Old-school massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs) from the 2000s are going through a mobile renaissance. Gamers want to experience the nostalgic gameplay that gave them many fond memories, of a classic gaming experience without the flash of modern titles, and Jian Xia Qing Yuan R (剑侠情缘R) is part of this major mobile game wave.
Jian Xia Qing Yuan R’s popularity is undeniable, having reached the no. 1 spot in the Vietnam App Store and Google Play Store under the MMORPG category.
So, what makes Jian Xia Qing Yuan R worth playing?
1. Classic Aesthetics
Jian Xia Qing Yuan R has a 2.5D isometric view reminiscent of MMORPGs of that era. This specific aesthetic is a relic of the time, and is instantly recognisable to gamers who indulged in those games. Games that look like this are not really made anymore, and while 8-bit and 16-bit retro graphics are always being re-visited by the indie scene, this 2.5D look has been left behind when the industry moved into full 3D.
Jian Xia Qing Yuan R brings back this blast from the past, and gives a new generation of players the chance to see why these graphics were so popular, recreating the gameplay and animation, all while including the quality-of-life elements that modern gamers have come to expect in mobile MMORPGs.
2. World of Wuxia
Jian Xia Qing Yuan R is a remaster of the MMORPG Jian Xia Qing Yuan Online, released in 2003. Just like the other games in the franchise, it is set in the world of wuxia, which is an extremely popular genre of Chinese fantasy filled with martial arts, conflict between factions, and flashy fights. Think Hero meets Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon by way of Game of Thrones.
This is an RPG setting different from the worlds of high fantasy we see in Western and Japanese RPGs (JRPGs), and serves to introduce wuxia to a brand new world of new audiences, with new ideas and possibilities, and new ways to examine a hero’s tale. Jian Xia Qing Yuan R is a great way to either re-visit or be introduced to a setting that has cemented itself as part of an entire culture’s collective unconscious.
3. Bustling Market
When it comes to MMORPGs, the social aspect is key. It’s an active, engaged community that makes an MMORPG. A good sign of an engaged community is a bustling market. Jian Xia Qing Yuan R allows players to set up street stalls to sell items to other players. A free trade system where items are not bound to specific accounts makes the world feel much more organic and alive, because when items are forcibly bound to specific characters, it will accentuate the artificiality of the game world. This keeps the in-universe economy up and running, where players will have to immerse themselves in the movement of demand and supply.
There is also an auction system, which will allow players to easily get items that they need from other players. The added convenience makes the exchanges in the market go much faster and more efficiently. The energy in the air is palpable, so hop into the game and feel it for yourself!
Ultimately, when it comes to games, gameplay is king. Jian Xia Qing Yuan R has it in spades, both PvE and PvP.
For the former, consistent with the organic and alive world, there are world bosses that players can fight. These bosses are too strong for a single player to defeat, and as such some coordination and cooperation will be necessary for players to take them down. Of course, the world bosses will drop loot too, and it will no doubt be exciting to see how players bicker over who gets to keep the rarest loot.
For the latter, there is the Song Jin Battlefield, where players are divided into two warring factions, and have to defeat the opposing forces in a wild, chaotic, unpredictable situation. As thousands of players trade blows throughout the map, surviving itself could be a challenge, making this an adrenaline rush of a mode.
Both the world bosses and Song Jin Battlefield lead to situations that are familiar to wuxia fans, where allies potentially turn into enemies, and the pandemonium of war involving martial artists is written in excruciating detail.
For fans of the franchise, this is the latest game to play, especially when the developer of JX Online 3 (another MMORPG in the franchise), Kingsoft, is also involved in the development of Jian Xia Qing Yuan R. For wuxia fans, this is a game that will allow you to play through the familiar tropes, scenarios, and elements of the genre, and is definitely worth checking out.
For gamers new to the genre, this is a great chance to broaden your horizons and immerse yourselves in a culturally significant and rich setting.