Revenge of the Monkey King vindicates the classic adventure with outdated gameplay and not being finished
I’m stuck in The Crown of Wu. Not because I can’t stop playing, but because it won’t let me move on. Again. If it had happened to me just once, I wouldn’t care. I delete the whole game, start it again (they don’t give you any more options) and try to continue. Occupational hazards. When that happens to you three times, the rest is no longer fun. But what is truly serious is that, even in those times, I am faced with an unfinished game and full of big problems.
Let me be just a little bit subjective, just this once. I write these words with more disappointment than anger. The Crown of Wu is the debut of Red Mountain, who rely on the PlayStation Talents platform to shape and launch their first project. In other words, it should be noted that (despite having its own special editions) it is a modest game. And that is noticeable from the initial bars.
And despite the fact that there are good wickers scattered here and there, neither the game is finished nor its gameplay meets the minimum that we should ask of a current game. Its visual and artistic section plays in its own league and, for all intents and purposes, the controls do not feel good. Even in the face of a curious effort to take advantage of the adaptive triggers on PS5.
A leap back in action-adventure games
That The Crown of Wu Falling into my hands has brought back more memories than the feeling of being in front of something capable of defending itself against current games. Perhaps someone younger would have treated him differently and would directly put his hands to his head.
Deep down, deep down, I see the reflection of those games released before the turn of the millennium in which they neither guided you to advance nor gave you facilities when jumping. In which the narrative did not need to be treated separately, but was integrated between dialogue boxes and illustrations distributed as a collectible. When there was no such dependence on maps and radars.
Those games where the jumping where you don’t fall off the edges carry more weight than the fighting, which in The Crown of Wu end up being clumsy and not well posed enough. Which subtracts even more points from the set, given the need to solve the puzzles, it dispenses (with some exceptions) with those guides and stimuli placed so that we do not get too confused.
Consequently, when it comes to helping the Monkey King on his journey of revenge and claiming his own crown, we are going to be misled a lot. If everything were that, in the end it is a matter of time and observation. When available, search how to advance online. But that’s not how games should work.
But where are we going to despair even more in how the sensations at the controls have been implemented. Something that does not have much defense having been presented The Crown of Wu two years ago.
I wouldn’t mind facing the challenges of The Crown of Wu, which it does, if it weren’t for the way in which it reaches us is accompanied by disastrous physics, various bugs and problems, and elements that unnecessarily stretch the duration of the game. Not by repeating an area until you master it, but by delaying between one attempt and the next.
It is neither a metaphor nor something that is said lightly: The Crown of Wu Not only is it far from offering a visual or design polish in line with what one expects to find after the new millennium, but it also carries vices such as signs or texts that do not disappear until they are eliminated or when they encounter a new scene that never arrives.
And that is another, because it interconnects the story poorly: you enter a dungeon, a wallpaper comes out as a load and you appear inside with the entrance arch destroyed behind you. No explanation or anything. And yet, what deserves a comprehensive review of the game is not what is perceived from the screen, but at the controls.
The true Achilles heel of The Crown of Wu: Wu himself!
The jumping system of Wu, the protagonist, is clumsy. Very clumsy. If we add to this that the level design is designed to be able to cling to the ledges and not have that option, the only thing it achieves is that an area in which you should go first and in a few minutes you choke for an eternity.
Sometimes falling into the void others preventing you from advancing and forcing you to undo your steps and sometimes keeping you limited by cramps or with your feet on sticky ground that further limits your mobility options and eliminates the option of jumping. In others, moreover, that sticky texture leaves you exposed, with no way out and in agony. It dooms your match and your progress and brings you that bland game loading screen for the long and inevitable.
But the worst thing is that this process takes place when you fail a jump while you are spinning until you understand what the purpose of each zone is. Once I acquired the power of thunder, the second of the four available, I have become accustomed to the process of pausing the game and returning to the last save point instead of going through this unnecessary process and prolong what has no reason or sense.
Once the game loads again (on PS5) I desperately stare at the screen looking for something new to do or try before starting over. Which, on the other hand, weighs down an interesting element: despite all its bad decisions, the level design seeks to offer its own atmosphere with interesting sections.
The combat system, in addition, is a calamity. The great purpose of the game is to recover a crown. You find out, above all, after finding monoliths with illustrations that close badly, or collectibles that do not contribute anything to you. But when you try to take on lesser enemies (which are very infrequent) we’re left with a stunted combo pool further limited by a completely unnecessary stamina bar.
If you get stuck you have to know one thing: there are no starting slots. As in games from decades ago, if you are unable to progress due to one circumstance or another, your save data will be overwritten. And from here I confess that I wouldn’t have known how to progress if it weren’t for the fact that one of the bugs allowed me to avoid a badly planned area.
A direct consequence of try to put logic aside and, faced with the impossibility of moving forward, dedicate myself to going around like a monkey until I find the solution. Never better said.
There are two very simple things that I ask of a video game in the middle of 2023: that it be entertaining and that it take the player’s time and dedication seriously. None has to do with its presentation or the budget put into it. The Crown of Wu does not meet any.
The state in which The Crown of Wu It has come to us does not leave much room to offer a different assessment: at the level of presentation, gameplay or design, it is several generations behind what is expected in the systems in which it will be available at launch. His way of stretching out games is more frustrating than challenging. Its plot, which it has, dissolves after the first bars.
From here, I need to establish a totally necessary clarification: I have not been able to finish The Crown of Wu. I can’t even guarantee that it can be finished. When I publish an analysis I make sure to always get to the credits. In this specific case, and after passing the middle of the game (two bugs allowed me to continue advancing) I am very aware that what remains of the game will not improve what already limps and makes you stumble.
The Crown of Wu It is not the best debut that a new study could aspire to. However, if we remove the great tangle of defects, we find ourselves with the initiative of offering an adventure and puzzle game (I directly rule out the action) that is difficult to recommend. Maybe things will improve when a patch or two arrives. When the simple option of being able to grab onto ledges after a jump is added.
But, until then, the latest adventure of the Monkey King in video games is an adventure video game that cuts in the bud with all the lessons that were learned since the days of ps1, whose graphics (removing the scenarios) take me back to the times of pS2 and that I ended up playing on pS5.
Price of The Crown of Wu
Currently it is possible to purchase The Crown of Wu in physical and for PS5 through its Legend Edition for 24.99 euros. The pages on PlayStation and Steam do not show the final price of its digital edition. On the other hand, and according to Meridiem, it is expected that it will also end up coming to Xbox. In any case, it is worth remembering that both PS5 and PC offer an advance in the form of a demo of The Crown of Wu.
The Crown of Wu Legend Edition
- The design of certain levels recovers the essence of platform adventure games from decades ago
- Both in the playable and at the presentation level it is a calamity
- It is unfinished: it has an unreasonable number of bugs and errors