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Where Winds Meet has got the finest Wuxia moves

A spectacular action RPG in the best Wuxia tradition
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Playing Where Winds Meet, an action RPG developed by Everstone Studio and published by Netease, is like being flung into a Chinese Wuxia movie – and it feels awesome. While I was unable to play for very long at gamescom 2023, Where Winds Meet left quite an impression, especially when it comes to character movement.

Entering a sort of ghost-like stance, I was able to move through a forest unhindered, passing through roots and brushes sticking out of the ground like a specter. This ability allowed me to walk on water as well, running over the wet surface below me as if it was solid ground. You can wall run in the best tradition of kung fu movies as well. Most spectacular and awe-inspiring, though, was what you can do in the air: Jump from a cliff and you’ll be able to take a stroll through the clouds as you descend, enabling you to traverse large distances in a breeze. It’s as if you become the wind itself.

Where Winds Meet artwork.

Where Winds Meet is set in a period of upheaval in Chinese history.

Set during the chaotic and destructive fall of the Tang Dynasty in the 900s, Where Winds Meet is an open-world action RPG with big survival and crafting elements. You make your way through a war-torn country, relying on your skills with the sword and martial arts to survive.

At what cost will this survival come, though? Can you remain loyal to your moral principles, or will you betray them in the end? Such are the questions you’ll have to answer as you make your own way through the game.

Comparisons to Ghost of Tsushima or Assassin’s Creed seem apt, as Where Winds Meet has the looks and the amount of content of big budget works such as these. From fishing to harvesting exotic ingredients in forests to building your structures, it has all the hallmarks of the survival-crafting genre. But there is even more. Outside of the main storyline, you have a lot of freedom in regards to role-playing – want to be a traveling doctor helping out the rural population? Not a problem. Do you want to be a rabble rouser instead, inciting the people against the nobility? Play at being a demagogue with your oratory skills. Heck, you can even adopt a pet cat. There is a lot to be discovered and tried out here, in a life sim kind of way. It’s very ambitious.

Where Winds Meet screenshot of a warrior looking down at a village.

Where Winds Meet's open world is both gorgeous and vast.

Unlike Ghost of Tsushima, which was made by a non-Japanese studio, Where Winds Meet is actually made by Chinese developers, though – and it shows. It shows in the choice of setting, which if made by a Western studio would almost guarantee to have been another Three Kingdoms period piece since that’s the only thing most gamers know about pre-WW2 Chinese history, and it shows in the love for detail that went into its depiction of martial arts.

When you fight, one beautifully animated move flows into another one. You slash, kick, throw a punch, whirl around in the air, then dodge just to dart forward again, leaving an afterimage where you just were a second before. Just like in Wuxia movies, there is a little bit of over exaggeration – floating in the air for a few moments, impossible jumps, things like that. These elements are very fluidly integrated into what is otherwise a faithful representation of Chinese martial arts. Aside from your melee capabilities using swords, spears, or fans, you carry a bow for ranged combat, which you can even use as you fall from the clouds during one of your airborne strolls – sadly, the developers told me that you won’t have epic melee duels as you descend back to the ground.

Where Winds Meet screenshot of an underground structure.

While being authentic and sticking to history where it can, Where Winds Meet has plenty of fantastical elements to offer.

Staying true to all of that flexibility mentioned above, Where Winds Meet does not feature your traditional RPG class system. Instead, you customize your build by choosing from a large array of perks that grant you additional abilities in and out of combat. Again, the attention to detail and ambition here is very important, because you can mix different martial arts together through this system. This could have the potential to make the animations look funky or disjointed, but the developers have made it so that all possible combinations are visually represented, fusing the different styles together nicely. Through this perk system, you’ll be able to find a play style that suits your tastes – be it praying mantis kung fu or throwing bears through the woods with the power of tai chi.

Aside from enjoying all of this solo, you can share your world with other players to explore, fight, and build together in multiplayer. It’ll feature mouse and keyboard as well as gamepad support.

Where Winds Meet looks very ambitious, but from what I’ve seen – and oh, was it too little I got to see – Everstone Studio can match this ambition with its execution of this vision, which brings a truly authentic Chinese Wuxia game to a global audience. This one you should keep your eyes on.

Where Winds Meet is set to be released on PC in 2024.