First impressions on Where Winds Meet: an epic open-world adventure that combines action with Chinese lore
We got to see Everstone's upcoming title in action and we're excited.
One of my favourite games of the last generation was undoubtedly Ghost of Tsushima. Everything in that title (setting, first class graphics, a powerful story with a world that felt alive and vibrant) and its fabulous combat dazzled me from the first minute to the very end of the adventure. And the fact is that the oriental tradition is a recurring vein among video games from the Japanese and Asian regions, but it is not so often that they find the embrace of the general public outside their borders. Sucker Punch did it impeccably respecting the history and veracity of the samurai world, and now Everstone Games seems to have something similar with the Chinese tradition in Where Winds Meet.
I don't like to start some impressions talking about another game that is not the protagonist, but I think that in this case the comparison (or rather the parallels and sensations) fit perfectly, because watching and trying the demo of Where Winds Meet I had the same feeling as when I took control of Jin Sakai for the first time.
Where Winds Meet is an open-world action-adventure title whose story is set at the end of the 10 Kingdoms period and the end of the Tang Dynasty. We embody a nameless swordsman who must face and take part in a world in conflict. Will he be a defender of the downtrodden, or the champion of death and destruction of the region? That's up to you.
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Where Winds Meet takes a lot of inspiration from Chinese and Hong Kong martial arts cinema, as we saw in its first trailer a few years ago. The development of the title has remained relatively silent until this Gamescom, and the first thing I encountered on my first walkthrough was a formidable (almost monstrous) enemy with whom I engaged in a fight worthy of a boss in God of War. I won't exactly go so far as to mention that the combat is like FromSoftware's titles, but it's true that some of the movement and dodging and counter-attacks also benefited from their legacy. But Where Winds Meet drinks much more from the Wuxia genre and martial arts, such as wall walking (and air!), ultra-fast combos with classic weapons and the use of Chi. Each weapon type has its own move set, range and progression, but you can switch between them both in and out of combat. In addition, the team told us that we could learn special techniques from individuals from all over the region, another reason to explore every nook and cranny.
Fast travel is a thing of the past, as by choosing a specific progression skill we can even fly through the air (again, in true martial arts movie style) and move around a gigantic map divided into various regions and biomes. I'm not sure if I got to see it in full on the menu, but it's very extensive. And every part of it feels alive with animals, NPCs, vegetation and good worldbuilding. Although it is a work very inspired by classical Chinese history, there are certain touches of folklore and fantasy that you can perceive in certain enemies, buildings and (logically) in the powers of the protagonist.
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Where Winds Meet can be enjoyed alone or in multiplayer. This second mode is completely free, and allows you to establish alliances, communicate with other players and challenge them in duels. I was not able to experience this aspect of the game, but the studio says that it will be a choice that we can make and revert at any time during the game.
Everything I saw and heard, as I said at the beginning, immersed me fully in this upcoming title that will presumably arrive as Early Access in 2024. I was told that depending on the reception they would consider bringing the title to more platforms, and I can only wish them luck with that. I'm looking forward to playing Where Winds Meet next year, and I think it was one of the best demos I experienced at Gamescom 2023.