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Import Duty – Stranger of Sword City (Xbox One)

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Stranger of Sword City is a first person dungeon crawler JRPG in similar vein to the countless other old school JRPGs that have really started to make their way out of their native country of Japan. Handheld platforms, the 3DS and Vita, have a growing library of these titles. Stranger of Sword City has made its way to Australia and all over the world as a Vita release, and for all intents and purposes most would feel like it was hand-crafted specifically as a another addition to Vita’s dungeon crawling RPG line-up. But as it turns out, Stranger of Sword City didn’t quite start out as a Vita game, let alone a game for a Japanese system, it in fact began as an Xbox 360 game of all things.

Stranger of Sword City was released in limited quantities for the Xbox 360 in Japan only, which would shock most people considering Microsoft systems are commercial failures in the Land of the Rising Sun. The artwork and packaging was a thing of beauty, and I was tempted to import the game despite it not having a word of English outside of battle commands. I chose not to, but I’m glad I waited because the Xbox One remake did indeed get a localisation.

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So this Xbox One game is a remake of the Xbox 360 original, and the Vita version is exactly the same as the One game. Now it’s really a matter of preference, would you rather play a game of this style on a Sony handheld or do you want some high resolution goodness on the television courtesy of the Xbox One? Personally, I’ve been an avid collector of Japanese Xbox games for years now, especially for the Xbox 360, and so I just couldn’t pass up a chance to play an import RPG on my One.

Now the physical release of Stranger of Sword City exclusive to Japan, and the digital version was only released in North America. Australia and Europe only got the Vita version. So if you wanted to get the Xbox One version, you’d probably need to do a convoluted workaround on Xbox Live with a North American account… or you could just grab the Japanese version from your favourite online retailer, as the physical release goes for well under $50. It’s a worthwhile import if you’re into these types of games and want to add something fresh to your Xbox One library (it certainly will look odd next to all the Halos and Gears) and best part is that when you pop the disc in the language and text automatically patches to English. In fact, at the time of writing, the once Japanese text heavy Raiden V has been fully stealth patched to English complete with English dub work. There’s a lot I don’t like about digital distribution, but English localisation patches completely free of cost? Now that’s a thing of beauty.

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Stranger of Sword City is the exact same game as more easily available Vita version. The only difference is that you get to enjoy it on the big screen. If that’s your preference, and you just so happen to be a fan of these games who also has a Xbox One lying around, then this is something you might want to add to your collection. It’s on the Vita for sure, but as far as main consoles go, this is a Xbox One console exclusive as it didn’t get a PlayStation 4 release.

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