Wonhon follows a young Korean girl who is brought back from the dead after being killed during a military conflict. Using her newfound abilities, she aims to take revenge on everyone who wronged her and her family.
Wonhon has a captivating concept, one that deals with elements of revenge and possession. The initial marketing as well as some of the artwork made it look unique, promising a unique action-stealth game where you can possess enemies to complete different missions.
Sadly, the game itself isn’t as polished with a lot of infighting between the controls and design. What I found interesting was the fact that you could possess different enemies, and some had different abilities than others. However, it does so in a railroaded fashion where certain missions can only be completed in a few ways, not leaving much room for experimentation.
Experimentation is perhaps what would have made the game more interesting by giving you a lot more option in how to approach missions, letting you complete them in different ways. The idea is there, but once the repetitiveness sets in with the mission types it is nothing more than an illusion.
The controls are another issue, where some actions are linked to the same button. This isn’t an issue on its own, but when there isn’t proper chaining consideration between actions, you can see yourself performing some actions unintentionally. Take possessing a grenadier for example in this game, where you press the action key to both possess and use ability.
The issue happens when you have to hold to possess, an input that carries over to ability use. I accidentally threw grenades due to how sensitive the input was. There are simple wins the developers could have taken, such as making sure any button held before possession is ignored. At the moment, I had to time my release with a successful possession, as otherwise I would use their ability, drawning unwanted attention.
The AI is quite simple as well, responding linearly to most actions. It never felt like I was trying to outwit my enemies or strategise around them as I would expect from an Action Stealth game. A lot of the memorable moments in action-stealth games happen when you have to take risks and hope everything falls into the right place due to your on-the-spot planning, something that could have been benefited Wonhon.
What’s interesting is that the foundation is there with different mechanics and enemy abilities pleading to be used creatively. Desperados III is perhaps the best game to look at in this regard, where players are given a lot of agency to approach missions with a handful of mechanics.
Despite all this, the game still has a memorable charm due to its effective art direction and setting. Essentially, you are helping an angel of death with souls that it can’t claim due to their earthly grievances. This allows our protagonist to kill two birds with one stone, seeking revenge for both herself and others.
For only £13/$16, the game isn’t terribly expensive and can be finished in less than 6 hours. It’s definitely worth playing if the setting interests you, just don’t go in expecting a highly polished or well-designed experience.
Despite being wrapped in an interesting narrative, Wonhon’s mechanics never reach their full potential, contributing to a lukewarm experience with unpolished game design.