Sword of the Vagrant is a side-scrolling action RPG in the same line as titles like Dragon’s Crown and Muramasa: The Demon Blade in that it presents itself with stunning artwork and fluid gameplay with a unique style that seemingly blends multiple genres together. Sword of the Vagrant released years go as The Vagrant to some overwhelmingly positive reviews, but that is not why you are here.
Is Sword of the Vagrant a worthy title on the Nintendo Switch? Or should this action RPG have stayed dormant? Let’s find out!
In Sword of the Vagrant, you play as Vivian, a mercenary who is following her lost father’s research in an effort to bring her family back together. On her journey, she faces harsh weathers, immeasurable difficulties, and incredibly powerful enemies en route to her goal.
Along the way, she is burdened by characters that are wary of her desires, and it is up to Vivian to prove herself in the midst of a quest she was forced to agree to, as she also continues to search for her father and help others along the way. There are loads of characters and lots of solid dialog that keep the story of Sword of the Vagrant exciting and fun.
I wouldn’t say that the story here is the most complex. Quite the contrary, this is some pretty standard stuff in the RPG world, but the characters are well developed and Vivian is a great character to follow on her journey. She is strong and determined, even if she is scantily clad, and she has a big heart despite her unfortunate upbringing. The only unfortunate thing about the story is that the English subtitles are littered with grammatical errors which does distract away from the story at times.
Sword of the Vagrant is a combination of side-scrolling action and platforming with a flair of RPG elements. It is a solid idea that has worked across quite a few major game titles, namely the Castlevania series pre-Metroidvania era, and it is nice to see this title get a second life on modern day consoles, as it is a fun and action-packed game full of customizations, upgrades, and so much more.
The combat is rather simple in the beginning, but as you play and collect Mana, you can spend it on a skill tree that helps to unlock news skills, abilities, combos, and more. This is one of those RPG elements that adds a lot to the overall gameplay of Sword of the Vagrant, and it really helps to make the player feel like they are getting stronger on their own accord.
Enemies pop up frequently, and most of the time it is a small arena where you have to defeat X amount of enemies in order to move on. The major positive side is that the standard enemies provide just enough of a challenge to feel good without being annoying, and enemies also tend to drop a lot of look, including money, Mana, and potions, for example. There are some sections that feel overwhelming busy with respawning enemies, like ghosts, and unfortunately, this tends to bog down the Switch version of the game, as I noticed quite a few laggy moments.
Progression in Sword of the Vagrant is similar to Metroidvanias, where a map connects to other areas and usually guides you to your destination. This ultimately leads you to area bosses and major items that need to be obtained in order to move on, and it is a nice flow overall. The bosses are big, mean, and chock full of health, so learning their rhythms and being wise about your dodging is incredibly important. I found the boss fights to be the most entertaining, as well as the most challenging, part of the entire Sword of the Vagrant experience.
Where Sword of the Vagrant shines brightest, though, is in its stunning visual design and artwork. For such an affordable title, this looks absolutely amazing, and both the foreground and its various enemies and NPCs as well as the background and its purposeful designs cater to the experience more than anything else. Every little detail pops, and the only minor gripe I have in this department is that Vivian’s equipment does not visually change when you equip something new. Other than that, though, the artwork is flawless.
The soundtrack is pretty awesome, too, and the transitions between areas is super-cool and of course fighting bosses ramps things up. The entire game is voiced in Japanese, but those voiced segments are pretty minimal. They do add a lot to what’s happening on screen, and I would have preferred more voice acting. However, considering the price point, this is not a problem at all.
Sword of the Vagrant is a beefy game at the end of the day. It does have some minor issues, like the grammatical mistakes in the texts, stuttering and lag, and even some difficulty spikes here and there. Thankfully, since this is an RPG of sorts, difficulty spikes can be combated with some good ol’ grinding.
Everything else, though, is top tier gaming for an incredibly low price. Sword of the Vagrant is gorgeous, plays really well, has a lot going on, and is simply a fun time from start to finish. This is a game that will take you at least 10 hours to go through the main game, but there is so much more to do and explore for those completionists out there.
The rebranding and the second life will hopefully do wonders for Sword of the Vagrant, as this is a title that deserves more attention and a larger player base. As far as the game itself goes, I cannot recommend this enough for fans of the genre. This will keep you busy and entertained for many hours, and its price could easily be doubled and justified. Definitely take a chance with Sword of the Vagrant. You will not regret it.
Fun story and great characters
Boss fights are big and challenging in all the right ways
Absolutely stunning visual presentation
Excellent price point
Grammatical mistakes in texts
Lag when too many enemies are on screen
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.