Eastern Exorcist is a beautiful 2D side-scrolling hack and slash developed by Wildfire Games. Set in a fictitious eastern world overrun by demons and monsters you play as Lu Yunchuan an exorcist swordsman.
Lu’s brothers have been slain by King Mandrill after being deceived by a beautiful but cunning fox spirit. Committed to avenge his brother’s deaths Lu sets out in search of King Mandrill and all those he associates with.
While Eastern Exorcist borrows plot and characters from Chinese mythology, you don’t need to have studied the culture to enjoy the game.
Eastern Exorcist is a combat-based 2D side-scrolling adventure filled with monsters, ghosts, interesting NPCs and breathtaking artwork.
The game’s map expands around you as you venture into new areas. Certain quests unlock quick travel between shrines while others reveal new paths altogether.
Defeating enemies rewards you with souls which combined with the blue orbs you find around the map allow you to level up your skills at the shrines. Villagers will often have side quests for you and help breathe life into the mystical environment.
There are no fewer than 17 bosses in Eastern Excorcist to slash your way through. I found with the first few bosses I could easily hammer at the attack button, bluffing my way through the combat surviving on the health I had accumulated. The following bosses, however, are nowhere near as forgiving. The game’s difficulty quickly ramps up and while it does provide a true challenge, it never really feels unfair. You need to pace your attacks, defense becomes crucial and it’s critical you keep an eye on your stamina.
Combat is fairly intuitive and while the game does throw a lot of moves and combos at you early on, the difficulty progressions in both boss fights along with the regular enemies are subtle enough that you will find yourself picking up new skills and moves fairly naturally. You must master the parry, block and dash moves if you plan to inflict any damage during fights later on in the game. There is no room for dumb luck in the later parts of this game.
One thing Eastern Excorcist does really well is reward you for being patient. Timing is critical when it comes to attacking, and when executed correctly it gives the combat a deeply satisfying flow.
As well as the standard combat moves, you also accumulate mystical exorcism arts that can be unlocked over time. Some of these arts activate automatically during combat, while others need to be activated manually.
Adding to the ever-increasing list of moves to remember is the ‘Dispel’ move. This is where the ‘Excorcist’ side of things comes in. The fight isn’t over once you have downed an enemy, you still need to ‘dispel’ it, sending it back from whence it came. Failing to dispel an enemy in time will see it heal up and start attacking you all over again. This fun little mechanic adds a layer of urgency to the combat, learning when to correctly time a dispel move before moving onto the next enemy will ensure you are not trapped fighting the same 5 monsters over and over again.
Graphics / Art
This is where the game really stands out from others in this genre because Eastern Exorcist art is all hand-drawn in the Chinese ink painting style. I’m not just talking about the backgrounds either, the combat moves have also been lovingly drawn frame-by-frame to deliver a unique, satisfyingly smooth look and feel.
It truly is a joy discovering new areas in this game, each discovery brings a new drawing all of which bring their own energy and mystique to the game.
The game audio is all in Chinese but does have English subtitles. This did make keeping track of characters and plot lines a little difficult as it can be hard to take in what’s on the screen while trying to keep up with the subtitles.
While I guess not technically part of the audio, it is worth mentioning that the translation isn’t perfect, it’s not awful but there is diffidently some room for improvement. The developers have promised that the subtitles will improve signifiantly soon which is great news.
Eastern Exorcist Review
- GAMEPLAY - 72%72%
- GRAPHICS - 85%85%
- AUDIO - 62%62%
Eastern Exorcist is a punishingly difficult game with a steep but fair learning curve. The game rewards you for your patients and will destroy those who try to rush through it. Its beautiful art style and Chinese mythologically inspired storyline make for a unique and enjoyable playthrough.
Not into hack and slash? Then check out our Skater XL Review.