Wuthering Waves Review | PC

Is Wuthering Waves the Genshin killer?

By nine_toes, Posted 21 Jun 2024

Wuthering Waves, a free-to-play open-world action RPG with gacha mechanics, burst onto the scene in May 2024. Comparisons to Genshin Impact were inevitable due to the shared open-world exploration and character-collecting elements. However, Wuthering Waves quickly carved its path with a focus on a fast-paced, strategic combat system that centers around character swapping and combo execution. This review delves deep into what makes Wuthering Waves unique, exploring its combat mechanics, open-world design, narrative, gacha system, and the endgame content waiting for dedicated players.

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Developer Kuro Games is no rookie at making gacha games. They have released Punishing: Gray Raven and Twin Tail Battleground in the past. Punishing: Gray Raven is still actively being supported and is known for its high-skill, flashy, and fast-paced action combat system and its player base is strong due to the amount of content present even after reaching its endgame. This experience comes through when it comes to Wuthering Waves.

The heart and soul of Wuthering Waves lies in its exhilarating combat system. Unlike Genshin Impact's focus on elemental reactions, Wuthering Waves emphasizes a frenetic and strategic dance of character swapping and combo execution. Players control a team of three Resonators, each with distinct weapons, skills, and elemental affinities. Mastering this system revolves around strategically switching between these characters to maximize damage output and exploit enemy weaknesses.

The core mechanics are deceptively simple at first glance: basic attacks, unique skills, and character ultimates. However, the depth emerges in chaining these mechanics together with well-timed dodges, parries, and a system called "concerto energy." This energy allows your active Resonator to perform an "outro" attack when swapped out, while the incoming Resonator delivers an "intro" attack upon entering the fray. Mastering these swaps and timing becomes crucial for maximizing damage efficiency and creating a seamless flow of combat.

An additional layer of complexity comes from enemy attack patterns. Enemies telegraph their attacks, allowing for well-timed dodges that trigger "Extreme Evasion." This slows down time and opens up a window for a powerful counterattack. Mastering these mechanics raises the skill ceiling considerably, offering a rewarding challenge for players seeking a deeper combat experience. While veterans of action RPGs will find familiar elements in dodging and parrying, the unique swap mechanics and concerto energy system add a fresh layer of strategic depth, encouraging players to constantly think on their feet and adapt their tactics based on the enemy they face.

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Solaris 3, the vast open world of Wuthering Waves, is a visual treat. From the bustling, Chinese-inspired city of Jinzhou to sprawling landscapes dotted with ancient ruins and forgotten settlements, the world boasts a sense of scale and visual diversity. Exploration is highly encouraged, with players able to scale almost any wall, glide from high points using a hang glider, or grapple to distant locations with a handy grappling hook. This freedom of movement fosters a sense of adventure and encourages players to uncover the world's secrets.

The world isn't just a beautiful backdrop, however. It's filled with activities to discover. Players can embark on side quests that delve deeper into the world's lore and characters, solve environmental puzzles that test their problem-solving skills, uncover hidden treasures that offer valuable rewards, and encounter a variety of monsters that provide combat challenges. Exploration is rewarded with materials needed for character progression, gadgets that enhance traversal and combat abilities, and shop items that can be used for various purposes.

While the world lacks the level of interactive NPCs found in other open-world titles, the sheer beauty of the environments and the constant sense of discovery make exploration a truly enjoyable experience. The world feels alive with vibrant colors, diverse environments, and remnants of a civilization struggling to rebuild after a cataclysmic event.

The story of Wuthering Waves follows the journey of the "Rover," an amnesiac protagonist who awakens in a post-apocalyptic world. Humanity has been ravaged by a cataclysm called the Lament, forcing survivors to rebuild from the ashes. The narrative unfolds through quests and dialogues, with the main story featuring voice acting. While the story itself is decent, it can feel a bit formulaic at times, with the amnesiac protagonist trope being somewhat well-trodden in video games. Additionally, the lack of voice acting for most side quests and the limited NPC interaction contribute to a slightly sterile feel in the world.

Wuthering Waves, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Female Protagonist, Female Character

However, the story does have its moments, particularly towards the end. The world-building elements are intriguing, hinting at a deeper history and mysteries waiting to be unraveled. The characters, despite the limited interaction, manage to be somewhat endearing, with each Resonator having their personality and motivations.

The gacha system in Wuthering Waves is a familiar friend to veterans of the genre. Players use a premium currency called "Asterite" to acquire new Resonators through character banners. Asterite can be obtained through exploration, quests, and combat, making the system somewhat generous for free-to-play players. Additionally, a pity system guarantees a high-rarity character after a set number of pulls, ensuring players eventually get the character they desire without excessive spending. This helps to balance the free-to-play experience, making it possible to acquire powerful characters without relying solely on luck.

Wuthering Waves doesn't let you rest after conquering the main story. A robust selection of endgame challenges awaits players who have honed their combat skills and built their teams. These challenges offer a way to test your mastery of the game's mechanics, push your team's limits, and acquire valuable rewards for further character development.

The Tower of Adversity offers a classic RPG staple: a series of progressively difficult floors that test your character's strength and resourcefulness. Each floor throws increasingly challenging enemies and bosses your way, demanding strategic team composition and skillful execution of combat mechanics. Completing floors rewards you with valuable resources for character ascension and high-tier gear, allowing you to further strengthen your team for even greater challenges.

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For those seeking a more intense combat experience, Tactical Hologram pits you against souped-up versions of story bosses. These bosses boast new attack patterns and increased difficulty, requiring a deep understanding of their mechanics and a flawless execution of dodging, parrying, and combo attacks to emerge victorious. Tactical Hologram offers multiple difficulty levels, allowing players of varying skill levels to test their might against these formidable opponents.

A recent addition to the endgame scene, the Depths of Illusive Realm, offered a roguelike twist. Players were thrown into ever-changing dungeons, each filled with unique challenges and enemy compositions. This mode demanded adaptability and a mastery of different combat tactics to navigate the ever-shifting environment and conquer the final boss. While the Depths of Illusive Realm was a temporary event, the developers have hinted at its return, keeping things fresh for those who enjoy unpredictable challenges and testing their skills in new ways.

Looking to the future, the upcoming Zero Point Research Station promises to be another exciting addition to the endgame content. This mysterious monthly dungeon is shrouded in secrecy, but based on official announcements, it appears to be a challenging endgame activity with significant rewards. This continuous stream of new content keeps players engaged and offers a reason to keep logging in and pushing their teams to their limits.

While Wuthering Waves excels in its combat system and open-world exploration, the co-op mode presents a currently underwhelming experience. The core combat system relies heavily on swap cancels, a mechanic that becomes entirely unavailable when playing with others. This significantly restricts your strategic options and makes combat feel less engaging in co-op. Perhaps a solution where players retain their full teams in co-op, with boss HP scaling accordingly would make co-op more fun. Additionally, the current implementation limits players to controlling just one character, further diminishing the co-op experience.

Wuthering Waves, PC, Review, Gameplay, Screenshots, Female Protagonist, Female Character,

The music in Wuthering Waves falls into the category of "good, but not great." While it manages to create a decent atmosphere for the game world, it doesn't quite reach the heights achieved by some other open-world titles. The sound design is well-crafted, especially for a mobile game, but it lacks that extra spark that makes a soundtrack truly memorable.

Wuthering Waves avoids the pressure to spend seen in some gacha games and offers a deep combat system that is both accessible and rewarding for free-to-play players. While the story and world can feel a bit sterile at times, the combat mechanics are a blast to master, and the endgame offers a solid challenge for veterans. The upcoming Zero Point Research Station and the potential return of the Depths of Illusive Realm hint at a bright future for the game's content. If you're looking for a fresh open-world adventure with a focus on fast-paced action and strategic team-play, Wuthering Waves has great potential and is worth checking out.

Ahnaf Tajwar,
Editor, NoobFeed

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General Information

Platform(s): PC, PS5, PS4, Mobile
Publisher(s): Kuro Games, Kuro Game Studio
Developer(s): Kuro Games, Kuro Game Studio
Genres: Role-Playing
Themes: Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Free To Play
Release Date: 2024-05-17

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