I just finished playing Gujian 3 and wow, what an experience that was.

I can’t remember where I first heard of this game. Someone somewhere said to check it out and I ended up picking it up on a Steam sale for $15 which was quite the steal.

The game is an action RPG that I’ve seen described as a Musou game but I’m not sure if it really is. It’s made by a Chinese studio and the story and aesthetic is heavily based on Chinese mythology.

Here’s the official trailer for the game:

I’m going to break down all the different elements of the game in this review but there will be some minor spoilers. I’ll do my best to keep those to a minimum though.

If you’re worried about spoilers at all then the tldr of this review is go get it right now and play it. It’s amazing, goes on sale regularly and should easily give you 50+ hours of great gameplay.

Gujian 3 screenshot

The Story

The story is very Chinese which may be a pro or a con depending on how you think since there are a bunch of concepts and story beats that might seem a bit weird to Western audiences. Don’t let that scare you away though.

Like I mentioned before the story is heavily influenced by Chinese mythology and basically follows the main character Beilou (a Fey beast, kind of like a powerful monster in human form from the spirit realm), a teenage human girl, a crazy nightmare monster that invades people’s dreams but is actually good and in the form of a woman and a dream version of a person from hundreds of years in the past. It’s quite a cast of characters.

Your main antagonist is a human wizard (not exactly a wizard but that’s probably the simplest way to put it without going into more detail) who died hundreds of years earlier and has resurrected as some evil zombie-like creature. He’s also got a zombie vulture thing as a sort of humorous sidekick that’s a lot of fun.

The story takes you through different areas of the Spirit Realm, the mortal human world and people’s dreams. The dream stuff is pretty interesting and some of the most unique environments and sequences take place there.

The dream stuff almost reminded me of Final Fantasy X. If you’ve played both FFX and Gujian 3 you should know exactly what I’m talking about.

There’s also Inception level stuff were you’re going into dreams within dreams 3 or 4 levels deep.

The story is also told through events happening in 3 different points in time, events that happened thousands of years in the past, events that happened hundreds of years in the past and what’s happening in the present.

You see cutscenes from these 3 different timelines and also play through sequences in each one. It doesn’t make sense at first but everything comes together beautifully in the end and your questions are all answered.

The conclusion is satisfying too and I won’t say much else about that other than they totally copied Metal Gear Solid 3 for the final fight location.

The game also has a cute animal sidekick character named Persimmon who’s surprisingly awesome and not annoying.

Gujian 3 Skyelk Screenshot

The World and Graphics

This game has some of the most beautiful locations to explore that I’ve ever seen in a video game. You start off in the Amber Fields a beautiful sort of fall-themed area of the Spirit Realm and are quickly introduced to Skyelk an amazing heavenly city in the Spirit Realm.

Skyelk is probably the most beautiful looking city I’ve ever seen in a video game.

The mortal human world also has some amazing locations as well such as a flower themed spring city built around a lake full of beautiful flower trees and gardens. There’s also an incredible mountain location near the end of the game that looks like those mountains you see in Chinese paintings.

When you enter the dream world you get some very interesting and creative areas as well such as a whole world designed like an ancient Chinese stage play where everything is paper props and you can enter the backgrounds and move around in 2D.

The game was originally released in 2018 and still looks really good today. A large part of that is because the art direction is so good and everything is designed to look beautiful. Even caves and some of the more “Evil” areas in the game look great.

All of the main characters look great although the side characters and NPCs don’t have as much detail and can have some stiff animations.

Other than that though I was quite impressed with the graphics.

Graphically I did notice some weird things though. In the graphic settings there’s no option for 4k. I’ve seen some YouTuber’s have captured footage in 4k but I couldn’t figure out a mod or any way to force the game to run in 4k.

The highest option here is 2560×1440 and even that runs slightly lower than that for some reason. If you select 2560×1440 resolution the game actually runs in 2496×1404 for some reason and I was never able to figure out why. Not really a huge deal though.

I ultimately played most of the game in 1080p though and found that both 1080p and the 1440p option ran fantastic on my NVidia RTX 2070 with full 60 fps with all the settings on max. There was a little bit of frame rate slowdown in the major cities but nothing major.

Gujian 3 Gameplay Screenshot

The Gameplay

Gujian 3 is an action RPG and I should probably note here that it was originally designed for keyboard and mouse controls although there is controller support now. I played with a controller so I’ll be describing how that works.

As you run throughout the world you’ll encounter enemies which you can see on the map. Running into them will trigger a battle, your characters all pull out their weapons and you fight in real time on the same map. No separate battle screens or anything like that.

You have two face buttons for light and strong attacks and depending on the order you press those you can chain together combos.

As you use strong and light attacks you build up a meter to level 1, 2 and then 3. You can assign 4 skills to the face buttons and use them when you hold a trigger and then one of the 4 face buttons. Some skills only require that meter to be at level 1 while some require it to be 2 or 3.

So the basic attack pattern is to hit away with weak faster attacks or strong slower attacks, build up that meter and then use the skills as soon as they’re available.

I’d almost compare it to the system in the FFVII remake where you use regular attacks to build the ATB gauge and then use a skill when it maxes out.

You also have a dodge button to avoid attacks that you’ll be using a lot and a guard/parry button. If you press that at the right time you’ll parry an enemy’s attack and counter attack them. If you hold it down you’ll activate a shield that reduces damage.

Both the shield and the dodge depletes your stamina meter which replenishes when you’re not doing either of those things.

Attacking doesn’t deplete the stamina meter though which is nice.

You have other party members as well and they’re all A.I. controlled although you can use team skills and customize them a bit. I never had any issues with them being stupid or anything. They were always quite helpful.

When you’re not fighting you’re exploring the beautiful world, interacting with NPCs in towns, gathering items from gather points, etc. All standard sort of RPG stuff.

You have a button to press that sends out a wave and highlights everything nearby that you can pick up which is nice. There are some chests but a lot of items you can pick up aren’t super obvious without that.

Gujian 3 Desert Night Screenshot

Sound and Music

The game has excellent sound effects and an amazing soundtrack full of traditional Chinese music. I was really impressed with the soundtrack and highly recommend checking it out.

It’s also available to buy on steam.

You can listen to some samples of the soundtrack below (those videos also do a nice job highlighting some of the environments):

All of the cutscenes are completely voiced including a lot of NPC dialog. Everything is only voiced in Mandarin though which is cool because I’ve never played a game in Mandarin before but just be aware that there’s no English voice option.

Everything in the game is completely translated and subtitled in English though so don’t worry about that.

Gujian 3 Amber Reach Screenshot

Sidequests and Minigames

There are a ton of sidequests you can pick up throughout the game as well. Each area has a quest board where quests get posted and talking to NPCs will unlock quests as well.

Your map highlights where quests are available quite nicely too.

Most of the side quests are basically bring this person X items or go out and fight a specific monster. A few of them are a bit more detailed but there’s nothing on the same level as say the Witcher 3 here.

They’re basically just an extra way to earn experience, coins and items.

There’s a lot of mini games and side activities as well. A surprising amount actually and they’re all really fleshed out.

First of all there’s a fishing minigame where you can catch fish in a variety of different locations through the world. I’ve actually put together a pretty detailed guide to the fishing here.

Gujian 3 Desert Screenshot

Then there’s a whole card game where you can challenge different NPCs and win rare cards.

This game is a bit weird but I still really enjoyed it despite not really knowing how to make the combos.

Basically you all share the same sort of deck. You have a hand of cards and a bunch of cards in the middle that you and your opponent can select from.

The cards themselves are all people or objects from past Gujian games, I think. They’re divided into 4 seasons.

On your turn you select a card from your hand match it to one of the same season in the middle. Both those cards go into a pile on your side and you get points. Where it gets interesting though is each card combos with one or more other cards and if you already have those cards in your pile you’ll get combos and more points.

I never really did learn what card combos with what so every time I basically just tried to match cards that combo-ed with the most amount of other cards and that strategy won me the game most of the time.

When you beat NPCs for the first time you can win a rare care and add a bunch of them to your deck. They all have special abilities although I never found they made much of a difference.

Overall it’s a fun little card game despite me never figuring it out fully.

I was also very surprised that they completely copied Captain Toad Treasure Tracker and made a whole series of those levels where you play as Persimmon while he’s dreaming. It’s a completely bonus side thing that I almost missed.

During these levels you gather persimmons that can be traded in for lore entries in the encyclopedia that further explain the characters and the world.

They also completely copied Mario Party and have a whole multiplayer version of that in there too. I didn’t really have anyone to play with so I can’t say much about this.

Then there’s the Lotuscape which deserves its own section in this review.

Lotuscape Screenshot

The Lotuscape

The Lotuscape is a sort of home base you can return to at any time in the game. It’s located in the dream world and it’s where you do all your crafting and a bunch of other stuff.

You have a crafting workshop where you can make new equipment, items and cook food. Since this is a Chinese game cooking food is very important and they put a lot of care into all the different food recipes and models (Eating food gives you buffs during battle and you feed it to people working in the Lotuscape).

During the game you recruit artisans such as blacksmiths, chefs, tailors, carpenters, etc. and use them to craft and research items for you.

There’s a whole separate mini game for researching new crafting recipes and we’ve put together a whole research guide here.

You can also recruit “Pact Creatures” which are monsters you encounter in the world and put them to work gathering fish, mining, exploring (we’ve got a guide on exploration too) and farming to gather you more crafting materials faster.

The gathering is on a timer so every half hour or so while you’re playing you’ll want to pop back into the Lotuscape, get your new materials, re-assign your pact creatures and craft new things that become available.

It’s a very nice interruption and I spent a ton of time in here.

You can also customize it, upgrade the facilities, decorate a yard with new buildings, plants and architecture and make the whole thing your own.

Yanling Screenshot


I really don’t have much negative to say about this game. Everything is overwhelmingly positive but I do have a few minor nitpicks.

First of all this game does have missable quests, story bits and items. There’s one quest where you’re going through a cave trying to find 5 notes a person left behind. I found 4 of them no problem and searched very carefully. The fifth one only appears after a certain cutscene in an area where I had already searched. You can never return to that area so this quest I was never able to complete.

It also appears that I talked to two characters in the wrong order at one point and missed out on a quest later in the game that did contain some story lore.

So if this sort of thing bothers you look up a list of what’s missable before you play.

The game is also translated by people who don’t have English as a first language so a lot of the word choices and language is kind of odd. Like the game constantly talks about “Trigrams” which I think means something like a magic spell but I’m still not 100% sure.

It also describes all these spirit creatures as “Feys” which I actually think is a perfect word. If you’re familiar with legends about Fey Folk and whatnot you’ll probably agree but word choices like that may seem kind of weird to English speaking players.

Mountain screenshot

In Conclusion

So basically I was very impressed with this game. The world was a joy to explore, the story was very different from anything I’ve played before and super interesting and the gameplay was great.

No part overstayed it’s welcome. The pacing throughout the game is great. There are plenty of side activities that are also great (I don’t usually like minigames) and the characters are a lot of fun, especially Persimmon. Usually I’d hate cute animal sidekick characters but Persimmon was especially well done.

If you see this game on sale on Steam there’s basically no excuse to not pick it up and play it. Regular price is still like $20- $30 depending on your region and at that price it’s still a steal.

I had a great time and when a Gujian 4 eventually comes out I’ll probably be buying that right away.