Wuthering Waves may be able to solve one of the biggest problems in Genshin Impact, and the gacha genre at large
5 mins read

Wuthering Waves may be able to solve one of the biggest problems in Genshin Impact, and the gacha genre at large

I’m not afraid to say it – I’ve spent both an unhealthy amount of time and an shameful amount of money on gacha games. I’m not talking 1000+, thankfully. But I’m not too far off. It’s therefore an unfortunate reality for some of the big hitters in the gacha space like Genshin Impact or Honkai Star Rail that spending money on the right characters can end up trivializing content. Wuthering Waves may just fix that.

Because Wuthering Waves gets third-person action combat right. It’s not floaty, weightless, or more bark than bite. Wuthering Waves feels awesome to play. This will come as no surprise to those familar with the developer’s last game – Punishing Grey Raven. A oft-forgotten action romp that is genuine eye candy. I’m serious – YouTube it.

I do like a lot of these gacha games but after 100 hours or so, I’m totally uninterested in a lot of the combat. It just hasn’t got that oomph to it. It’s not got that punch I want. Having gotten my hands on Wuthering Waves, I may have found a cure to my downtrodden attitude.

I was given access to the game’s base roster and those I messed around with were wonderful. Similarly to other games like it, Wuthering Waves encourages you to swap between your team to weave in cooldowns the moment they come up. What’s better here is dedicated swap-in attacks that are equal parts stylish as they are devastating. I hope I’m painting a good enough picture here – the combat is that feeling when you catch a falling glass just before it hits the ground, digitized.

Wuthering Waves world official image
All of this in a stylish, modern setting that pleases the eye. | Image credit: Kuro Games

So, the game places these radical tools in your hands. What are you meant to do with them? Well, with the player able to go wild, it’s only fair that the game offers challenges suiting such a force. Wuthering Waves has open world bosses that actually require you to turn your brain on. We’re talking fast and wide-reaching attacks that will clap your damage carries if you’re not careful. Wuthering Waves isn’t afraid to put your team and your skills to the test. It’s not, say, Elden Ring, but it’s not far off.

During my demo I fought a single world boss. You see these in other open world games like Genshin – dedicated arenas where you can summon a big monster for certain upgrade materials. Unlike big random cubes that act as simple element checks, however, Wuthering Waves threw something actually substantial at me. The game even came with Lost Odyssey-style attack indicators, allowing you to time dodges to the moment an enemy is about to strike for a slow motion slip and ample time to counter attack.

Now, lets get the elephant in the room out of the way. Yes, I am a person writing a video game article on the internet. Yes, there is a difficulty-related stereotype attached to such a person. I am well aware, thank you. Before you ask to see me do a Deathless run of Dark Souls or challenge me to a first-to-five in Tekken 8, I’d like to emphasize that Kuro Games’ approach to difficulty here is a brilliant aspect of the game. During my short time previewing it at GDC 2024, I was thouroughly engaged.

A red-headed woman with elf ears smirks at the camera, holding a whip, with some underside cleavage exposed.
You can’t argue with that aesthetic. | Image credit: Kuro Games

This emphasis on a base level of difficulty – a respect for the player’s skills – is great as it means even if you get your hands on a variety of rare characters and juice ’em up at the expense of your time and/or wallet, the game will continue to demand your attention. The idea of an autoplay button here is laughable here. And this was just like your average bozo boss out in the open world. I crave a glimpse at the devious encounters the Kuro Games team has in store.

This is just a part of Wuthering Waves’ appeal, the bit that stood out most to me from a relatively short preview session on a laptop in a convention centre. There’s a lot more to love here, too. The game blends striking colours with darker, more toned-down pallets for a distinct look among its bubblegum bright contemptoraries. Gacha monetization is inherently gross, but Wuthering Waves has one of the more generious approches to that bit. A slot machine that cares? Tommy Hull could never.

A single figure stands looking at the world – a starry night and a rising city – in Wuthering Waves.
The world is your oyster. | Image credit: Kuro Games

Hopefully, with a steady marketing push and a playerbase keen to give it a go, Wuthering Waves can find a healthy community and act as a genuine competitor to some of the genre giants. I reckon the game is solid enough to deserve your time when it eventually launches. When it does, I’m sure hundreds of people will call me a scrub – but until then, mark your calendars.

Wuthering Waves is set to launch on May 22, 2024. It’s coming to PC, iOS, and Android.

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