Welcome to our Monkey King: Hero Is Back review. Based on a film of the same title from the Journey To The West series, Monkey King: Hero Is Back is a game with a story to tell, but is there much else going on? The short answer is no, not really.
- Monkey King: Hero Is Back
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, PC
- Reviewed On: PlayStation 4
- Developer: Oasis Games
- Publisher: THQ Nordic
- Multiplayer: None
- Available: October 17th, 2019
- Price: £34.99 (U.K) $39.99 (U.S)
- Age Rating: PEGI 12 (U.K) T (U.S)
- Review Code Provided
It’s 2019, you’re looking through your system’s game store for something with so much to do and see and as you browse you come across Monkey King: Hero is back and that price tag of £34.99 makes you think this could be an action-packed game, well, unfortunately, that’s very misleading. I’m not going to sit here and say I didn’t enjoy this game, because I did enjoy it, but I am going to say that it’s not worth any more than £20 in my opinion as it’s so damn short and plays like a late PS2/early PS3 game.
What do I mean by late PS2/early PS3 game? Simple really, Monkey King: Hero Is Back is a short (around six hours to complete the story) and very basic game, albeit for myself an enjoyable one. It’s very linear in style, features no side quests, has one playable character, and a very small roster of enemies to beat. These are all things that let the game down.
So why do I enjoy it? You may be wondering. Well I find the story to very well written and as one of companionship between a Monkey, a little boy, and a Pig it really hits the heartstrings, even if the little boy and the Pig are annoying as hell and don’t really do much other than shout monster every five seconds before running off to safety and leaving yours truly to take care of the problem.
I also really enjoy the hack and slash combat of this game, which features your usual hack and slash button-bashing commands but improves on them by adding a one-on-one system and a purge system. The one-on-one system activates when you time your light hit to meet with the light hit of an enemy and when executed properly sees you get into a one-on-one fight with said enemy that sees you bashing square really fast to whoop their butt. The purge system is activated in a similar way, but instead of meeting light attacks the idea is to meet heavy attacks and when successfully executed it sends your enemies flying into the air before being purged into a cloud of purple smoke. During my playthrough of the game, I really found using these methods enhanced the typical hack and slash style so much that it kept it from getting stale too fast.
Dasheng, the Monkey King himself also has access to magic abilities that come in very handy during the game’s boss fights. Each of these abilities is upgradeable by a skill tree system, although in all honesty the skill tree system whilst easy to use, feels too basic and lacks any real depth as if it were just added to meet the demands of someone in a suit.
While there is a fair share of enemies dotted around each level, the overall variety is quite low and you’ll find yourself kicking the butts of enemies that are the same as previous ones albeit with a different color scheme to make things feel a bit different.
On their journey, Dasheng and his two companions, as well as baby An-An, will come across a few different boss fights. Thankfully these bosses all feature different designs and fighting techniques to keep things feeling fresh. These enemies range from a giant angry hog dude to a dragon who wants to test your abilities.
If you’re not a fan of difficult games then you’ll be pleased to know that Monkey King: Hero Is Back is fairly easy. It doesn’t feature an overall life system and has regular checkpoints along the way, although in all honesty you probably won’t die enough times to even notice. The only times I ever died whilst playing were times when I merely neglected to keep a check a check on Dasheng’s health.
Despite its linear approach each level in Monkey King: Hero Is Back features collectibles in the form of scrolls that give out information and Earth Gods, little creatures that can be found hidden in vases, pots, and the ground. Collecting enough Earth Gods allows you to upgrade Dasheng’s overall health, magic capacity and, strength. You’ll also find several materials dotted around the levels and despite being called materials, you don’t do anything with them other than trading them with the game’s merchant in return for medicines, amulets and other items.
The linear approach is by far this game’s biggest letdown as there’s so much potential here that’s not even been looked in to by the developers. Side quests would have been a great addition and would have easily encouraged exploration of the Ancient Chinese settings on offer. Even some sort of puzzles would have been welcome but as it stands the game simply sees you wandering from point A to B with nothing but fights in between.
Overall I did enjoy my time with Monkey King: Hero Is Back, even if there are a lot of negative points made above. I put my enjoyment down to the game’s story and combat system which is admittedly a lot of fun. The letdowns are still there and it’s easy to see that this game fails in a lot of important areas, important areas that really shouldn’t be overlooked in this day and age. Would I recommend buying Monkey King: Hero Is Back? Right now, no, not with its current price tag.
That concludes our Monkey King: Hero Is Back review. To purchase the game for yourself or just to see more information about it check out the links below.