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Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty Review It’s Just A Wonky Nioh 3

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty Review is a highlight reel of other Souls-likes, never managing to carve out its own identity.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is Nioh in everything but name. The only major difference is the deflecting mechanic that makes it feel like a clunkier Sekiro. Derivative doesn’t even begin to cut it, but the sharp blade of my sword does, so I press on. After ripping my way through a few foot soldiers and a pissed-off demon tiger,

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty Review – It’s Just A Wonky Nioh

Lo and behold, when he ‘dies’, a cutscene plays and he turns into a giant, demonic monster. I whittle his health down until I can use my divine beast to finally step out of the prologue and into the wider world, only he destroys my beast in a second cutscene, sending me back to square one. I just described the opening of Wo Long, but the exact same thing happens in the first Nioh.

Fallen Dynasty Review

Granted, I like Nioh and Sekiro. Put the two together and I’ll probably have a good time, and I suppose I did here in parts—I’m a sucker for Souls-likes, and all the motifs are there in Wo Long. You have to carefully time attacks, there are replenishing healing flasks, dodging is pivotal, and you save at bonfires that reset everything, all leading to a boss. In Wo Long, the bonfires are flags,

which are also its most (and one of its only) unique features. Capturing each flag increases your fortitude, which is the number your morale rank drops to when you die. The higher your morale rank, the less damage you take. In essence, capturing all the flags makes the area easier.

Fallen Dynasty


The downside is that the zones themselves aren’t that interesting to explore. For one, loot is a convoluted mess—like Nioh, Wo Long has a Diablo-esque system that fills your inventory with the same weapons and armour, but with different boons and quality ratings. One might even have a plus 132 percent tickle resistance bonus.

Okay, maybe not ‘tickle resistance’, but something just as meaningless that you can fully ignore. I used the first sword and set of armour from start to finish, and I found Wo Long to be one of the easiest Souls-likes I’ve ever played. Faffing with a hoard that would make Smaug blush just wasn’t worth the headache.

When I stopped bothering with flags entirely, the difference in difficulty felt negligible, so the novel idea of fully exploring a level to make bosses more manageable fell apart almost immediately. Even when I stopped caring and started rushing to the boss, I found most of the flags anyway due to how tiny the levels are. The already-small-zones are split into even smaller areas separated via a menu.

There’s no cohesive flow from level to level, and no potential for backtracking—even in 2011, this would’ve been archaic, since Dark Souls dropped that approach from its predecessor Demon’s Souls (which itself did it better back in 2009). The sense of adventure is carefully shuffled off in favour of arcade-like levels with lacklustre rewards.

Fallen Dynasty


What adventure left isn’t worth much, anyway. Every character is a walking trope. You come across valiant knights and damsels in distress, as well as distant fathers and backstabbing friends. I don’t remember a single name, but I remember each bog-standard archetype that not once subverted expectations.

A huge part of that is because the majority of dialogue is exposition, and each level ends with animated cutscenes that throw an endless barrage of lore at you. Something so few Souls-likes understand is that the appeal of FromSoftware games is the mystified unreliable narrator and cast of characters defined by their bizarre personalities.

Fallen Dynasty

Wo Long instead chooses to drown itself out in a sea of needless information that leaves no room for its characters, of which there are far too many, likely to pad out the NPC co-op roster.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is, at best, a serviceable Souls-like. If you enjoy Nioh and Sekiro, it’s a fun bit of filler, but it’s derivative and bloated, serving as a highlight reel of previous Souls-likes while missing the point of what made its inspirations, and even predecessors, unique to begin with


Is Wo Long hard?

Wo Long is not an easy game, nor is it a short game, but please believe me when I say that it is worth the nearly forty hour time investment. Unlike traditional action games, Wo Long does not award aggressiveness, in fact, it punishes it. This is a game for those with patience.

Will Wo Long fallen dynasty have character creation?

Character Creation Codes are special Codes for Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty that allow players to share their original character creations. You can save and upload your character settings to the server to generate and share a Character Creation Code with other users. For details on options, see Character Creation.



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