Welcome to my review of Wo Long Fallen Dynasty, a thrilling action-packed game that takes you on a journey through ancient China. In this game, you’ll play as a skilled warrior fighting to restore peace to the land and defeat the evil forces threatening the kingdom. With stunning graphics, immersive gameplay, and changeups from Nioh, Wo Long Fallen Dynasty is a must-play for any fan of the Soulslike genre. But is it worth your time and money?

Controller is King

I intended to play with mouse and keyboard but that didn’t last long. The camera controls were honestly atrocious. Camera rotation barely worked so I had to rely on locking onto enemies to change direction. The deflect/dodge buttons also had severe input lag. Due to these issues, I quickly switched to a controller. There was a recent update in March that addressed the mouse issues. I have not tested if it’s truly fixed. Luckily, no issues were experienced on the controller!

How Difficult is Wo Long Fallen Dynasty?

wo long fallen dynasty gameplay

Early stages of the game will be brutal for new players to the genre. Like other Soulslike games, attacking enemies without a plan in mind will hastily conclude with death. That being said, how hard Wo Long Fallen Dynasty is will ultimately come down to two things in gameplay: memorizing attack combos of enemies and practicing the deflect technique. Most of my fun came from studying how to dominate every enemy with practice and experience!

Easier Than Dark Souls (Thankfully)

Wo Long is easier than Sekiro, Dark Souls, and Elden Ring, but I think that’s refreshing news to hear. Those games make experience points the main currency for everything. You are forced between leveling up the character or purchasing equipment/items you need. In Wo Long Fallen Dynasty, we get to spend our experience points to level up our character and then have in-game currency to pay for weapon/armor upgrades or items. Because of this example, you can see how Wo Long is a little nicer to their players.

What About Progression in Wo Long Fallen Dynasty?

I really appreciate the scaling in difficulty. The health/damage numbers are completely fair with minor difficulty spikes once a new chapter is introduced. Every few chapters, there is a new enemy with a slightly different skillset or attack combo. The very first boss (Zhang Liang), Lu Bu, and Zhang Liao are probably the toughest 3 boss fights out of 21 main bosses. Wo Long Fallen Dynasty continued to enlighten me throughout my gameplay journey until I beat the game. New Game Plus is unlocked upon completion, but you’ve pretty much seen everything there is to do by the end of the base game (until DLC comes out).

Spirit is A Wonderful Core Mechanic

wo long fallen dynasty gameplay

Wo Long Fallen Dynasty’s core gameplay mechanic is called Spirit. This system is what separates Wo Long Fallen Dynasty from similar games in the Soulslike genre, such as Dark Souls and Bloodborne. Spirit is pretty much a tug-o-war match with the stamina bar. Blocking attacks and dodging will lower the bar. Deflecting attacks and landing attacks will raise the bar. When Spirit is raised to the max, your heavy attack and martial arts do more damage and also drastically reduce the enemy Spirit. Most often, this will also result in stunning the enemy to take out another large chunk of their health.

Whoever suggested the Spirit mechanic earns my respect. What an amazing feature! I love the idea of the Spirit gauge because it calls for a true mastery of balance. Although it seems like we would hack and slash our way through a fight, top players are in full control of their Spirit bar. Understanding how enemies work, what lowers spirit, and what raises spirit will be what pulls you ahead in Wo Long Fallen Dynasty.

Wo Long Fallen Dynasty Embraces Five Element Theory

wo long fallen dynasty gameplay

Instead of the triangle counters or dual element counters found in many RPG gameplay, Wo Long Fallen Dynasty uses the Five Elements Theory. Five Elements Theory is a Chinese philosophy to describe the relationships between all living things. These elements are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. As you level up in Wo Long, skill points can be assigned to each elemental virtue, offering a mix between 5 unique playstyles.

Wood increases health and allows players to able to withstand more attacks when blocking. Fire increases attack damage and less Spirit cost for martial arts. Earth lets us wear heavier armor and gain more Spirit when deflecting attacks. Metal increases spell damage and less Spirit cost per spell. Water lowers the Spirit usage for dodging/deflecting, increases ranged attack damage, and provides advantages to stealth.

Wo Long Fallen Dynasty Set During Three Kingdoms Era

The overall plot is tough to follow for anyone not familiar with Romance of the Three kingdoms or Dynasty Warriors games. The Three Kingdoms was basically a triple threat free-for-all between the Wei, Han, and Wu dynasties. This warring period lasted between 220 AD – 280 AD.

Think of this period like a war between 3 factions. Each dynasty had different companions and families fighting over every territory. Wo Long Fallen Dynasty takes place during the Three Kingdom Period but with an arcane story twist. An evil wizard is working on an elixir of immortality. He manipulates lords to do his bidding with whispers of fulfilling their desires. He creates demons and causes chaos. Can he be stopped?

All cutscenes are fairly short so there’s no reason to not watch them. They are skippable if you prefer to fly through the game. Anyway, the main character is stabbed at the very beginning after protecting a blindfolded boy from an attacker. The boy grants you with a dragon-forged talisman to revive you. With newfound vigor, you now also gain the power to summon divine beasts, which are discovered by swearing oaths with companions.

Wo Long Fallen Dynasty Graphics Are Stunning

The visual confidence of Wo Long Fallen Dynasty at max capacity is impressive! The scenery of every mission is beautiful and heavily inspired by the aesthetics of Ancient China. The amount of detail on everything within eyesight is immaculate. You can see fur pelts on tigers, subtle blood splatters on armor, and sparks when weapons clash. Not to mention the particle effects for fire, lightning, water/ice, and poison.

I admire the art team who had to painstakingly craft individual models for all of the unique characters! This makes me really excited for another Warriors Orochi or Dynasty Warriors game because these models are looking CLEAN. Weapons and armor have a unique 2D art and unique 3D model. For people not in game development, this is an incredible feat on its own. The main headquarters is in a hidden village on a large tree within the clouds. It’s honestly just awesome.

Calculated Level Design

wo long fallen dynasty gameplay

I absolutely LOVE Wo Long Fallen Dynasty’s level design! Running through dynamic locales in Ancient China sets a tone for the story that it’s going to be a dark and twisted road. Some of those include:

  • Scorched villages
  • Bamboo forests
  • Palace dungeons
  • Fishing villages
  • Snowy mountains
  • Rooftops of a town left underwater
  • Variety of fortresses

The maps are so much fun to navigate because the topography and pathways flow together so well! Although the game is mostly linear, it doesn’t feel like a slog because you move up, down, left, and right at almost every section. It’s not just moving forward on a set path the entire time. I am impressed with the illusion that the world seems larger than what it really is.

Multiplayer Brings Friend Or Foe

wo long fallen dynasty gameplay

Up to 3 players can party together to complete missions. Since I have completed Wo Long Fallen Dynasty, I spent some time helping other players beat their next boss. I tried to find players facing Lu Bu since he’s definitely the hardest one to defeat. I only wish voice chat was available so I could provide more tips to them.

In typical Dark Souls fashion, invaders are real players who invade your session and try to kill you. I was defeated a few times when I first started. But now that I fully understand Spirit and weapon combos, I’ve battled off 5 invaders in a row. The last one tried so hard too and kept flinging poison balls at me. I don’t know, it was just hilarious in the moment.

Personal Experience

Wo Long Fallen Dynasty receives my praise because I was thoroughly impressed with how Team Ninja put this together. I play Dynasty Warriors and Warriors Orochi Ultimate so these historical Chinese characters are already very familiar to me. Some characters survive, some fight valiantly to the end, and some are stabbed in the back. It felt just like a Musou (Warriors) game but with that slow and patient Soulslike charm. Absolutely loved it from start to finish. 100% Achievement completion in 43 hours!

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