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Where Winds Meet Preview

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  • Stunning visuals and intelligent world design
  • Deep combat with an evolving variety of styles
  • Majestic reverence for time and place
  • Surprisingly witty


  • Community-supported 'Etchings' break immersion
  • Could prove to be a rig strainer

I first got my grubby paws on Where Winds Meet back in Gamescom 2023, where a contingent of team members from developer Everstone Studio spoke with me about the historical lore behind its storytelling while proudly demonstrating small segments of gameplay - including some world exploration, environment traversal, and intricate, weapons-based combat. I came away from the interview with two things: a Where Winds Meet-branded umbrella, and an exciting new title on my own gaming radar.

It’s been almost 10 months since then, and I’ve been excited to see how the lavish-looking RPG was coming along. And so, just last week, I was stoked to find myself invited to Where Winds Meet’s first-ever closed beta, offering a select community of players the opportunity to explore its vast wind-swept world, get to grips with its pace and flow, and take their first steps into its exalted and mysterious world of pride, pain, vengeance, death, and, more importantly, life.

Our hero sets out on a journey of fate and destiny.

For those less inclined, Where Winds Meet is an open-world RPG set against the backdrop of the politically and morally divisive period of Chinese history known as The Five Dynasties, which typically took place between the fall of the Tang (906 AD) and the rise of Song (970). This was a time of great upheaval, brought about by mass territorial disputes and constant political and social disputes. However - much like the later renaissance - this chaos synchronized with an advancement in culture - with painting, pottery, poetry, writing, and the martial-arts evolving to unprecedented levels.

Where Winds Meet explores both elements of this tumultuous era, putting the player in the role of a young martial artist eking out a life for themselves and their family while honing their skills as one of the Qinghe district’s finest swordsmen. Inevitably, it isn’t too long until fate comes calling in the form of a mysterious attacker bedecked in black robes, and so begins an epic, country-spanning tale of mystery, honor, and destiny.

Having designed their protagonist via a very in-depth character creator, cheekbones and all, (it appears both male and female heroes can be created, though the beta was locked to male), the player is immediately thrust into an absolutely stunning environment, rich in detail and bursting with life and color. The world of Where Winds Meet - which embraces its period setting with pride and aplomb - is achingly beautiful. Bamboo forests, flowing fields of wheat and corn, lifelike streams and riverbeds, all bedecked with traditional flora and fauna. The environment carries class and majesty, pinpointing Everstone Studio’s commitment to detail. Even at this stage, said commitment is readily reflected in every element of Where Winds Meet’s design.

(1 of 2) Magnificent visuals bring life to the countryside

Magnificent visuals bring life to the countryside (left), as well as various towns and markets (right)

As fantastic as the world looks, it is equally well constructed. The lands Where Winds Meet have been smartly mapped, with a natural sense of direction and flow. Rather than follow the typical blocking pattern of most open-world games, WWM‘s communal structure is naturalistic, with markets, villages, mills, ruins, farms, and other faculties outlined out in a fashion that feels believable and naturally attuned to the player’s sense of direction. This ensures new and intriguing sights regardless of the chosen path, with breathtaking vistas awaiting over every clifftop or hillside. Qinghe feels alive. Real. As they walk down worn paths, gallop over windy marshland, or skip stones over rushing rivers, the player feels as though they are exploring a vast kingdom of beauty and wonder, rather than following straight lines to map markers.

Traversal is itself a skill, and while our hero is already adept at both rock climbing and break-falling, they will also learn new abilities that allow for wall-running, tree-climbing, and crossing the surface of water as if it were cement. All of which I can do in real life. Where Winds Meet is built around this combination of reality and spirituality, where realistic visuals and gorgeous environments have been built upon much more fantastical elements - blood red skies and torn landmarks in the heart of battle, ethereal butterflies, and nightmarish enemies.

Where Winds Meet is at once real and unreal, creating a fascinating environment for intrigue and exploration.

As they travel through this expansive world, the hero will also meet a varied cast of characters - friend, foe, and feline - who may offer their skills, training, trade, or fist. While I only met a handful of characters during my time with the beta, all of these interactions were nicely executed, punctuated by stoic drama as well as a surprising amount of wit and humor. It’s too early to tell how magnetic the core narrative will be come release day, but the character models, voice acting, and scripting seems strong. Feisty youth Hongxian was a standout, as was the hero’s long-suffering, bar-owning aunt - quick to bring our headstrong hero down to size with a sharp glare and a sharper tongue.

Oh, and I also met a magic cat in a jaunty hat.

Allies will bring you trade, skills, and luck

Combat forms the core of Where Winds Meet‘s practical and spiritual thematics. As a title that holds Wuxia in great reverence, WWM treats kung fu as a pure art form, to be adapted and evolved as such by the player. While it’s relatively snug to refer to the combat here as “Soulslike”, there is just a tad less intensity to WWM‘s encounters. Our hero is frequently outmatched and outnumbered, with strategy, quick reflexes, and parry mechanics a must in gaining the upper hand, but* WWM* doesn’t currently carry the same “ultra-punishing” vibe of a Sekiro - content to spotlight its flamboyant swordplay over finger-twitching, frame-perfect counter-attacks. That said, it should be noted that combat in Where Winds Meet is undeniably deep, as the evolution of the hero’s kung fu is key to their destiny.

Over the course of the game, myriad real-world weapons will be honed, with a growing arsenal of bladed weapons including swords, spears, twin daggers, and fans. Additionally, martial arts skills such as acupressure fighting, as well as mythic abilities such as “The Lion’s Roar” will work in-sync with hand-to-hand combat in order to create a hero that can handle near-impossible odds. In time, the hero should become a free-flowing weapon of both attack and defense, utilizing finely-honed skills, acrobatic maneuvers, and swift, deadly combos to leave even the most formidable opponents dizzied and down - the hero having taken mastery of their abilities to a highest spiritual plane.

(1 of 2) Where Winds Meet offers in-depth character creation

Where Winds Meet offers in-depth character creation (left), with their evolution being core to their legend (right)

Where Winds Meet is a celebration of Chinese history, storytelling, and culture. Wuxia is the star. And as much as WWM is telling a typically chivalrous tale of a hero’s journey, it is taking the opportunity to shine a spotlight on China’s own cultural background. The combat is deep, attractive, and balletic, while the quieter periods are broken up by more peaceful and reflective moments of poetry, music-making, fishing, and theater. What is essentially the Chinese renaissance is depicted against the backdrop of beautiful and timeless landscapes, with WWM reflecting one of the country’s most uproarious but ultimately most formative eras. In that sense, Where Winds Meet feels like a truly historical endeavor, one that looks to educate as much as entertain.

From my short time with the beta, the key word to describe Where Winds Meet is “Majestic”. Everstone Studio’s passion project is rich in design, deeply detailed, and exudes pride for its historical setting. Where Winds Meet has a captivating spirit and looks set to vivify the open-world genre. Adventure/Soulslike fans should get this on their radar. Wuxia fans should have locked it in long before now.

Where Winds Meet is scheduled to launch on PC later in 2024.

Final Verdict

Wuxia Wonders

From my short time with the beta, the key word to describe Where Winds Meet is “Majestic”. Everstone Studio’s passion project is rich in design, deeply detailed, and exudes pride for its historical setting. Where Winds Meet has captivating spirit, and looks set to vivify the open-world genre. Adventure/Soulslike fans should get this on their radar, while Wuxia fans should have locked it in long before now.








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Chris has been playing video games since 1986, back when people saw in black and white. Former editor for Destructoid, their thoughts and reports on the media taste forgot have also been published in outlets such as Eurogamer, Starburst, and Retro Gamer. Joining the Gamer Guides crew in 2023, Chris contributes fair and thoughtful critique on a wide variety of genres.
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