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Team Ninja’s new action game Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty got a playable demo so we got some hands-on time with the game and prepared both a written and video preview below.
This demo will run from now until September 25th, and those who manage to complete the demo will earn in-game rewards that will be unlocked when they progress to the full game when it releases in 2023.
So far with my time in Wo Long: Fallen Dynastyit feels like i’m playing Niohbut takes place in China, which shouldn’t be a surprise since this is the same studio that made Nioh After all. Watch a narrated video preview below:
The game takes place during the Three Kingdoms era in China and fans of history, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Dynasty Warriorsor Chinese mythology and Chinese horror stories will find a game filled with fantastic content and creatures.
Before I talk about the gameplay itself, I want to give a pleasant mention to the character creator. The character creation system i Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is very robust and well made. There are a lot of details that can be used to really make your character your own.
You can customize your race, your gender, and there’s even an option to choose your own personal pronouns, but that option isn’t in the demo itself. Not that it mattered to me, I also want to go the route of creating a sturdy ancient warrior with heavy armor and a Padao or Cresent Glaive.
During my time with the demo, I tried out two different character builds, a healing build that started me with medium armor and a bronze sword, and a defense build that started me with the aforementioned heavy armor and a Padao.
Looking at my time with Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, I spent a lot more time playing the heavy armor build because that’s just my playstyle. I like to rely on high defense, slow movement, and ranged weapons to keep myself alive.
Having played Nioh before I was very comfortable Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty the moment I picked up the controller and dived into the game. Although the gameplay didn’t seem difficult at first, I quickly realized how dangerous it could be to fight more than one enemy at a time.
Several times I got overwhelmed very easily just running into two bandit mooks at once. The demo starts in the mountains where you fight against members of the Yellow Turbans, a Taoist death cult turned mountain bandits. Before long, though, you’ll encounter zombies and other monsters as you travel through the mountains.
As you play, you’ll come across banner stands, which function similarly to bonfires in one Souls game, or shrines in Nioh. An interesting twist though is that for every banner you place, your minimum strength will increase. This means that when you die, you can only lose as much strength as your banner stand scores.
This system rewards players for exploration and helps avoid issues with backtracking and grinding. You’ll also notice that when you lock onto an enemy, they’ll have a number next to their health bar, which would be their strength or “strength” score.
If an enemy seems too strong for you to take on and their strength score is too high, you may be better off avoiding them for now and trying to get your own rank higher before returning to get them down.
The combat in the demo is fun, it feels really fast paced and flashy. The addition of the visceral execution moves on exhausted enemies is a nice bonus that carries over Nioh as well. Honestly, I only encountered one problem with the gameplay and that was with the lock system.
There were times when I tried to lock onto an enemy in front of me and the camera would prioritize an enemy that was far away and not even on my screen. It didn’t happen too often, but in a game where enemies have some devastating power attacks that can one- or almost one-shot you, a good lock-on system feels like it should be key.
One thing I really enjoy is the amount of customization you have with your character. With the actual appearance of my character, as well as the weapons, armor, and magic in the game, it definitely feels like Team Ninja puts an emphasis on letting the player create their perfect build.
The visual i Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty are also good. So far, the only thing I’ve noticed is that sometimes enemies that are far away will have funny animations, like they skip frames entirely and just shake as they walk around.
However, this isn’t an issue when fighting up close, and I’ve been informed by a source at Koei Tecmo US that the development team is already aware of this issue and working to fix it. The actual animations of my own character as I navigated the world, fighting enemies and looting gear were top notch.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty feels as good as Nioh‘s animation, but at the same time had this Chinese presentation. The way my character held her weapons, moved her body and swung her blade felt very distinctly Chinese rather than a simple Nioh reskin. There has definitely been an attention to detail here that I will highlight by Team Ninja.
Another issue I noticed was when I was playing that the frame rate dropped at times that didn’t make sense to me. The dives were never severe enough to take me out of the experience completely, but it was noticeable enough that I could definitely see it from time to time. However, I hope this is just an issue with the demo and will be fixed for the full release in 2023.
I have really enjoyed my time with Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty so far i haven’t finished the demo yet as i keep making stupid mistakes and getting my head kicked in but i hope to finish it before the end day on the 25th.
Even if I don’t finish the demo, I know I’ll be picking this game up day one and gearing up for a full playthrough as soon as possible. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about one Soulful/Nioh-esque Before. The setting is right for the right leg.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty launching sometime in early 2023 across Windows PC (via Steam), Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5, and will be available on Xbox Game Pass on day one.