Wukong is pretty, intriguing and as challenging as it looks

Black Myth: Wukong it’s beautiful. It built a lot of momentum that fed trailer after trailer, and this year at Summer Game Fest I finally got to play it. Is it a heavy dose of Chinese mythology or a great tech demo that’s your next gaming challenge?

A Chinese folk tale, Journey to the West, inspired Game Science Studio’s action RPG. You play as a “destined” monkey hero who wields an extended bo-staff and a handful of magic spells. I was given a higher quality (albeit undisclosed) PC rig to play with and it gave all the Unreal Engine 5 eye candy a chance to run smoothly. While less than an hour with a game doesn’t give a definitive answer, Wukong Despite my chaotic playstyle, I ran smoothly. The game was held as a prime example of next-gen graphics technology, so I was relieved that there was no lag during the demo.

I played the relatively early part of the game starting with the Forest of Wolves and Guanyin Temple. I fought a few typical werewolf-humanoid enemies, a larger mid-level boss, and then a giant werewolf creature. Along the way, I unlocked the ability to transform into one of the monsters, summoning their fiery weapon and unlocking new attacks and abilities. In the middle of the demo, the old man with the head like a ginseng root gave me an immobilization spell with his cooldown counter, offering me a brief reprieve against more dangerous enemies like the final giant monster. It also turned me into a bug that could fly over enemies’ heads for a short period of time. This was fun, but it looks like it will only be available at certain points in the game – you won’t be able to dodge all the battles.

However, you won’t get ahead (or even survive long) if you don’t learn the basics. Attacks are divided into light and heavy, with the ability to charge a heavy attack for more powerful hits. You’ll also need to stay on top of your defenses with jumps and runs, given how stamina drains during attacks. Run perfectly and time slows down a bit, you get an extra illusion of yourself and you have to make a few extra moves before the enemy realizes what’s going on.

As you progress, you earn points to unlock new skills from the talent tree, which teases out three worker styles to replace each other. I unlocked the “column” style, so my character could climb to the top of his staff and “zoom” him by holding the power attack button. This way you avoid ground level attacks. However, if enemies hit your squad, your stamina (but not your health) takes a hit.

Releasing the button triggers an extra powerful move that stuns enemies if they stop attacking them. It’s high-risk, high-reward, and like the best action RPGs, there’s nothing more satisfying than getting the timing and movement right. Wukong‘s combat system means you can’t just spam attacks and dodge rolls, as both go through the stamina bar that sits next to your health bar. The identified also carries a refillable health potion, but must take a break to use it. More risk and reward: If you don’t use it in time, you’ll die and be reincarnated minutes down the mountain, having to face (or run past) many of the enemies you’ve already dispatched. As the main backbone of soulslike games Wukong. The combat system seemed responsive, and the biggest challenges came from groups of fighters: I had to combine evasion with prioritizing, for example, the archer before other enemies.

Black Myth: WukongBlack Myth: Wukong

Game Science

All of this is enhanced by how good the environments look, the weird monster design, and the quiet, unsettling soundtrack. The giant monster boss I faced was small potatoes compared to the other enemies the developer had peddled in previous trailers – I want to fight that dragon. While the main character was completely silent during my demo, Game Science, the studio behind the game, says the player will “uncover the stories behind the various characters, understand their love and hate, greed and anger, their past lives and their present.” I’m interested to see how it goes.

Black Myth: Wukong finally, it’s almost here. It will be released on August 20, 2024 on PC and PS5.

Find out all the news from Summer Game Fest 2024 here!

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