually.
navigation: chapter 1 chapter 2 chapter 3 chapter 4 chapter 5
The game starts with some seemingly in-medias res opening where some swordsman fights his way through the demon realm, his plan having failed. He's got a sword made of jade and it lets him open portals to other realms with spirit powers, which is the method by which he escapes his garuda pursuers. He emerges into another realm, commenting that it's unusually desolate. There are some murals on the wall depicting some founding myth, and he keeps saying it shouldn't be this empty. He makes his way to a floating platform, at which point my pirated copy I was playing through Wine stopped working in the way that Wine usually does when a game needs to play a cutscene to progress the game state and doesn't have any fallbacks for the operating system not being able to do that.
We pick back up around a year later, when I decide to buy the game on PS5 and give it another shot since I know it won't work on my computer. I catch back up and then the swordsman encounters a cool man dressed in red, who proceeds to stab the swordsman through the gut, chuck him off a floating island, take his sword, and uses it to open a gate somewhere. The scene fades out, and when we fade back in the developer credits start to roll over panning shots of lush forest scenery. We have a new protagonist now, Yue Qingshu, a young woman who appears to be an acolyte of some temple dedicated to cultivating immortality.
The scenery in this zone looks generally nicer, Yue Qingshu looks a lot more like a main character than the guy in the intro, and the monsters have designs that seem a bit more interesting than the garudas I was fighting in the opening.look at these little guys, they're great
After fighting a couple of those monsters I went over to town and promptly accepted every sidequest. Most of them boiled down to some variant of 'go to the marker on the map and kill the monsters there', though one of them didn't mark that on your map and I had to notice that the ginseng monsters dropped vegetables and then get five of those. It wasn't as clear in the text as it could've been since the questgiver said 'three, no five vegetables' and that hurts comprehensibility when you're scanning dialogue for keywords.
With all the available sidequests done, I progressed the main story a bit. Yue Qingshu found an apple with a ton of spiritual energy in it, and had to be stopped from eating it by her little bird companion.this little guy
Yue heads back to town looking for the local blacksmith who she can't find, and then back to the monastery, after which she puts the spirit fruit away, before going back down the town. The blacksmith is in, and tells Yue that he would need some specific kind of ore that he couldn't possibly get etc etc to which Yue volunteers to go and get it, which means beating up some monsters outside of town. Yue does that, and then you get to upgrade your sword. Yue then heads back up the mountain and sees a giant bird carrying a child. She gets her own bird to transform into a larger bird, cuts down the other bird in midair, catches the child it was carrying, and takes him back to her monastery.
The kid wakes up scared, saying he'd been locked up all his life in a different monastery for his weak constitution. Yue's teacher verifies that he seems weak of constitution, but not ill, and Yue notices a symbol on his hand. The scene cuts over to the other monastery where they talk about the missing child and I think they said he was the chosen one or something. It's at this point that I decide to make this webpage, and will be able to take better notes going forward, instead of just poorly trying to remember what happened.
Yue makes some food for the kid and the kid is shocked by people being nice to him. Yue's teacher invites the kid to the sect. Yue sings the kid to sleep. Yue then looks around the temple because she feels paranoid, but finds nothing. In the night, the fruit does something to Yue, and then seems to manifest as the guy from the opening before the scene cuts away to show the intruder trying to steal away the kid, but she's stopped by the guy who just manifested from the fruit.
The two of them then fight for several bouts, with the woman pictured above using a magic lute of some kind to battle before the man in white finds an opening and runs the woman through with the sword. The fighting causes a wall to break, heavily injuring the sect's leader in the process. Yue tries to heal him to no avail, but the kid reveals himself to be a talented healer, whose healing magic even heals the broken wall. The rest of the night passes without incident. In the morning, Yue tries to question the man, but gets no response as he just leaves. When Yue tries to pursue, she hears the villagers yelling about a monster attack, and heads to the village to check it out. After defeating the monsters, the villagers warn Yue about a Vicious Beast, which promptly shows up. Yue then lures it away to an uninhabited area, but gets damaged by debris when it crashes through solid rock. The man in white shows up, who the UI tells me is named Xiu Wu, and then assumes control of Yue's sword to fight the beast.
After the fight, Xiu Wu returns the sword to Yue Qingshu, and then Deity Lord Aoxu possesses the child and they exposit about what's going on, though it's a bit hard for me to follow. Lots of talk of realms and gods and demons and proper nouns that I don't totally understand.side note: lord of demon is a cool name
Members of another sect arrive and apologize for their tardiness. The conversation lasts a bit longer, and then Yue Qingshu and Xiu Wu head over to the temple of the other sect that worships the Deity Lord who possessed the kid. The place is very opulent and there's a sigil in the sky to let the residents know that it's a safe zone.
As you explore the temple grounds, Yue Qingshu and Xiu Wu talk about the beast that attacked. Xiu Wu explains that the beasts were imprisoned but escaped to the human realm while nobody was looking, and Yue Qingshu says that all of them have the mark of the criminal on them, and that they exude a black aura that they shouldn't. Some NPCs in the corner are talking about the Three Magic Weapons which sound like they might be important later.
Meeting with the head of the sect, Yue is informed that she has formed a symbiotic relationship with Xiu Wu when she bit into the apple earlier. Xiu Wu shows the hicky he got to prove it.
They then discuss what to do about the child and Yue Qingshu's grandpa and whether they need to be moved to the other sect or not for protection, since Xiu Wu is the only one that can take out the beasts, and Xiu Wu has to be near Yue Xingshu. Then they head to the pagoda where they've been keeping the kid (whose name is Ziqiu, but I didn't take note of it beforehand). He wants to get out of the pagoda. He is not let out of the pagoda. Yue promises to visit him again. Yue and Xiu Wu return to Yue's sect where they eat dinner and Yue's grandfather pressgangs Xiu Wu into joining their sect. There's some back and forth between the two about the formality levels in the sect before they head to sleep. In the morning, Xiu Wu is given Yue Qingshu's father's clothes, and the Azure Sword, which lets him and Yue Qingshu do dualtechs.
They're interrupted by a rumbling, and as they look up they see the sigil in the sky wavering. There's some invaders here to steal Ziqiu, and there's a scene showing the disciples at the temple trying to fend off the invaders. Yue Qingshu and Xiu Wu then head off to investigate.
On the way over, you see many of the sect's disciples injured and passed out, as well as the wreckage of the pagoda.
At the ruins of the pagoda, the Deity Lord has chained the invaders.
Kuiyu does a mana burst and breaks the chains, and then tries to stab at the deity lord. They then trade blows for a bit in this manner until Kuiyu reveals the Chunzi Sword that used to be Xiu Wu's. This lets her dissolve the barrier above the temple, somehow.
Then there's a beam clash of some kind, and this severs the Deity Lord's bond to the mortal realm, I think.
Ziqiu then falls to the ground and Kuiyu approaches menacingly, before Xiu Wu bravely attacks from behind, gets deflected, and then healed by Yue Qingshu.
This then triggers a combat encounter that is stopped when I run out of HP as a scripted loss while I'm trying to remember any of the controls after not playing the game in a month and a half.
Ziqiu then re-establishes the interdimensional telecom link with Deity Lord Aoxu, who then grants Xiu Wu and Yue Xingshu the power of divinity, and then the fight restarts.
After taking out around a quarter of Kuiyu's health, the fight ends.
Back in the cutscene dimension, it zooms in on Ziqiu before zooming out to Deity Lord Aoxu to show that he's piloting Aoxu like it's season 4 of Digimon. The fighting continues on the ground while Ziqiu and his four elemental sages start casting a ritual spell in the background. Kuiyu gets nicked by a sword and then backflips up on top of the wreckage of the pagoda.
Aoxu tells Xiu Wu to back off, and starts casting chain steel at Kuiyu again. Kuiyu runs up the chains and deflects the other ones, but the chains target the other invaders, one of whom heroically pushes the other out of the way so that he can get stabbed instead.
This forces Kuiyu back on the defensive, and she uses the Chunzi sword to cut open a path for them to retreat through. Bit of a literal interpretation of 'using the sword to cut a way out' but I guess that's the visualization we're going with here.
After the fighting, the sect talks among themselves about the casualties and the fighting. They thank the stars that nobody was killed. Mengzhang says to take the people who can still move to other Sects of Sect Allies, and ask them to come here for a large gathering of all the sects so that they can reveal the existence of the Chosen Child to the world. He then turns to Xiu Wu and relays the importance of all of this before telling Xiu Wu and Yue Qingshu about where to find the Spirits that Yue Xingshu's sect is known for taming, seemingly setting up the main collectibles for the rest of the game.