#Overview: Wo Lengthy: Fallen Dynasty

Overview: Wo Lengthy: Fallen Dynasty

Don’t overlook to dam!

Man, it’s nice to see Staff Ninja again once more.

The pair of Nioh video games might be sufficient for them to be tapped into the collective motion participant’s hivemind, however they’ve adopted these up with Stranger of Paradise (which has a fantastic mechanical basis, amid some insane story selections) and now, Wo Lengthy: Fallen Dynasty. Let’s dig into what makes the latter really feel like a religious successor to the Nioh collection whereas sustaining its personal id.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Wo Lengthy: Fallen Dynasty (PC, PS4, PS5 [reviewed], Xbox One, Xbox Collection X)
Developer: Staff Ninja
Writer: Koei Tecmo
Launched: March 3, 2023
MSRP: $59.99

Wo Lengthy is an Onimusha-like story (subbing out Oda Nobunaga for another person) set within the Three Kingdoms interval of Chinese language historical past. There’s demons, there’s historic figures, and there’s chaos. I used to be instantly bought on the setting due to how distinctive it’s, even with a long time of Dynasty Warriors/Musou to not directly examine it to. The narrative construction, which is participating however restrained, is woven by means of a linear mission construction (with aspect missions). So so much like Nioh. No it’s not an open world romp, however not each recreation wants to make use of the open world components. We’ll discuss how that pays off quickly, however first, the motion!

I haven’t spent this a lot time acclimating to an motion recreation in…I don’t how how lengthy, and it’s fairly exhilarating.

Wo Lengthy has so many techniques to study (parrying, dodging, blocking, magic, skills, character builds) that it may be overwhelming, and the primary boss might be going to stomp lots of people. It’s not at the same time as accessible as say, Nioh was. However it’s additionally extraordinarily rewarding when you choose even one of many above ideas up, and permits for a bit extra of an open-ended strategy than plenty of related video games.

I used to be blown away at how a lot consideration I really paid to a number of the recreation’s tutorial segments, lots of which clarify the spirit system — a vital by means of line mechanic that governs how the motion bedrock works. Most actions (like blocking, dodging, or casting a spell) will draw out of your spirit gauge, and doing an excessive amount of (working over the meter) will fatigue your character shortly. To realize meter you’ll must strike with gentle assaults, which fortunately additionally do harm. In different phrases, the designers don’t need you to turtle (play defensively) an excessive amount of with out dispensing and happening the offensive.

The push and pull of all of it is tough to get used to at first. One fascinating aspect of Wo Lengthy is that it places a lot emphasis on making parrying appear interesting upfront, however it’s not the one path to victory. A well-timed parry will cease an assault, acquire some spirit, and open up most enemies for a giant punishment window (and in some instances, even straight up weaken bosses). If you may get to the purpose the place you’re parrying a fast flurry of assaults then putting again, it’s much more empowering. However it’s removed from the one strategy to go on the defensive.

Not solely do you have got a fairly efficient dodge roll, however your block skill is extraordinarily helpful. Blocking can hold enemies at bay past red-flashing important assaults (which should be dodged, parried, or stopped by means of staggering), and so long as you have got the spirit gauge for it, you possibly can hold your dukes up. You will want to get some hits in to maintain that engine working, however studying the home windows through which you are able to do that’s intuitive, and may even require a change in tact for every boss. That extends to all the martial arts skills and spells you possibly can purchase, in addition to the construct alternative you go for (whether or not it’s placing factors into well being to keep away from getting taken out rapidly, or having confidence in your skill to dam/parry, inserting factors into an even bigger spirit gauge).

Boss design is basic Staff Ninja, who typically does a improbable job of balancing smaller scale humanoid fights with gigantic beasts (a few of these humanoid large bads even flip into beasts!). The previous bouts really feel distinct too, as you’ll use fully completely different ways in opposition to smaller targets than you’ll when preventing bigger enemies with extra armor and poise. Wo Lengthy even has that intestine punch of “oh hey I beat this boss and haven’t any well being potions left, that was shut…wait that was simply actually half the battle, the following part is more durable and there’s no checkpoint.” That’s not each encounter, and it could actually get irritating, however that system is in place all the identical.

Screenshot by Destructoid

Then you have got the morale mechanic, which is sort of a meta-system that governs energy, and gives energy to enemies who slay you in battle (in lieu of say, dropping a pile of expertise factors on the bottom). It’s not one thing that you must actually stress about on a regular basis, however being proactive and never taking up each enemy can assist make some ranges a little bit extra manageable.

One other standout energy of Wo Lengthy is the way it treats exploration. So that you might run straight for the boss in lots of instances, ignoring a vital improve that permits you to up your well being potion most, or a model new kind of weapon present in a chest on the finish of a prolonged path stuffed with elites. However you’d be at an obstacle with out these gadgets, however if you happen to can hack it with parrying/blocking, you possibly can punch far above your weight.

Most individuals will profit from that “coaxing out” of exploration, which is a deliberate design alternative. You’ll plant extra banners for extra checkpoints and accrue a better morale ranking if you happen to go off the crushed path. Thoughts, all of that is finished with out making ranges pointlessly enormous, to the purpose the place adventuring turns into a chore. It’s a improbable give and take — gallivanting by means of that bespoke degree design — that I loved experiencing all through Wo Lengthy‘s runtime.

Screenshot by Destructoid

All of it is a fairly breezy recollection of how I interacted with Wo Lengthy over the course of about 10 hours, and never everybody goes to have the identical response. However there are plenty of avenues to success, whether or not it’s clicking with sure builds that you just gel with, co-op (we primarily skilled the baked-in NPC co-op system, however there shall be on-line co-op at launch), or sheer grit.

I need to stress that Wo Lengthy just isn’t going to be for everybody. It may be extraordinarily punishing, particularly if you happen to’re butting heads with the parry system. However the setting, the aesthetics, and motion sensibilities from a discovered group made all of it value it to push by means of and recover from that hump. I hope Koei Tecmo has one other one in every of these up their sleeve.

[This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]


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