An ingenious new progression system based on morale and character scaling has been the big surprise in this installment
Team Ninja once again invites us to brandish the katanas in a new RGP adventure with the so characteristic Japanese cut to which we are accustomed. Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is a new project that embraces the darkest and most disturbing Japanese folklore, with a reactive, fast and ruthless combat. Team Ninja has already shown that they know the terrain, but… can they go further?
This new IP intends uncheck previous jobs of the company, and although it brings very interesting news, it fails to do so completely. Below I will tell you about my experience with this new proposal, which got my attention since its first ad.
- The level progression system is very well thought out.
- The combat is a very complete
- Good replayability thanks to the different build options
- The story is pretty loose
- There are somewhat questionable control decisions
- Lots of looting and unintuitive menus
It’s not Nioh 3, but it doesn’t quite stand out either
I really liked Nioh when I played them, especially nioh 2, which was when, for my taste, the formula was refined. The Niohs have had a good life in recent years, and when Wo Long was announced I was surprised to see how they had decided to change their IP despite the fact that the essence of the game screamed Nioh at full volume. The game has turned out to be, for me, almost a “Nioh 3”, with all the bad and good that that entails. At a graphic level it is noticeable a qualitative leapbut both the animations and the scenarios do not provide a big enough jump to be considered a different IP.
The structure of the game is exactly the same as in Nioh, with large maps to explore and regions where we progress little by little. In this installment there is more side quests and more things to do in general, but if you’re used to Nioh’s pace of action, that’s what you’re going to find here. If you’ve liked previous Team Ninja games, go for this one, but I personally I would have liked them to risk a little more.
There is one thing in particular that has hurt me to see return in Wo Long, and that is the looting system. I understand this can be personal, but in Nioh I hated to see how my inventory became the most accurate representation of the diogenes syndrome. I like RPGs, I like to compare stats, but looting in Wo Long it’s still too much for my taste. Reducing the parameters to a simpler scheme or giving a more accessible option to change them would save us a lot of time fumbling with menus and deciding what is worth selling or not.
A reactive and frenetic combat system
In the combat system it is divided into three possible action sequencesthe attacks, spells and abilities. It’s a simple approach but it works after all, access to the different actions is easy and the fights can become as complex as you want. I personally like when weapons have their own skill kit, but in this game the “swords” feel a bit artificial.
If you like to focus on melee combat, your best option is to try the different types of weapons, which is where the sauce of the game really is. The real variety in combat is achieved by switching between spells and abilities, so if you’re a button masher you’ll soon get bored of the character doing the same thing every time you press the button. What I do like about combat is that is very reactive, and detours are an indispensable part of the “choreography” with enemies. You can block attacks against your character, but the most profitable thing will always be to study the timing well to divert at the right time and leave the opponent vulnerable to a spectacular critical hit. However, I do have a Team Ninja complaint: putting the same button to deflect and to dodge is a bad idea.
I have played on PS5, and for the character to dodge I had to quickly press the circle twice, because if I did it just once, the character would do the deflect animation. The parry window in this game is pretty wide, so I guess they made it for prevent people from spamming youbut I think it was a mistake. The comparisons are odious, but I think some controls raised as Sekiro did, manage to generate much more satisfaction when parrying. When it comes to something as crucial as dodging, I think it’s a mechanic that deserves its own imputation.
This game is intended as a multiplayer experience, and even if you prefer to play alone, the game “forces” you to carry a non-playable companion. This has its good points and its bad points. The good thing is that it is an obvious help when you are overwhelmed by enemies, since they will end up focusing on you in the end. The bad news is that it obviously deprives you of an individual experience, with each enemy you encounter in a head-to-head engagement.
If you like to cooperate in games of this type and always use companions in this RPG genre, the way the game handles it is fine. I personally, I prefer the experience on my own.
Finally some “collectibles” with sense
The character scaling system is The best of the game from my point of view, because it replaces the infamous collectibles with a real and worthwhile reason to continue exploring the map. Apart from the level and the attributes that we choose, the most important parameters of our character when advancing through the levels will be their health points and their morale points. Hit points work as usual, but morale is a very interesting concept. In each area the enemies start with a certain level of morale, which usually goes up as we progress. The moral makes them stronger and more tankyand as you eliminate them, your own morale level goes up.
Little by little you will be able to face more enemies and advance organically through the zones, but if you die, your morale resets to the last value you recorded, although you can recover the points if you kill the enemy that killed you before. Morale is like a character “level” within stages, and in this game the collectibles are little flags that they increase your maximum morale levelso that if you die, you don’t have to start from scratch.
This motivates you to explore, as the higher your maximum morale, the easier it will be for you to move around this certain level. The bosses they are easier when you have activated all the flags, and you really feel a very satisfying sense of progress. The large flags also function as checkpoints, where you can level up your character and buy or sell items. This way of encouraging exploration seemed very interesting to me, since it invites you to explore the map and clean zone by zone to find all the flags.
How hard is Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty?
We are facing a new “soullike”which for many already makes it fall into the category of hard games. Although the constant comparisons with Dark Souls of this type of game always annoy me, they are the best way to understand the philosophy behind progress and difficulty.
If you come from Nioh you will find a very similar difficulty curve, but in this case instead of grinding levels to make your life easier, the best thing is to explore. The morale and control flags system provides a very interesting alternative to farming, and really motivates the player to keep going deeper into the levels under the promise that the effort will be rewarded with a more benevolent path.
Even so, it’s a complicated game. We have already mentioned that the parry window is quite wide, but most enemies They don’t have such telegraphed attacks as to see them coming clearly. That’s why I miss a button to dodge, a gap closer that allows me to get away fast from danger without having to spam the same button like crazy.
The positive part of the infinite number of objects What you get is that if you are methodical enough to take into account the enemies’ weaknesses, the levels can be easier. The game works with a basic weakness system: water defeats fire, fire defeats metal… that kind of approach. You can have two pieces of armor that offer you the same protection, but each of them with some special characteristic that makes it strong (or weak) against a specific element. If you are one of those who likes to spend time in menus choosing your arsenal well, here you will find a good and comforting experience.
bosses and history
I liked the bosses in this game. In a title of these characteristics, the final enemies are the sauce that engamas everything, the actual reward for beating each level. The fights are well balanced and generally quite fair. There are some bosses that seemed a bit “cheap” to me, and reminded me (not in a good way) of the Deacons of Darkness in Dark Souls III.
But that’s a small exception, which I honestly allow given how gigantic and vast the game is. The more time passes, the more allergy such extensive games give me, but in this case Wo Long has managed to keep my attention in part thanks to the final enemies. Taking on the level boss after you’ve explored his entire area and organically reached his morale level is very satisfying. It always feels fair.
At the design level we find everything, but it is no secret that Team Ninja is crazy about demons. In most cases we will be faced with impossible animal hybrids in a playable homage to darker Japanese folklore. They take their licenses when it comes to Japanese legends and traditions in order to create increasingly aberrant monstersBut that’s a positive in my opinion.
I am not going to spend much time talking about the history since, unfortunately, there is not much to talk about. The approach that surrounds the entire game revolves around the quest for immortality by the main antagonist, and your mission to stop him. Although cliché, the approach can be attractive to the public, but it slips above all in character development.
As we progress on our way we will meet characters who then we can call for our helpbut the game does not have time to develop an interesting arc for each of them, since when they change zones, they become almost irrelevant.
Wo Long Final Rating: Fallen Dynasty
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty isn’t a game for everyone, but if it wins you over in its first 2-3 hours, it can be very enjoyable. If you like soulslike, you will surely have a good time squeezing its mechanics, but if Sekiro is your favorite game, don’t expect to find that here. This game sometimes reminds me more of Dynasty Warriors than other examples with the same genre, but if that sounds like a positive to you, then you’re in luck.
The story is weak, and the combat mechanics were not bad at all a new approach, but if you liked the company’s previous works, I’m sure you’ll enjoy this installment. If this is your first taste of the genre and you’re drawn to the approach to combat and design, you’re also unlikely to be disappointed.