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black myth: wukong

Black Myth: Wukong

A Classic Tale Retold
by Alex Van Aken on Jun 16, 2024 at 08:06 PM

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Platform PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Publisher Game Science
Developer Game Science
Release
Rating Mature

Black Myth: Wukong is an action role-playing game that closely follows the events of Wu Cheng’en’s seminal novel Journey to the West. The work, based on Chinese mythology and Buddhist folklore, follows a monk who meets a spirit called Sun Wukong, often called Monkey King, during his search for sacred religious texts. While its central narrative is still unknown, Game Science’s upcoming Soulslike depicts Wukong’s encounters with Yaoguai, various creatures and demons in Chinese myth, set within stunning Eastern landscapes.

My hands-on demo begins at the base of Black Wind Mountain’s summit, in a place called the Forest of Wolves, populated with rich greenery, alpine trees, and all manner of wind-weathered stones and shrines. The path to the top is guarded by scattered groups of foxes and wolf-like humanoids who wield axes, shields, and bows. While these enemies aren’t challenging, they serve as great punching bags to learn combat fundamentals like dodging, charged-up staff techniques, and early spells like Immobilize, which freezes enemies in place for a burst-attack opportunity.

Black Myth: Wukong Release Date Trailer:

Wukong’s primary weapon is a bō staff, referred to as Ruyi Jingu Bang in the inspirational literature, which he can shrink down to the size of a needle for safe-keeping inside his ear. The Monkey King commands an arsenal of weapon combos, including the ability to charge up Jingu Bang to pool together Focus Points, which allow him to unleash flashy heavy strikes. While you can’t store the Focus Points you acquire by charging his weapon – Wukong automatically attacks as you release the button – you can store up focus points to use later in the fight by landing enough light attacks on an enemy. Learning the timing of these weapon flourishes and how to use them alongside your growing library of mystic spells is critical to success against large opponents like the game’s many bosses.

While there are at least half a dozen optional and required bosses in the Forest of Wolves, I spend my time challenging two of its more difficult adversaries. The first is a flame-spear-wielding wolf named Guangzhi, who rushes me down and overwhelms me with flame-bending sweeps and dashes. After beating him on my fourth attempt, which I manage to do by relying on my immobilization spell’s cooldown, Guangzhi drops his double-tipped spear, called Red Tides, which slots into one of Wukong’s empty spell slots rather than replacing his magical staff. Upon activating the ability, Wukong momentarily transforms into the wolf I just defeated, allowing me to wield the boss’ fiery powers to inflict Scorch Bane, a status effect that sets enemies on fire and deals damage over time. Notably, Wukong’s health pool is separate from the Yaoguai he embodies, making this new ability a great tactic to use when low on health against Black Wind Mountain’s ravenous bosses.

I run past another optional boss – a gargantuan humanoid with a disproportionate golden head – and maneuver a bamboo-laden mountain ridge, finally making it to my destination: the Guanyin Temple, which is home to Lingxuzi, a building-sized canine appointed by a mysterious character known as the Black Wind King. The towering white wolf jumps in the air, scaling the entirety of the arena in a few seconds, and gets a taste of my blood after a swift strike. While Lingxuzi licks his lips, I freeze him in place and begin a flurry of light attacks and focused heavy strikes. Of course, this is a Soulslike, so I end up dying multiple times, slowly memorizing the Yaoguai’s movements and tactics over the course of roughly five attempts. When I finally triumph, I equip a rare wolf mask I loot from Lingxuzi’s corpse, granting me a damage buff against critically wounded enemies.

Black Myth: Wukong seems to present a compelling world of striking character designs, boss fights requiring skill mastery, and gorgeous environments. I eagerly await the game’s release, not simply for its excellent combat and promising character building, but to experience its take on the prominent Chinese folk tale.

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Black Myth: Wukongcover

Black Myth: Wukong

Platform:
PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X/S, PC
Release Date:
August 20, 2024 (PlayStation 5, PC), 
TBA (Xbox Series X/S)