Preview: Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess Is a Beguiling Mix of Strategy and Action 1

Capcom's been doing such a brilliant job with its long-established franchises, but it's refreshing to see the publisher take a gamble on some brand new ideas, too. One such example is Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess, something we've been intrigued by since its debut trailer last year. After getting some hands-on time with it, we can now say that its unusual blend of strategy and action works, and has a lot of potential.

In case you're unaware, this game has you playing as the powerful bodyguard of an ethereal maiden, as you descend a mountain that's been plagued by demonic corruption. Your job is to clear the way so she can cleanse the world of this unsettling force, and that not only means slashing away at monsters, but it also tasks you with recruiting villagers and positioning them in the best defensive positions.

What we played seemed to be the opening couple of levels in the game, as they were very straightforward while we learned the ropes. Essentially, the game is split into two halves. During the daytime, you must clear the path ahead so the maiden can gradually head towards the end of the stage. You can also explore the area, purifying people before assigning them a job role. The different roles have these NPCs acting in various ways; one gives them an axe and turns them into simple melee fighters, while another gives them the ability to temporarily freeze enemies in place. With roles assigned, you can then command them to take whatever place you like in the level, the idea being to have them assist in defending the maiden.

When the sun goes down, a horde of demons will spawn from the level's exit and charge towards her. At this point, your soldiers will fulfil their given duties, but most of the culling will be down to you. The game becomes a fairly simple hack-and-slash action game at this point; you have a few simple combos you can do involving 'dance' attacks, which deal lots of damage to these demons. You're able to cut them down efficiently by using these attacks, but don't forget to keep an eye on the maiden and your allies.

You repeat this cycle until the maiden reaches the torii gate, which she'll then be able to cleanse. With a stage done, you'll then go to a safe encampment, where you can talk to her, upgrade the villager jobs, equip your sword with simple perks, and so on. Once you're done, it's on to the next stretch.

Mixing things up will be occasional boss battles. These are fairly similar to the action segments of regular stages; you need to position defenders appropriately before a large demon appears, and defeat them before they reach the maiden. Again, this early boss was very straightforward, and alongside our helpers didn't pose much of a threat.

The disparate gameplay elements works surprisingly well together. While they both come across as pretty simplistic in our demo, we can only imagine that Kunitsu-Gami will become quite complex as it adds more layers and levels become more complicated. What's nice is you're not locked out of changing tact during action sequences; troops can be repositioned, given new roles, and even healed mid-battle. If you suddenly think your woodcutters would be more useful as archers, you can reassign them and have them take up new spots on higher areas.

We sadly didn't get much time with this title, but even with our brief window, it did enough to get its unique concept across. This really does have a lot of potential, if it can successfully build on its core ideas as you work through the story. The good news is there's not much longer before everyone can give it a shot — Kunitsu-Gami arrives for PS5 and PS4 on 19th July.

Are you looking forward to Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess? Guide us into the comments section below.