Review: Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty – Team Ninja Souls

A rough start doesn’t always mean that you’ll end up with a bad finish, especially if you don’t stumble too hard along the way. This is how one’s experience may go when playing Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty on multiple platforms. If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t gotten the chance to play many of the Dark Souls-inspired games to come out in the last few years, usually called Soulsborne games, then you’re in for a real culture shock. These games are known to be difficult and often frustrating for many reasons, the least of which are the intimidating and harsh battles they throw players into. However, Wo Long doesn’t continuously beat down players that stick with it past the steep barrier of entry at the start.

The plot of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is similar to the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, but with a dark fantasy twist on everything. Players take on the role of a nameless soldier in the middle of the conflict and come across many legendary warriors as they fight off monsters and dark acolytes. Because this is a Koei Tecmo game, you may recognize many of the warriors encountered from the Dynasty Warriors franchise. And while not much is really added to their already over-the-top personalities from that series, Wo Long does manage to put all of these warriors into some crazy battles that look flashy. The nameless warrior you control does eventually outshine them with the impressive armor and weapons you gather throughout the game, but everyone still looks good the whole time.

What Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty does well however it open up more options for players who are unaccustomed to games of this genre. While there are still annoying design choices to deal with, such as interacting with a character multiple times, things like movement and your attacks in combat are much more lenient. Because of this at times, you may find yourself roaming into an area where you’ll start to notice some bad technical issues, such as texture pop-ins and disappearing obstacles. Some locations with a lot of foliage can appear barren at a distance, but then suddenly become dense within a split second. It’s rough looking, but luckily the issue doesn’t always affect gameplay in a severe way during combat or just before you’re about to engage an enemy.

Traversing areas, battlefields that are treated like stages or maps, can be interesting as you navigate obstacles and elevated terrain with a double jump. It feels so much more open than other games in the genre, edging more towards the same feeling as other Tecmo Koei games like Ninja Gaiden, but with the gameplay foundation of Nioh. You don’t feel weighted down by limited movement, but instead are able to explore your surroundings freely without much hassle.


There are a lot of similarities between Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty and other games of this genre, most of which you’ll recognize if you’ve played other games beforehand. Luckily, there are small changes in each area that help Wo Long stand out from its predecessors but in small ways. Raising banners within locations is the same as lighting a bonfire in Dark Souls, but you also have smaller banners you can raise that both heal you and mark off checkpoints within Wo Long. Other aspects like boss battles do have that small buildup to the big door you open, much like the fog you pass through in other games, but they’re preceded by a great-looking cutscene that arguably looks better and contributes to the plot more.

Leveling up is almost exactly the same as every other Souls-like game, but Wo Long plays up the theme of the five elements that tie to different aspects of your character stats, which also influence the kind of magic you can learn. Some may prefer these extra details while others may not care so much, but they do add something to make the experience a little bit better.

Combat is fierce, with battles being tense at every encounter. You’ll be fighting monsters, enemy soldiers, and multiple kinds of evil beings that will kill you at every chance they get. Attacks from enemies that have a red glow can be parried and open them up for devastating counterattacks for big damage, even though the timing can be very strict in most cases. Paying attention to movement patterns and knowing when to deflect is key to staying vigilant. However, combat can be offset by some goofy line of sight when taking a stealthier approach to enemies.

You can sneak your way up to a target that is looking at you and still manage to move around for a backstab as long as you move slowly toward it. You can even manage to get an overhead sneak attack with enemies looking in your direction if you’re at any elevation, even if it’s the slightest lift off the ground. This most certainly looks ridiculous in some situations, but you’ll appreciate the extra leeway in battles with larger beasts and deadlier enemies, especially if you can get the jump on them for extra damage. When you jump into combat without that, most battles will have you on your toes, and sometimes a quick death.

Instead of being as straightforward as other Souls-like games, Wo Long has aspects to its combat that open more attack options and opportunities for players. Your character has a morale level that increases as you take out enemies and raise banners, which unlocks new attacks and magic, as well as the momentum they have against enemies. Deflecting and parrying attacks are key to gaining the upper hand in combat, but having a high morale level is also very helpful against stronger enemies. As you level up at rest spots, you can learn stronger attacks that require higher morale levels to use but their benefits are a great payoff. At first, it can be intimidating to engage with enemies with much higher morale levels, but taking the small time to wipe out smaller enemies and discover banners can even the battlefield and encourage taking bigger risks.

If there’s one thing that can be said about Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, it’s that the first impression it gives doesn’t fully represent the whole experience it contains. For some who are already experienced with playing games like this, Wo Long might feel like a breeze to play through. But for others, there’s a lot more to look into and enjoy beyond the difficulty. Wo Long is still challenging, but manages to give players enough breathing room to tackle tougher challenges without being overly punishing or feeling unfair. While the technical issues found within definitely need improvement, the majority of the game is interesting to play through. You’ll just have to get past the annoying first-area boss to really see what this game is all about.

Have you gotten a chance to play Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty yet? What is your favorite Soulsborne game and which one do you think is the best? Post your comments down below and let us know your thoughts!

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty
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    Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty - 70%


While the beginning of the game is very harsh to get over, the rest of it afterward is interesting and different compared to other games in the genre. There are some technical issues that appear at various points, but they don’t ruin the experience, the overall presentation looks great. Combat can be fierce and challenging, while the plot may not be as intriguing for some. strives to be an apolitical, balanced and based pop culture news outlet. However, our contributors are entitled to their individual opinions. Author opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of our video hosts, other site contributors, site editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. This website contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links. We disclaim products or services we have received for review purposes, as well as sponsored posts.

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Jakejames Lugo
Jakejames Lugo
Jakejames Lugo is a writer and content creator that has been covering video games, movies, and various sides of entertainment for over a decade. He has published reviews and articles on many different outlets and continues to make content for different platforms. Jakejames also makes video content regularly for places like YouTube and TikTok, and share daily posts about gaming on social media.

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