When a new virtual reality game launches, there are always certain expectations to uphold. Monkey King sounds like an excellent game for VR, but the game fails at using the technology properly. That is not a good sign by any means, especially when considering how this game doesn’t warrant virtual reality technology either. It is a fun story, but it doesn’t grip your attention all that well. All things considered, a major disappointment.
Monkey King Feels out of Place too Often
It is not hard to see why VR users would like to play Monkey King on PlayStation VR. Everyone knows the story, as it is a 16th century Chinese novel. Even Dragon Ball Z took a lot of inspiration from this novel. The goal of this game and novel are quite simple: go on a journey to discover yourself and pick up martial arts skills along the way. In this regard, Monkey King would check a lot of right boxes, were it not for its horrible execution.
The one thing keeping this game afloat is the excellent narration and great atmosphere. It is good to see classic novels being translated into digital content both young and old can enjoy. Even if you haven’t heard of the story before, you will have a good time. However, a good story only does so much to support a technically faltering game. None of the elements you are faced with warrant the use of VR technology.
More specifically, if this game was released for PC and consoles without VR component, it would certainly score a lot better. There is no reason to turn this into a VR game, as it doesn’t use the available technology well. In the areas that do require VR interaction, users will be quite frustrated with how the game handles itself. The lack of immersion isn’t helping matters much in this regard. The experience doesn’t incentivize users to look around and explore. It is a linear experience with no variation.
All things considered, Monkey King is more of a VR animation than anything else. Even then, one could easily forget it requires VR support as you will never feel immersed in any way. Visually speaking, some things look great, whereas others look flat in 2D. It is a very mixed bag, but certainly not worth the US$9. 99 price tag. Future releases for the Vive, Rift, Gear VR and other devices will probably not fare much better.
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