Wuthering Waves Review: Flashy Combat and Enticing Exploration

Wuthering Waves Review: Flashy Combat and Enticing Exploration

Wuthering Waves is a story-driven gacha RPG that immediately catches the eye with its unique mix of swords, guns, and spirits, combining disparate elements into a combat spectacle. Developed by Kuro Game, this title promises engaging action and exploration, but falls short in delivering a compelling narrative. Here’s an in-depth review of what makes Wuthering Waves both captivating and frustrating.

Stunning Combat Mechanics

Wuthering Waves is all about action. Each character in the game has an element and weapon type associated with them, as well as individual skills that can be leveled up. What sets this game apart from similar action-RPGs like Genshin Impact is its unique combat system. Characters use intro and outro skills when swapping between each other in your three-person team, triggering special attacks like a fire-infused shootout. Additionally, you charge up a separate skill gauge by dealing damage or successfully dodging and parrying enemy attacks, adding a layer of strategy to party building and timing swaps.

“Every character has an element and weapon type associated with them, as well as individual skills that you can level up.”

Combat is nuanced and enjoyable, although it stumbles a bit with its elemental system. None of the six elemental types inflict status effects as one might expect – fire doesn’t deal damage over time, and ice doesn’t immobilize enemies. This makes the elements feel more like color-coding than significant gameplay mechanics. Despite this, the variation in movesets keeps experimenting with team compositions fun.

Engaging Team Building and Unique Echoes System

Characters in Wuthering Waves also have unique combos you can activate during combat. Practicing these combos in dedicated tutorials makes using your favorite fighters more satisfying. The game encourages trying out all characters at least once by offering small rewards for doing so.

“It can take a bit to memorize those inputs, but doing so for your favorite fighters makes using them even more satisfying.”

Echoes, animal-like companions that increase your stats, replace traditional equipment. The strength of these buffs depends on how many of the same type you equip at once. This system encourages strategic thinking about how to maximize the benefits from the limited space available. While the random nature of unlocking additional stats for Echoes can make optimization challenging, it doesn’t hinder gameplay significantly.

“The best part about Echoes is how they tie into the environment. As you fight enemies and bosses, they will sometimes leave behind ghost-like shells of themselves for you to absorb and convert into Echoes.”

Exploration and Parkour

The game’s parkour-like movement makes exploration exciting. The vast open world invites you to explore every nook and cranny, with Echoes serving as both a reward and incentive for thorough exploration. Capturing Echoes also contributes to a collection tracking guidebook and a battle pass full of rewards.

A Lackluster Story

Unfortunately, the story of Wuthering Waves is less impressive. The narrative feels lackluster, sometimes tempting you to skip through dialogue. The opening act, in particular, is an utter snoozefest, filled with verbose exposition and an overabundance of character introductions.

“Wuthering Waves’ story, especially the first few acts, suffers from several problems simultaneously. Its biggest and most blatant mistake is how it dumps an excessive amount of unnecessarily verbose slop your way.”

The story does improve as you progress, with certain characters having compelling companion stories. However, the initial narrative delivery can drive players away before they get to the more engaging parts.

Audiovisual Experience

Visually, Wuthering Waves excels. The combat sequences are akin to watching an action movie, with swift, satisfying attacks and minimal downtime. The character designs and model quality are top-notch, adding to the game’s allure.

“Watching Wuthering Waves’ combat is almost like watching an action movie. The developers' decision to keep the cut-ins short ties in extremely well with the momentum the game tries to maintain.”

However, the game’s background music is completely forgettable, and the voice acting is only excellent for specific characters. This lack of engaging music detracts from the overall experience, making some of the dialogue and side quests feel even more monotonous.

Gacha Mechanics

Wuthering Waves features a very forgiving gacha system for weapons, with a hard pity at 80 pulls. This makes collecting weapons more manageable compared to other games. However, the character gacha is punishing, with a standard 50-50 mechanic and sub-1% rates for 5-star characters, making it less friendly for free-to-play players.

Pros and Cons

- Highly technical combat
- Awesome team building design
- Punchy sound effects
- Elegant and practical visuals
- Easy daily grind
- Very forgiving gacha mechanics for weapons

- Borefest of an opening
- Lacks engaging music
- Character gacha is punishing
- Very grindy post-game

Final Verdict

Wuthering Waves is a case of an amazing game severely hamstrung by terrible story delivery. While it is entirely possible to enjoy it after getting past the heavy gates of its boring opening acts, it will definitely come with a severely damaged first impression. Otherwise, aside from the bugs, spelling errors, and terrible side quests, its combat system is incredibly enjoyable, with an accompanying top-notch audiovisual flair.

“Wuthering Waves’ gameplay is good is an understatement. Kuro Game has brought its A game in the development of the combat system, and it shows.”

Overall Score: 80/100

Despite its narrative flaws, Wuthering Waves shines with its engaging combat, exploration, and strategic team building. If you can endure the slow start and lackluster story, the game offers a rewarding and enjoyable experience.


Leave a comment