Monkey King: Hero is Back was a refreshing surprise when it launched on PS4 in 2019. It had some unique elements, a fun combat system, and a presentation that put it above similar titles. Unfortunately, the first DLC, Uproar in Heaven, was far too short to justify its price, despite being pretty unique from the main game.
Now we have Mind Palace, the second DLC in the season pass. This one is a more traditional series of challenge levels framed as mental training for the main character while he’s trapped for hundreds of years. Does it remedy the problems of the first DLC? Let’s find out.
Training The Mind, Over and Over
There’s a few different opinions about DLC in games. For some people, these downloads need to feel like something that couldn’t have been in the main game and had to be done separately. For others, things are a little more lenient, so long as the new content is good and worth the extra money.
I fall in the middle myself as I don’t mind DLC when it adds to the experience. What’s interesting about the new Mind Palace DLC for Monkey King: Hero is Back, is that it feels like the sort of challenge mode you would see in similar games, only framed with a slight story and sold separate from the main title.
I say that because Mind Palace doesn’t do anything drastically different from the main game, other than offer challenging objectives to complete in each of the levels. The story that frames it does fit well into the larger universe, but unlike the Uproar in Heaven DLC, this one just has text and basic images. At the very least, the prior DLC had its own cutscenes and story, albeit a short one.
Given this, the Mind Palace DLC feels like many other challenge modes you would see in similar action titles. There are levels with time trials, levels where you have to take out enemies without being seen, levels where you break hidden pots, and so on. These objectives repeat pretty often, and while the levels have some variety, they do tend to repeat in their overall aesthetic as time goes on.
I will say that the challenge for some of these levels feels pretty good. The game’s strong suit has always been the combat and exploration. Where things falter for me are timed levels that require precise platforming. The game’s controls are too floaty and unresponsive to facilitate platforming like this, ultimately leading to frustration.
When it works, Mind Palace feels like a pretty solid challenge mode for players looking to test their skills. It does remove a lot of the mechanics of the main game and relies solely on the basic combos and controls, but that allows you to focus on the objectives.
Is it worth $10? More so than the last DLC was, but I still don’t feel like the season pass warrants a look for anyone but the most hardcore of players who really enjoyed the base game. There are some good ideas here, but they’re held back by poor platforming, repetition, and a story that feels wholly tacked on.
Final Score: 6.5/10
A copy of Monkey King Hero is Back: Mind Palace was provided to PS4 Experts for review purposes.
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 1/31/2020