The steps forward that the Chinese and Korean gaming industry have made in the space of a few years are prodigious. Although the vast majority of titles developed in the two Asian countries still leave a lot to be desired, more and more products are able to leave even the Western public speechless and stir up players in every corner of the planet. Following the example of Lost Soul Aside, which after three years of silence returned to show itself in the spotlight last April (for all the details, read our preview of Lost Soul Aside), and of Ultra Age, which the next 9 September will be launched simultaneously worldwide (here you will find our preview of Ultra Age instead), the task of stealing the show from more noble productions has finally fallen to Black Myth: WuKong. Officially announced twelve months ago, the mythology-inspired action RPG of Journey to the West last August inebriated our senses with heart-pounding gameplay sequences and spectacular transformations, immediately earning our undivided attention.
As promised in recent days, Game Science has released a new 12-minute gameplay video online, allowing us to admire the feats of the product which, according to what has been revealed, it will take advantage of Unreal Engine 5 and NVIDIA DLSS support (a state-of-the-art AI rendering technology that dramatically boosts graphics performance and leverages a deep learning neural network to generate sharp images and boost frame rates). By inviting you to consult our previous preview of Black Myth: WuKong to learn about the works to which the title is clearly inspired, it is time to put the adrenaline-fueled combat system under review.
The warrior monkey
Recorded in real time in Unreal Engine 5, the astonishing Black Myth: WuKong gameplay video just released by Game Science opens with a rather cryptic scene, during which an arrogant voiceover seems to predict the meltdown of his unspecified interlocutors: a group which, according to the rumor, claims to act in the name of humanity and a great cause, but which in reality is driven solely by vanity and frivolous obsessions.
Although we do not know the identity of the narrator, the aforementioned sequence could be one of the initial scenes of the adventure, as this culminates with a very particular event: preserved in an old deposit of disused statues, a chilling sculpture depicting a demon species suddenly comes to life and dissolves, letting the protagonist WuKong appear in his place. It is therefore possible that the warrior with ape-like features was at some point sealed, in a very similar way to what happened to the king of primates Sun WuKong in the aforementioned Journey to the West: in the text, in fact, the Buddha punished the monkey for his arrogance by burying him for about 500 years under the Wu Zhi Shan mountain (also known as the “Mountain of the Five Elements”), so that he would have the time to reflect on his actions and acquire both patience and humility.
The scene then shifts to a stunning snow-capped mountain, where we learn that WuKong, sneaking in during snowstorms, will be able to attack enemies from behind and make them fall with a silent and therefore completely unexpected blow of the stick. The wonderful mountain environments, however, will hide dangers and adversaries of all kinds, such as a spiteful as well as combative old primate. The warrior, who at first glance looks like a miniboss, will in fact be able to move very quickly and use a long sword to launch deadly blows against the intrepid WuKong.
If last time we were impressed by the vast and varied moveset of the protagonist, who if necessary can take shots in any direction (leaving a residual image behind), avoid incoming attacks with timely somersaults or resort to the Nyoibo magic stick to ringing combos on increasingly spectacular, frenzied and complex combos, the new build suggests that even enemies will have a wide range of rather furious and fearful attacks at their disposal.
The primate near the temple, for example, will perform in long and violent combos based on the use of the sword, and once cornered can even distract the opponent with a very nice feint: close to running out of HP, always indicated. through the special bar at the bottom of the screen, the joker monkey in fact, she will tend to beg WuKong to spare her life, so as to push less farsighted users to let their guard down and slice them in two with a very quick slash an instant later. A rather nice and tasty expedient that says a lot about the care taken by Game Science in the diversification and characterization of bosses and minibosses.
The guardian of the lake
Without detracting from the clash with the primate, the most interesting part of the new gameplay video is however the second, where we first learn that WuKong – which we remember will have 72 different transformations available – it can also turn into a bat to take flight and chase other winged beasts, such as the disturbing eagle with a human head and able to speak. It will be precisely the prolonged chase in the rocky mountains to anticipate one of the most sensational boss fights to show so far, or the very heated clash with a solemn Chinese dragon that we had previously only seen in passing.
Spinning sinuously near a castle overlooking a frozen lake, the mythological creature will give players a lot of trouble, who will have to beware of a succession of deadly attacks: endowed with the power of thunder, if they face the majestic and In fact, the charming boss will tend to hurl numerous electric shocks at WuKong, while at close range he will use his mighty paws to crush anyone who dares to invade his territory. With the half life bar, however, the white dragon will give all its strength to disrupt a large surrounding area with an authentic electric breath or worse yet. unleash a violent lightning storm. Two attacks as spectacular as they are fearsome, which can be avoided with the right reflexes and a pinch of imagination. As in the Chinese novel, the Nyoibo stick used in battle by WuKong will have the ability to lengthen and shorten as needed, and in this case the monkey will be able to use it to hang in mid-air and return to the ground only after having averted the danger. .
Always the stick will allow the warrior to try his hand at imaginative and lightning fast acrobatic assaults, thanks to which users will be able to damage the mighty mythical beast with an exhilarating solution of continuity and at the same time avoid being overwhelmed by its blows. Also because, although the procedure is not yet completely clear, it would seem that the Nyoibo can be temporarily enhanced, in order to cause as much damage as possible to the enemy on duty or in any case to block incoming attacks through rotation.
It should also be emphasized that, similarly to what happened in NiOh, the stick attack patterns will change according to the selected grip, guaranteeing a certain versatility and the possibility of adopting a different tactic at any time, perhaps based on the characteristics and behavior of the opponent.
After the dispute with the Chinese dragon, the third and last part of this amazing gameplay video has called on the scene a rich selection of challengers, once again confirming the presence of a variegated and artistically inspired bestiary. From anthropomorphic beasts to warrior monks, without forgetting the often incomprehensible colossal creatures or the bizarre severed head able to breathe fire from the mouth, all the beings we meet in Black Myth: WuKong will have personality to sell and unique attacks, as well as capable of seriously putting to test the reaction times of the monkey and therefore of the players. In this regard, our hope is that the imaginative attack patterns of the enemies proposed by the action RPG are accompanied by an always satisfying and high challenge rate, similar to what happens in soulslike.
This second date with Black Myth: WuKong further suggests that the world could be interconnected and layered as that of Sekiro (for all the details on the title of FromSoftware, see the review of Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice), also because certain arenas destined to welcome the boss fights would be said to be literally immense.
What is certain is that the use of Unreal Engine 5 and NVIDIA DLSS support has allowed the Game Science guys to create sensational landscapes overflowing with details, which already at present give Black Myth: WuKong a shot. enviable eye and – at least in the Chinese videogame panorama – unprecedented. The studio has specified that it is still experimenting with the new Epic Games engine, which is why the build just shown is just a test.
But yet, the leap in quality is impressive and bodes well for the final yield of the product. Still lacking a launch window, Black Myth: WuKong will debut on “PC and all major consoles” only when the Asian developer is fully satisfied with the result achieved: let’s hope that Sun WuKong won’t have to wait for 500 years again. before you can set off.