In this review we will tell you in detail about Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, the new action RPG developed by Team Ninja and published by Koei Tecmo
If you are a lover of action RPG then for sure you will know very well Team Ninja. This Japanese software house has worked on a large number of quality titles and in recent years has focused more on soulslike.
But now the company has decided to take inspiration from another work of Fromsoftware namely An axe. Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is in fact a title that incorporates many characteristic elements of Hidetaka Miyazaki’s first GOTY and in this review we are going to examine it in detail.
Demons of the Three Realms – Review Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty
Let’s start our review by talking a little about the history by Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty. The game is set in one fantasy version of China during the Three Kingdoms period and puts players in the role of a (freely customizable) militia soldier, who is killed rescuing a boy during an attack by the Yellow Turbans. Apparently though the person you saved hid great power which he will later use to bring you back to life.
Thanks to your newfound vitality and the boy’s help, you will be able to repel both the rioters and the mysterious demons that flank them, but unfortunately you will have very little time to celebrate. In fact, immediately after your victory it will appear an evil Taoist dressed in black who will submit your companion to his will, turning him into a corrupted black dragon.
After this brief incipit, the story of the game will continue in a fairly linear way, with your protagonist moving from one battlefield to another to lend a hand to his allies and to look for clues about the mysterious Taoist. In the past, history has never been one of the bridges of strength of Team Ninja products and, unfortunately, again there was no improvement.
The events related to the wars of the three kingdoms are narrated in an extremely chaotic and imprecise way, and the various main characters are trivial and poorly characterized. All these problems cause the player to have serious problems both in following the macro-history of China and in getting attached to the characters. Obviously in this title, as in the previous works of Team Ninja, the story is nothing more than a pretext to make your protagonist fight, but it is really a pity to see that over time the software house does not seem to have made any progress in this area.
Art of War – Wo Long Review: Fallen Dynasty
Wo Long si basa su un action combat system which looks a lot like a simplified version of the Nioh one. In the game there are a large number of different weapon categories and each of them is characterized by a unique moveset. The weapon attacks though there aren’t many, since you can only perform a simple combo of light attacks and a single heavy attack (called a spirit attack). However, to make the fights more varied, it is also possible to use martial artsi.e. special attacks specifically linked to the weapon used.
Furthermore, to make the fights even more varied, it is also possible to use the spells. Spells range from simple buffs to devastating elemental attacks, and you can easily unlock them as you level up. These spells are also divided into five categories linked together by a system of weaknesses and resistances that will allow you to completely nullify some opponent attacks. For example, if an enemy is about to throw a water attack at you, you can use land-type magic (to which they are weak) to completely negate it.
The interactions between the spells are very interesting and manage to offer more tactical possibilities during the most difficult battles, but unfortunately the same is not true for melee combat and martial arts. In fact, the close combos are really too basic and, even enriching them with special moves and sudden weapon changes, they will soon start to feel repetitive, especially during fights with the most common enemies (which by the way are very little variety). Wo Long’s combat system though it is not based solely on the aspects that we have described to you so farbut also and above all on what we will talk about in the next paragraph.
Break Your Enemies – Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty Review
In Wo Long there is a particular indicator called spirit bar which will affect almost all your actions in combat. This bar starts from a neutral state and it can decrease or increase depending on certain circumstances. For example being hit, using martial arts and casting spells will cause it to decrease, while hitting enemies and successfully deflecting enemy attacks will cause it to increase.
Having the indicator in positive offers several advantages, first of all increase the effectiveness of your spirit attacks. Indeed, based on your surplus of spirit, these blows will be able to inflict greater damage and permanently reduce the opponent’s spirit bar. In fact, even the enemies will have a spirit bar just like you and if you bring it to the minimum value you can stun them and leave them at the mercy of a lethal critical hit.
During the boss fights reduce their spirit is practically the only tactic really suitable to defeat them And you can count on them to help you do that detours. By pressing the dodge key at the right time you can in fact deflect any type of attack, thus reducing the enemy spirit while increasing yours at the same time. In addition, opponents will be able to use gods as well special attacks very powerful which, if successfully deflected, will allow you to inflict even more damage to their spiritthus giving a big twist to the fights.
Given the extreme importance of the spirit bar in Wo Long’s gameplay it is natural that deflection is effectively the most important mechanic in the game. Just as happens in Sekiro, in fact, deflecting enemy attacks will often not be a possibility, but rather the only possible action. Thankfully this mechanic it was made very well indeed and the extensive use of deviation also helps to make the clashes spectacular, adrenaline-pumping and very entertaining.
Keeping your spirits up – Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty review
Among the many mechanics present in Wo Long, the most original one is certainly the morale. Morale is a value linked to your character which is normally set to zero at the start of each level indicates your combat strength. By defeating many opponents this value will increase more and more, thus also increasing your power in the same way. Besides you though even enemies will have their own morale level and of course those with a higher rank will also be more dangerous to fight. This mechanic therefore pushes the player to never avoid any clash, given that by defeating many enemies you can simplify battles with more powerful opponents.
Unfortunately, however, your morale can also decrease. In case of death, in fact, not only will you lose half of the accumulated experience points (as happens in any self-respecting soulslike), but also your morale will drop to zero. In addition, the enemy who defeated you will also get a boost to their morale, thus making it much more difficult to recover what you have lost.
Fortunately, there are ways to limit the loss of moralefirst of all the search for flags. In fact, in each level there are many battle flags, gods checkpoint which, just like the classic Dark Souls bonfires, will allow you to heal yourself, bring enemies back to life and access various functions. By interacting with these banners for the first time, however, you will also increase your level of temper for the duration of the level. The temper simply indicates the minimum morale value of your characterthus significantly reducing the disadvantages deriving from death.
The morale mechanic is really very interesting as it not only pushes the players to go through every single fight, but it also enhances Wo Long’s level design. To be able to face the bosses on equal terms in fact, it will be essential to find many flags and this pushes the players to fully explore all the levels. Levels that they also boast in this title greater care compared to those of previous Team Ninja games. Thanks to the addition of the jump in fact the developers have been able to create levels that focus a lot on the verticality and which offer players the ability to use a stealthy approach to eliminate enemies.
Chaos of Values – Wo Long Review: Fallen Dynasty
In Wo Long, as well as many other soulslikes, you can spend your experience points (called life force) to to level up. Each time you level up you can increase the value of one of the five main characteristics of the game by one. These characteristics are represented by five Chinese virtues and they will affect various parameters such as life points, the maximum weight of the equipment, the damage inflicted by weapons and so on. Leveling up will therefore be essential to improve your character, but alone it will not be enough to face the most demanding challenges. In fact, to be truly effective in combat it is essential to also use the right ones equipment.
As was the case in Nioh, here too the weapons and armor scattered throughout the levels can be obtained in different rarities. Base stats like attack for weapons and defense for armor will always be the same, but higher rarities can be obtained several additional passive effects. These bonuses will be key to crafting a good end game buildbut unfortunately for many players it will be really difficult to take each of them into account.
In fact, the bonuses are not only many but often their effects are also very vaguely explained. Also due of the huge amount of information present on the screen whenever you are dealing with equipment, it is often easy to miss the presence of very important effects. This is a major problem that Team Ninja has been carrying around since the days of the first Nioh and sadly to this day they still haven’t been able to fix it in the slightest.
A Few Technical Hiccups – Wo Long Review: Fallen Dynasty
From the point of view technician sadly Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty doesn’t seem to shine at all. The quality of the models and animations are very good, but these qualities are thrown into the shadows due to a very disappointing graphic sector. Elements such as textures, lighting and effects are quite poor and don’t seem to have improved a bit compared to those of Nioh 2, a game released more than three years ago.
Also the title is very disappointing also in terms of performance. We have tried the game on PlayStation 5 and, although we had selected the mode that favors the…