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New Soulslike Game is a solid marriage between Nioh and Sekiro

A Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty depiction of the player character slipping away from the battle for a brief moment.

“Okay, pfff, I need a breather.”
Screenshot: Team Ninja

Soulslikes, a genre of punishing action RPGs popularized by Japanese developer FromSoftware, are all too common these days. Since Dark souls came on the market in 2011 and a number of studios have tried out FromSoft’s iconic formula. Some try to mix things up by introducing new mechanics like Deadly shell with its hot-swappable “shell” classes that give players variety. Others, such as hunebed, misunderstanding what makes these games great with slow combat and linear level design. And then there is Wo Long: fallen dynastythe forthcoming Team Ninja (no, Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin) game that presents a solid, if familiar, sampling of various Soulslike tropes and provides an accessible entry into the genre.

Wo Long: fallen dynasty puts you in the shoes of an unnamed, customizable militia soldier fighting for survival in a fantastical interpretation of China’s Three Kingdoms period. You’ll fight alongside well-known historical figures, including the strategist Cao Cao and the warlord Liu Bei, slaying savage beasts, common foot soldiers, and demonic monsters as you roam ancient China. If you think no but you’re in the right place in historical China.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty explores the stage

And that’s probably the most apt description of it Wo Long: fallen dynasty: no meets An axe with a touch Bloodborne, all in an ancient Chinese setting. There’s dodging and parrying, plenty of loot to collect (from armor to weapons to firearms), a stance bar to manage, and a plethora of tough (sometimes macabre) bosses to fight. This assortment of genre tropes means any muscle memory from other Soulslikes will carry over into one Wo Long: fallen dynasty play on. While it may sound reductive to call the game a compendium of FromSoft mechanics, this just makes it easy to pick up and play. And even if you’re not familiar with Soulslikes, the game does a good job of getting newbies on board with extensive on-screen tutorials.

Take parrying for example. A maneuver to deflect incoming attacks and launch fatal counter-attacks if an enemy is sufficiently weakened and deflects Wo Long: fallen dynasty is faster than in it no and An axe. The timing window is short. Throw out a parry too early or too late and you’ll inevitably take damage and wear yourself out, meaning you’re open to devastating death if you spam the move too many times. But throughout the game, it will display helpful on-screen guides (which can be further explored in various sub-menus) reminding you how and when to use the parry so that it is most effective. This may sound rudimentary (especially to FromSoft fans who subscribe to the “get gud” logic), but continued tutorials in a genre notorious for beating you help lower the barrier to entry. Wo Long: fallen dynasty wants you to succeed despite constantly giving your body, and I can appreciate that.

A Wol ​​Long: Fallen Dynasty depiction of a zombie enemy grabbing a foot soldier, perhaps preparing to smash his face in.

“Yeah, I’m about to fuck you.”
Image: Team Ninja

Nowhere is this encouragement more evident than in the moral classification system. A floating number above the health bar, everyone in it Wo Long: fallen dynasty, including yourself, has a moral rank. The higher the number, the stronger the enemy. Die and your morale drops. You can increase this number by killing enemies, with more challenging enemies rewarding a greater morale boost. But in addition to beating creatures and goons to a pulp, exploration becomes a viable method of raising your moral rank by finding and lifting battle flags lying around a location. Flags, the rendition of this game Dark soulsBonfires, are battle rests that not only allow you to level up and customize skills, but also increase your steadfastness rank, which is kind of a bottom for your morale.

For example, if your morale rank is 16 while your fortitude rank is 14, no matter how many times you die, your morale will never drop below 14. marker flags specifically targeting your fortitude) the stronger and more able to fight tougher enemies you become. You are no longer relegated to grinding up the same handful of opponents at a nearby rest point. By exploring ancient China, raising battle and marker flags, Wo Long: fallen dynasty encourages you, whether you’re a Soulslike novice or veteran, to take risks and rewards you for it with an exotic location, interesting loot, or captivating boss design.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty Fengxi Boss Battle

And believe me, you will need that determination and moral ranks to be as high as possible. Wo Long: fallen dynasty, despite being more accessible than other games in the genre, is still damn hard. You will die many times, and the game has no problem pitting you against multiple combatants at once, as if they were your private tomb attendants. This, however is a compendium of well-known Soulslike mechanics. So you have An axe‘s stance bar (here called the spirit meter), a double jump a la Elder Ring‘s Torrent, a deflection reminiscent of both no and An axeand some disturbing encounters with enemies that remind me of it Bloodborne. All this is to say Wo Long: fallen dynasty is an excellent melting pot of Soulslike ideas that welcomes newcomers to the genre while providing ample challenge for old-timers looking for a bruise. Seriously, it rules.

I only had the opportunity to play a preview of the game, which lasted about five hours with a few different locations to explore. But based on what I see Wo Long: fallen dynasty so far, Team Ninja seems poised to come through with another solid Soulslike. Sure, it looks a lot like it no and An axebut there’s enough difference here (apart from the oft-ignored Chinese setting) that makes this an intriguing game worth checking out. Wo Long: fallen dynasty launches on March 3 for PC, PlayStation consoles, and Xbox systems. I’m excited about this one, y’all.

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