While Team Ninja has certainly shifted course in the games it’s developed over the years, one thing’s for sure – it loves a challenge. The Ninja Gaiden games were anything but easy; and the developer also put players through their paces with a pair of Nioh adventures.
Now we have Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, probably the closest thing the company has gotten to any sort of Souls-like experience. It’s brutal, to say the least, and has a heavy emphasis on both attacking and defensive technique. Fail to do one properly, and you’re likely to succumb quickly.
Clearly it’s not a game for rookie players – unless they’ve suddenly gotten really good at games like Elden Ring – but those veterans that live and breathe games like this will absolutely love what Wo Long has to offer. Provided you survive, of course.
Big Trouble In Little China
The game puts you in the shoes of a soldier that’s fighting enemies chasing after an elixir that could grant its drinker immortality. As you might guess, a dangerous few want to get their hands on it, and would even kill for it.
The cool thing about the story is that it’s very Romance of the Three Kingdoms-like, but without the heavy-handed strategy. That’s fine, as the lore is fairly easy to follow, and you may even recognize some of the more challenging enemies to come your way.
Wo Long’s battle system will take time to master, as it relies pretty heavily on parrying perfect attacks so you can throw in your own. You’ll also need to dodge and attack enemies where needed, while keeping a steady supply of health potions to avoid succumbing and warping back to your last checkpoint (which can be a ways off).
You can build up Spirit to unlock your character’s potential along the way, but the bottom line here is that you’re going to be in for some serious battling. Wo Long doesn’t disappoint on this end, save some end-of-game stuff that’s a little duller than expected. But the rest of the journey is worthwhile, though some fights will certainly have you cursing out your elders if you’re not careful. (“Dang it, Grandma!”)
Overall, it handles beautifully, but requires patience in order to be truly mastered. But that’s something a lot of games of this type ask for, so it’s not entirely new. Just be ready for a fight.
So How’s It Perform?
While Wo Long has its gameplay in the right place, the presentation can be off at times. This is mainly due to some frame rate issues and missing details here and there. Some levels in the game are particularly muddy, while others are absolutely gorgeous. It’s like the art team didn’t know when to stop taking certain breaks.
That said, the animations are good, the enemy design is luxurious, and the battle techniques are fun to watch as they’re properly executed. You can also get in some good looking stealth kills if you’re talented enough.
The audio isn’t bad either, with thematic music playing (particularly during boss fights) and some decent voicework. Still, the companion that follows your warrior does have a bit of chattiness to him, and he won’t leave your side. So prepare for an earful.
I do wish more was done with Wo Long’s pacing, as well as smoothing over some of its visuals. But for the most part, Team Ninja continues its trend of tough but exciting action experiences with Fallen Dynasty. It’s fun to play (once you master the system) and has a good deal of content to offer, even if it does dry up a little towards the end. But if you’re one of those “it’s the journey not the destination” thinkers, you won’t mind carving up a few ancient soldiers.
The Bottom Line:
Another good Souls-like entry in the growing genre, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is definitely your speed if you’re all about brutal, unforgiving action.
Need a new console to play Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty on? We’re giving one away!
Leave a Reply