Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty

Ashley_Buckwell
edited September 2023 in Gaming

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is the latest release from publisher Koei Tecmo and developers Team Ninja, who are also behind the Ninja Gaiden, Dead or Alive, and Nioh franchises. Like the Nioh games, Wo Long is a Soulslike title but trades out the setting of ancient Japan with the Late Han dynasty of Ancient China, the starting point of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms period.

The game is an action RPG that features swordplay inspired by martial arts, combat that is fluid and graceful, and evasive spins and balletic leaps. It also contains some impressively animated summons and magic. The game is highly focused on combat, with players able to wield a wide variety of weapons as well as bolstering their capabilities with magical wizardry and divine beasts.

Prelaunch playable demo

Team Ninja released a playable demo for Wo Long in 2022. The demo gave players a chance to experience a general idea of what this fast-paced action game offers; however, it was only available for a limited period (from September 16 to 26) and was only playable on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. 

A second public demo dropped on February 24 and is playable on PC via Steam, PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X, and last-gen consoles, too, which is good news for anyone who missed out on the previous demo. According to an official Tweet, save data from time spent playing the demo will transfer to the final game, and completing the demo unlocks the Crouching Dragon Helmet DLC.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty Gameplay 

Wo Long focuses on Chinese martial arts; therefore, much of its gameplay is about speedy strikes and redirecting your opponent’s force. Its combat is slick, fast-paced, and stressful in the best way, even when up against standard mob enemies, which can take you out with ease if you miss just one deflect, block, or dodge.

Wo Long‘s best feature, though, is its approach to the notorious difficulty that so often defines other Soulslike titles. Although Wo Long is shaping up to be an incredibly challenging action game in its own right, the title’s fascinating and unique Morale system actually offers a way to keep the game’s difficulty in check. The Morale system replaces the usual stamina gauge that games of this genre typically use to dictate how many moves you can make before you stall out.

The Morale system, where your Morale rises as you strike enemies and decreases when you take damage, is at the core of everything in Wo Long. Take enough damage, and you can drop a full rank. You restore your Morale by defeating the enemy that took you out, something that feels like collecting souls after death in Dark Souls. Combat power is positively correlated with Morale rank.

The higher an enemy’s Morale, the harder that enemy is to defeat, but uniquely, defeating enemies in the immediate surrounding can often decrease an enemy’s Morale. By defeating each enemy on the way to a chapter’s mini-boss, players will increase their Morale, hopefully getting it high enough that they have a better chance of killing the boss. What’s interesting here is the push and pull between the urge to quickly rush to a mini-boss at a lower rank to obtain a huge Morale and experience boost and the desire to take it slow, build up your Morale by defeating enemies along the way, and challenge the boss once you have higher Morale. Of course, the latter approach involves a higher risk of dying to one of the dozen enemies along the way. Players must decide how vital their experience and Morale are before taking the risk of losing them.

Enemies also have unblockable critical attacks that can do major damage if they hit you, but this is where Wo Long‘s dodging mechanics come in. Under normal circumstances, dodging costs a lot of Morale. If you dodge at exactly the right time, however, you can redirect an enemy past you, or instantly counter them. Executing a perfect dodge on a critical strike does major harm to an enemy’s Morale and leaves them vulnerable to your attacks, so mastering the timing of dodging critical strikes is key.

Wo Long‘s unique system allows you to change an enemy’s difficulty in real-time, making it much more approachable.

The action takes priority, but something surprising about Wo Long is its characters and story. Gone are the obscure “it’s there if you look for it” narrative aspects typically seen in the genre. Instead, Wo Long presents its story with hype-inducing cutscenes, characters with in-your-face personalities, and storytelling that seems to come to you rather than you to it.

When and where is it being released

The game’s official release date is today, March 3, 2023! It will be available on PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and Series X/S, and PC (across both Steam and Microsoft Store), so most gamers should be able to find a way to play it.

It will be coming to Xbox Game Pass at launch, releasing on both the PC and console versions of the popular subscription service. So, if you are already a member of that club, you will not need to spend any extra money to try out this highly anticipated Soulslike game.

Given that Wo Long is estimated to be around 40 hours long, it looks like players will have a decent amount of time to learn how to use each character’s advanced features and the game’s unique Morale system. We will be enjoying this game for the weeks to come and we hope you will too!

To play more exciting games, be sure to check out the Xbox Game Pass and see why Xbox is an official sponsor of Acer.

Ashley is a technology writer who is interested in computers and software development. He is also a fintech researcher and is fascinated with emerging trends in DeFi, blockchain, and bitcoin. He has been writing, editing, and creating content for the ESL industry in Asia for eight years, with a special focus on interactive, digital learning.

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