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    jp's Monkey King: Hero is Back (PS4)

    [January 18, 2023 06:04:15 PM]
    To my surprise I kept on playing to the end. Probably something like 10 hours in total?

    This is such a strange game - though I did learn that apparently it's a movie tie-in. This explains a lot actually, because the game's production values and art design are really good. It's the gameplay that's surprisingly lacking in polish (jumping continues to be my bane in this game). That being said, as I played more I decided to dip in and try some of the magic spell stuff, and yes, it was fun. Luckily for me the game wasn't too challenging, but it was hard enough to keep my attention and the more I played the better I felt I got - counters, etc. So, I got better at all the timing-related combat stuff, which felt good.

    I thought the final boss was particularly fun. It's not really a challenge - at this point in the game you've the Monkey King is back, having lost the last chain, and a giant weird worm-rock-monster thing with legs appears and you fight it. But, you're basically immune and so you're sort of floating in air doing attacks all to charge up some super attack. Every now and then the monster swallows you and you button-mash and wiggle the stick, and an animation plays that's really funny (you're seeing the monster from the outside and you're like bouncing around inside it, like a cartoon). Then you hit the super attack and the game ends - with cut-scenes, credits and more cut-scenes.

    In addition to flaky jumping and general repetitiveness of the gameplay, one of the more annoying things is that once you meet him you're accompanied by this pig-man general. He's always there but conveniently disappears when you start fighting, has no trouble with the platforming (often just disappears in a cloud and re-appears once you've made it to the next ledge, for e.g.). It felt a bit lame to have a sidekick that was supposedly useful but useless in practice. It's a minor quibble - and I'm guessing that implementing additional behaviors and whatnot was out of the dev time scope, but still.

    Either way, I'm glad I played it!
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    [December 22, 2022 11:51:26 PM]
    Huh. Well this one has been a nice surprise.

    I'll admit I was intrigued by the back of the box and the fact that I'd never heard of it, and I was fully expecting to get bored quickly and to move on. BUT, this game is remarkably more polished and interesting than I was expecting. It's basically a brawler set in ancient/mythological China and you play as the Monkey King. He's been punished and must now do good things to get a chain thing removed from his wrist.

    Combat is basically two attacks: light and heavy. BUT, if you attack at the right moment you enter a 1:1 fight which (so far) is basically button mashing to take out the opponent. What's interesting is that while you're in 1:1, other enemies can't/don't attack (the game says so!). There's also spells and magic abilities, but I've only used these out of combat. I'll probably have to start using them as the difficulty ramps up, but that hasn't been necessary so far. The game's pretty and has an interesting art style - sort of Ghibli-color but there were some cut-scenes that were more anime style?

    Interesting things to me:

    1. The areas are littered with materials you pick up and then trade into an old lady for potions and consumables. At first I thought that this was a disaster because there were so many items to find, but it seems that certain items are used for certain consumables and there's very little overlap. You can use suckier ones to make better items, for the corresponding better consumables. It makes the game look like it has complexity, without having it - and it adds variety, which I thought was nice.

    2. It's not all combat! There are these monsters you can sneak around and if you do you can pull a paper from their face (spell? I forget what they're called) and save yourself the fight.

    3. The game has "walking cut-scenes" (a la Uncharted) which I thought was interesting...not the cut-scenes themselves, but the design pattern.

    On the not so exciting side:

    1. At least all of the game I've played so far has some nice Chinese music - but the song's really short and it loops and I'm just tired of it.

    2. You have NPC companions that just follow along - but they often get in the way. You walk into a corner and they follow you right up the corner and then you get stuck for a little trying to get out.
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    jp's Monkey King: Hero is Back (PS4)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Wednesday 14 December, 2022

    GameLog closed on: Wednesday 18 January, 2023

    jp's opinion and rating for this game

    No comment, yet.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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