For those who don’t know the tale of ‘The Monkey King’ it’s easily one of the most famous stories in Chinese Mythology. From videogames like Enslaved: Odyssey to the West to a little known anime called Dragon Ball, some may know the tale that was loosely adapted in many forms of entertainment.The tale of “The Monkey King” has also inspired many movies and books one of which is a new tale from Digital Domain which brings the Monkey King tale to PlayStation VR.
The Monkey King is a PlayStation VR experience. It’s not a game that you play but more of a virtual reality TV show you get to watch. The experience itself is actually pretty cool. After going through the first three chapters I quickly realized how amazing it would be to experience all of my animated TV shows in the same virtual reality manner.
The story itself starts with the Monkey King himself chained up on a mountain as he begins to narrate his journey which landed him in his predicament. Most of the story is told through narration and it’s handled pretty well throughout the story. We learn a lot about the supporting characters in the first three chapters and learn about the Monkey King’s unique abilities to transform into different creatures and his martial arts training we also get to encounter the famous cloud The Monkey King rides and interacts with.
The animation work is hit and miss. The character design is top notch and matches the art style perfectly with some great animation work. While the animations themselves are really well done, I did notice they were a little rough when it comes to some of the action sequences that take place. Sound effects are sometimes missing and the fights just don’t feel like they have enough umph and impact behind them. You won’t get Pixar quality here, but it’s pretty impressive nonetheless.
The voice work and sound design in the first three chapters is also a highlight. Even though most of the story is presented by the Monkey King’s narration most of the supporting cast does a great job at helping to carry the story from its funny moments to it’s tragic ones.
My biggest problem with the PlayStation VR experience comes in the form of the headset itself. The Monkey King features a lot of scenes that require you to make full on 360 degree rotations. The problem with this comes in all the wiring required to run the PlayStation VR. I constantly found myself getting strangled by the cords and constantly having to re-adjust the headset.
I only got to experience the first three chapters of The Monkey King but it was enough to get me excited. Not only is it a great story done fairly well but a great example of a new type of VR medium that I hope more studios take advantage off. There is some room for improvement by Digital Domain but its first offering is a welcome surprise, and one that I can’t wait to experience more off.