Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty Hands-on Impressions

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty Hands-on Impressions

By  Mike Crewe - 2nd Mar 2023

Wo Long, and goodnight!

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty Hands-on Impressions

A brand new souls-like is here! Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is brought to us by developer KOEI TECMO, the team behind tough as nails series’ such as Nioh and Ninja Gaiden. Having had the chance to play the full game ahead of release, we’ve got some initial impressions of the title, and will be giving you some insight on what to expect on its release.

Whilst Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty has ties to a period of Chinese history (the Later Han Dynasty) this is far from being a faithful representation of the era. This is a dark fantasy action RPG with enough monsters, demons, and hulking beasts of men to go up against. If you’ve played any of the DARK SOULS series (or the countless other titles in the genre) then you’ll have a fairly good idea of what to expect. Flashy, intense combat, intricate level design, and death. Lots and lots of death.

It should come as no surprise that Fallen Dynasty can be a tough time. It’s punishing, but never unfair. No defeat was ever because of cheap spam attacks from an enemy, but because I had mistimed a parry, or rushed right at a boss as they were charging an unblockable move. Similar to other games like it, it’s all about patience, learning an enemy’s attack patterns, and going in for the kill. What sets Fallen Dynasty apart from its peers, however, is the lightning-fast pace of combat, and some unique mechanics that allow you to constantly be on the offensive.

There is no stamina bar to be seen here, instead you must keep an eye on your spirit gauge, which lowers as you perform special attacks (such as unleashing the incredibly powerful Divine Beasts), block, or use the many Wizardry spells available. Quick attacks and parries will increase this meter, so you can manoeuvre around the battlefield and dodge as much as you like without fear of screeching to a halt to catch your breath. Each enemy has their own spirit gauge, which when depleted, will allow you to perform a Fatal Strike, taking off a good chunk of their health, if not outright killing them.

Something else Wo Long introduces is the Morale Rank system. This is a number given to you and each enemy in the game, indicating strength. It produces a satisfying risk and reward system; do you try and tackle the enemy with a level 10 morale, or grind out some lower levels to beef yourself up? Every death will lower your rank (and if a foe finished you off, their rank will increase) and it resets to 0 in each level, so it’s always worth boosting it as much as possible!

Exploring each level is not only rewarding — with secret enemies to face and new equipment to uncover — but almost essential for getting past the storyline’s bosses. Scattered across each area are Battle Flags, which act as safe zones where you can improve your character's stats, buy new gear, and more. These flags will also increase your Fortitude Rank, which ensures your Morale Rank never decreases past the current Fortitude level.

Performance-wise, the game runs pretty smoothly, which is essential due to how fast the combat is, and whilst it isn’t the most stunning-looking title on the market, it sure has some beautiful environments and incredibly detailed and unique character designs. Combine that with the melancholic, yet beautiful soundtrack, and this is definitely a game you can get engrossed in. Just be careful of the beasts lurking around every corner!

Those were our first impressions of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, and what a fantastic time we’ve had playing it! Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have some more demons to slay!

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