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This surprising Capcom game is the best thing I played at Summer Game Fest

Two warriors in Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess.
Summer Gaming Marathon Feature Image
This story is part of our Summer Gaming Marathon series.

While Monster Hunter Wilds might not be getting released until next year, Capcom still has another awesome-looking game releasing very soon. Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess impressed me with its Summer Game Fest 2024 trailer, and after going hands-on with the game, I’m even more in love. It’s a super-weird action strategy game where players free mountain villages of the “Defilement” that has overtaken them by strategically placing helpful villages and fighting the enemies, called “Seethe,” head-on.

Think of it as an isometric Onimusha with tower defense elements, as players can strategically command and place villagers to optimally defend the dancing maiden that is helping get rid of the defilement that has overtaken the mountain. Although Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess can be a tough game to explain, after going hands-on with it, the game became my favorite thing I played at Summer Game Fest Play Days this year. After also speaking to the development team to learn more, I think we’re all in for something special when Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess launches next month.

Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess - Gameplay Trailer "Kagura" | Xbox Partner Preview

Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess is split into levels where the goal is to defend the maiden as she makes her way from the Torii gate at one end of the level to another. Interestingly, Capcom used miniatures to create these levels and scanned those into the game. They hoped designing levels like this would give them a more grounded, realistic feel and make players feel like they’re looking down on a miniature set while playing Kunitsu-Gami from an isometric perspective.

During the day, players can run around the level to clear it of defilement and free villagers to earn a currency. This currency can then be spent in multiple ways.  Players can assign villagers roles, like a Woodcutter who will use melee attacks against enemies and an archer who can attack from a distance. This currency can also be used to carve a path for the maiden to follow.

You won’t want to do that too early on, though, as hordes of Seethe come through defiled Torii gates at night. To prepare for this, players can strategically place villagers around the village, like towers in a tower defense game, to help fend off the Seethe. Players can also fight them head-on with a variety of combo attacks that call back to Capcom’s action game roots.

Strategy gameplay in Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess.

Players keep doing this over several day-night cycles until they can get the maiden to the other Torii gate. When that happens, she and the villagers will dance to purify the gate, and players can move on. Capcom tells Digital Trends that the emphasis on dancing comes from the idea in Japanese culture that certain dances can purify things. It’s something that Japanese players will recognize, but Capcom hopes it will give a unique feel to the game in the West.

It’s a mix of gameplay that feels wholly unique to this adventure, and it rocks. It was extremely satisfying when I knew I had positioned villagers properly and a night of defending went swimmingly; it was also hectic when things started to go wrong, and I had to tactically retreat in order to ensure that no Seethe reached the Maiden. As more villager roles are unlocked and combos are learned over the course of the game, I only see Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess getting even better.

Action gameplay in Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess.

There’s also another part of the game I want to see more of: the story. I know the high-level beats about guiding the main Yoshiro down Mt. Kafuku to free it from defilement, but there are clearly more narrative elements at play. Capcom delivers this story with minimal dialogue, too, as it wants to leave the relationship between the guardian and the maiden, as well as the events of the story and it’s ending, up to players to interpret.

This is an unabashedly weird and bold game, and it was my favorite thing I played at Summer Game Fest Play Days this year because of that.  Kunitsu-Gami: Path of the Goddess will be released for PC, PlayStation 5, and Xbox Series X/S on July 19. It will also be available as part of the Xbox Game Pass catalog from the day it launches.

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Tomas Franzese
Tomas Franzese is a Staff Writer at Digital Trends, where he reports on and reviews the latest releases and exciting…
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