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Wuthering Waves review - why have one good gacha when you can have two

Wuthering Waves is here and millions are diving in to try it out, so we take a look at what sets the game apart and where it excels.

Wuthering Waves review - Aalto and Encore holding their arms out toward the camera

Our Verdict

Despite a somewhat rocky launch, Wuthering Waves introduces us to an exciting new world with plenty of potential, where dodge mechanics make for incredibly fun combat, and engrossing exploration keeps us coming back.

Are you ready to get into this Wuthering Waves review? Good. Just be sure to buckle up, because it might be a big one. I’ll start by saying this game immediately caught my eye with its marketing, character design, and world. And, upon first entering the game, I was not disappointed.

Like any good story-driven open-world game, there are a lot of names, places, and hints to characters that we’re not sure of, but really, what game doesn’t have this? If you’ve played similar games like Genshin Impact, Tower of Fantasy, or Echocalypse, you’ll be able to get to grips with the world really quickly.

Let’s address the elephant in the room, shall we? Yes, Wuthering Waves is like Genshin Impact. Very much like it, in fact – and Honkai Star Rail, too. But Genshin was very like Breath of the Wild at launch, and so many other games follow the same formula. Wuthering Waves is also reminiscent of Tears of the Kingdom, and even Death Stranding with its futuristic base-filled world and levitation puzzles everywhere. Though I will admit that Verina is a bit too similar to Nahida, the only real difference is she’s a healer – and a good one at that.

Wuthering Waves’ story goes like this – you are the Rover, and you find yourself in a world where three years ago a terrible event happened, and it’s threatening to come back. There are monsters (Tacet Discords) all over the place, brought about by the return of the overarching power (the Threnodians). The only people capable of dealing with these monsters are you and the other key characters that can resonate with the world and use elements – that’s the Resonators, playable characters you can get in your roster.

Wuthering Waves review - Jianxin standing on a hilltop in an open world with mountains and trees

The story gets better as it goes, though to be honest, I barely paid attention to the first hour or so – mainly because I was on a train playing on spotty WiFi, but also because I just wanted to get into it and futz around in the world. There’s a bit of fluff where you learn about some specific candies and listen to a potential enemy yammer on about lambs, but once you get into the meat of the story when the Threnodian starts to come back, it gets good – and General Jiyan does a nice job of explaining everything in terms of what’s going on and the history.

There are some key improvements in Wuthering Waves over other, similar games. For instance, you can hold 200 waveplates – the equivalent of resin and energy in Hoyo’s titles – allowing you to farm more materials before running out. There are plenty more free characters, and it’s so much easier to grind for equipable items as they appear in the overworld. In combat, there’s a handy dodge mechanic, which can lead to extra attacks. Oh, and, you can pet dogs. In fact, you can both pet and feed dogs in this game!

In terms of the world, I really enjoy exploring it. Currently, there’s one city in the Huanglong region – Jinzhou. We’re told in the story that there are six big regions, so I’m eagerly awaiting more settlements to open up in future Wuthering Waves updates. The world itself is well designed with a slightly darker aesthetic than, say, Genshin Impact – and more realistic textures. The soundtrack isn’t quite as good, but it’s a nice ambient experience that doesn’t mar the gameplay. Exploration is really very fun as you can run up walls, shoot a grappling hook into the air, and zoom along, and you automatically pick up any drops from fights and chests which cuts down on backtracking and mashing buttons.

As you zip along, you come across plenty of puzzles and groups of Tacet Discords to beat, which results in a juicy reward of XP items and astrite – the game’s in-game currency for pulling on the banners. Overworld puzzles include combat, racing to a destination, collecting coins, and placing items to complete a design among others – everywhere you turn there’s something to investigate. In the story, there’s a different type of puzzle, too. At certain points, your view turns 2D, and has you run along a platformer-style level avoiding enemies and thorns in search of a specific item or a new location, adding a refreshing break from the usual third-person view.

Wuthering Waves review - a side-scrolling section of the game with thorns up the walls

One thing you must get used to is beating up every enemy you see. That spiky bear? Hit it. Those unsuspecting humanoids? Bash them. That turtle? Yeah, go on. These enemies can turn into echoes – if they leave behind a yellowy silhouette, you can absorb it with your gourd-shaped device, and then equip it and use it in battle. That includes the classic disco turtle and the spiky bear, among other excellently designed animals and monsters. This system reminds me a bit of Pokémon Legends: Arceus, to be honest, and it’s fun – though I feel like a bit of a bastard hitting the tortoises.

Now, let’s look at who you can equip these echoes on – the Wuthering Waves characters. Not going to lie, Kuro outdid themselves with the male character’s designs here. Calcharo has a wonky nose, Lingyang’s combat strings are so interesting with the lion dance theme, and Jiyan is – well, he’s beautiful. But he also has a really fun and usable kit with a raging dragon that attacks everything in sight. While the female characters are great in their own way, some are a bit too similar in design, noticeably female Rover, Baizhi, Yangyang, and Jianxin who all wear black and have black hair.

Each time you get a new character, you can enter skill training for them, which is a specific tutorial showing you all their combos and what they do. This is really helpful, as you can go back to it any time, and shows you how to properly make the most of each unit in the game. The combat really is the best part about Wuthering Waves. Not only is it smooth going for every character, and most have inventive and themed movesets – especially Jianxin’s martial arts-based attacks – it also makes you use your brain a little more than just mashing skill, ultimate, skill. The intro and outro skills need to be timed, along with making sure you dodge or jump away from attacks and secure yourself a free hit.

A point of contention in the community is the English voice acting and personality of some characters. I personally don’t mind the voice acting on the whole, though some bits are a little hammy with the wrong intonation – the female Rover and Yangyang are the worst for this. Rover’s voice is, unfortunately, very flat. This is made up for in Aalto’s performance for me as he adds some fun – in fact, on a TikTok showing his battle animations, Aalto’s voice actor commented saying he was glad that the lines made it as they were mostly improvised, allowing him to have a lot of fun which shines through.

As a big Hoyo-head myself it took a bit of getting used to the three-person party system, and the fact that there are no elemental reactions with other characters or the world. However, I’m interested to see where the roster goes in future with more potential shielder and buffer characters, and how kits develop.

Wuthering Waves review - five characters running toward the Rover while celebrating

As Wuthering Waves is a gacha game, we need to look at the pricing and the pity systems. Granted I’ve not played too many gacha titles, but WuWa’s system seems pretty forgiving. There are four Wuthering Waves banners most of the time – after the beginner banner and choice of standard five-star banners are out of the way. These are the limited character, limited weapon, standard characters, and standard weapons banners.

It costs 160 astrite for one pull on every banner, and you get a guaranteed four-star within every ten pulls, and a five-star in 80 or under. On the limited weapon banner, there’s no 50/50. You’re guaranteed the event weapon by 80 pity, which is very welcome. Also, if you get a four-star on the limited character banner that isn’t a featured one, the next one you get will be, meaning even four-stars come with a 50/50. Hoyo, are you listening?

Pricing remains the same as most other titles, with different packages ranging from 99p up to £99.99, or your local equivalent. And yes, there is a 30-day lunite subscription that gives you 90 astrite each day for £4.99. Yes, I’ve already bought it. Get this, though – in the store, you can buy wavebands for your characters. You can get two each for all five standard five-stars and the limited five-star character, along with two four-stars. Imagine that – two extra, guaranteed copies of your faves! Wuthering Waves review - a comparison of performance on two phones and a PC

Now, there is the issue of performance with the game. While I didn’t experience much in the way of negative issues, a lot of the community has. There have been wildly different levels of performance across devices and platforms – I myself found that playing on my two-year-old Samsung was awful, but my Motorola phone and PC were fine outside of a frame drop here and there. Kuro Games has released updates on a daily basis, sometimes more, to combat stuttering, crashes, and glitches within the game.

Did the game release in a perfect state? No, but what game does? Genshin didn’t, Punishing: Gray Raven, Epic 7, and Nikke didn’t – and I’m sure Zenless Zone Zero won’t, either. It’s a tale as old as time, but Kuro is actively working on it – and gave us 20 pulls as compensation, as well as a free choice of five-star character. One thing I do wish Kuro would implement is being able to use controllers on mobile, as there is currently no way to do so. It would also be in their best interest to get some better translation and double check the dialogue as there are a few spelling errors or missed words and letters in some quests text.

As for the future – who knows? I’m personally on board and it’s anyone’s guess where the game will go. Right now, we’ve got no idea how banners will change – we might only have one at a time instead of two in the future – and we’ve not got any hints for future areas or story updates. I can only hope that Wuthering Waves continues to get the support it needs and continues to grow. Luckily, Kuro seems dedicated to the game already.

If you’re planning on trying the game after reading this glowing review, or you’re not sure what to do with your characters, be sure to check out our guides on how to build Wuthering Waves Jiyan and Wuthering Waves Verina, and grab the latest Wuthering Waves codes, too.