Following the recent public demo of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, we were able to go hands-on with an updated build that implemented some feedback for players. Being a high-action title, balancing has become an essential aspect that developer Team Ninja hopes to focus on. Still, I think the game finds an identity amongst other action games through its verticality and action systems.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is, first and foremost, an action game with a high level of character customization. Defining the type of warrior you want is necessary, but it comes with a learning curve or understanding the various builds you can create. In my limited time with the game, I have yet to figure out my strengths, but I felt comfortable navigating the level-up menu while adjusting my skills and magic.
The Spear was a new weapon we could wield, introducing enemy juggling to the action. While also being able to keep foes at a distance, there’s something so satisfying about getting the drop on an enemy and striking down on them with your Spear. There’s just so much about this battle system to understand and discuss that it takes a hands-on approach to learn its nuances.
Sure, the Stamina gauge has been removed, but that doesn’t give free rein to go in swinging. I quickly learned that a strategic approach is necessary, at least for your first time through a stage. However, after understanding the parry, dodge, and block actions, some truly cinematic action takes place.
Your fingers respond to the on-screen action as you learn to read enemy patterns. The on-screen info for the enemy displays their Moral which boils down to their difficulty level. Paying attention to your character’s Moral is also important, which ties into the risk-reward of approaching stronger enemies.
Exploration is also of note, as players must plant flags to increase Fortitude, which adds several benefits to gameplay. While there are main flags that act as checkpoints, other flags are hidden. Further, stages have a sense of verticality. You don’t need to walk on the ground to get to a destination. Movement and actions allow players to get on top of structures and take a more stealthy approach to get around enemies or take them out.
Combat animations were entertaining to witness. Depending on the weapon of your choice, various options will be available to you. In addition, some character builds give access to additional dodge buffs, such as the water dodge. Once you figure out the rhythm, it’s as if you are watching a high-budget action film take place.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is a challenging and unique action game that provides a version of The Romance of Three Kingdoms universe that only Team Ninja can produce. Its emphasis on straight action tied into deep character customization and cinematic animation makes it a must-play for any Nioh and Dark Souls fans. Still, the unique elements it brings to the table allow it to stand out in the crowd, which makes me excited to play more.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is coming to PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and PC via Steam and Windows on March 3, 2023.
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