From Oasis Games comes Monkey King Hero is back. A game that is a retelling of the Widley famous Chinese tale Into the west, but also a tie in to the animated movie of the same name.
So, can this game pack as much fun and enjoyment as it’s hefty title??
Let’s take a look.
In Monkey king hero is back, we follow the story of Dasheng, who at the start of the game has been frozen for abusing his power, rebelling the heavens, becoming a self-professed god and inciting a war. Wow, no wonder this guy was frozen!
You are awoken from your long 500 year entombment by a boy and his little sister accidentally stumbling onto the block of ice you were encased in causing it to crack, break and awake you. The boy is then attacked by some crocodile-like enemies as you are waking up. You then are in control of Dasheng having to beat up the enemies. Once this is over back to a cutscene where the boy introduces himself as Lieur and a deity tells you that you must do good in order to free your magical bindings and restore your powers. The good being that you must save the children that have been taken from a local village to be used in a life-threatening ritual. At its core, this scene plays out as an introduction to a typical hero’s story. Dasheng being the down and out protagonist, and the deity as the wizard-like character setting out the hero’s journey.
Now if this seems familiar to you in video games it’s because this tale of into the west has been used before in Alex Garland’s Enslaved: Odyssey into the west. However, that iteration was much more Intune with a science fiction adaptation of the tale whereas this is more grounded to the 16th-century novel’s roots. Having found out that this game and Enslaved were based on the same story, I was very interested to see where monkey king would take its direction. I like a game with character development, and to see that the main protagonist as a disgraced king that had to redeem himself spelt a good character developing story for me. Yet I may have been a bit too ambitious with this one as there is little to no character development for Dashengs character. He remained pretty much the same grumpy guy with a little nice side to him as he did at the start of the game.
Moving onto the gameplay.
Monkey king is at its core a simple beat em up. You are approached by an enemy, you mash the attack button and you take that enemy down. Boss battles are where more skill comes into play. Still more of the same but incorporating having to dodge attacks by jumping out of the way and using spells. Spells can summon staffs, Kung Fu chairs, allowing you to see your enemies health bar etc. This varied the fight sequences up a bit as the only attacks you can do are light and heavy attacks. My only issue during an attack sequence was that the movement was slow, especially in jumping to dodge an attack. You expect fast-paced movement in attacks, so to be met with slow movement added to the frustration of taking a hit that should have been dodged.
The game is graphically stunning. Honestly from the gameplay and the cutscenes I couldn’t tell the two apart. The character models are well designed, the locations and set pieces are beautiful to look at. Overall a very colourful looking game. Which is why it’s so unfortunate that this is all the game has going for it in my opinion. The sound design is dynamic. The voice acting, on the other hand, is not much to be desired.
Unfortunately, my experience of Monkey King Hero Is Back was not as enjoyable as I hoped it would be. From a short playthrough time of only 7 hours, basic combat, long drawn out walking sequences and poor voice acting. Monkey king hero back has more outweighing it from being a better game, even with gorgeous graphics. That’s why I’m giving Monkey King Hero is Back a 4/10.
Monkey King Hero is back is available for £34.99 now on the PSN Store.
- Developers: HexaDrive, Sony Interactive Entertainment, SIE Japan Studio
- Publishers: Sony Interactive Entertainment, OASIS GAMES LIMITED
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Microsoft Windows
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