It’s very rare nowadays when you’re looking forward to a game that it actually completely and utterly delivers on what was promised, and wo long is just that. Set in ancient China, wo long follows the story of a rebellion fighting against the vicious yellow turban army, you are a lowly soldier who is brought back to life after saving a young boys life who then (obviously) gets mysterious powers to help you defeat all of these big bads. The mighty dragon elixir of resurrection.
First off yes it is a souls like, and yes it is difficult but it for sure isn’t as tough as pretty much any other souls/like/borne that I’ve played. However it may well be my favourite soulslike to date, and my favourite game of the year so far. It’s a really hard action game with some incredibly tight controls which heavily depend on the Sekiro method of Deflect deflect deflect. However this really isn’t a negative as it does it in a very cool and unique martial arts way. There are a huge array of weapons to choose from (I used the same sword for the whole game pretty much) and a lot of pieces of armour and items, this is my only minor gripe but I’ll get to that. There are kind of 4 different types of enemy, humans, zombie humans, slightly bigger/gianty mutants and then big beasts – and these categories pretty much bleed into the bosses. Much like all of the souls games any enemy can take you out at any time so there is a lot of enemy planning and deciding which one to take on first, and much like Sekiro you can stealth attack all enemies for a one hit kill/a huge chunk off their health.
I’ve compared this to the other games a lot but it really does feel like it’s own game, apart from the bonfires (which are battle flags) and the not dying/collecting xp from that enemy that killed you and some bits of combat this really sits in it’s own bracket of tough action game set in a very cool martial arts universe. One thing that really makes it stand out is the rank system, collecting the battle flags will raise your base rank, and essentially if your rank is lower than the enemy you’re fighting you’ll struggle, ESPECIALLY with bosses. A few bosses are nearly impossible unless you get your rank up to 20 (max). This really adds a new and fun element and a great reason to explore the whole level. + If an enemy kills you then their rank will increase, making them harder to kill on your return. There were definitely one or two bosses I tried to take on with a much lower rank that absolutely kicked me to the curb, so I had to go back and find all of the flags. The bosses themselves were really fun all with their own moves to get used to and various challenges, most of them only took me a couple of tries however there are definitely a handful in this game which REALLY challenged me. My only wish is that the game had more human bosses as these were definitely the more challenging, and were the fights where I really feel I had to use all of my learned abilities. I especially felt the second to last boss didn’t really require the best of my abilities and instead caused me to try and deflect one spammy move and hide the rest of the time, but this could just be me.
Tying the whole game together is an incredibly fun and TOIGHT combat system, it feels fluid & is a pure and absolute joy to play. The parry windows are perhaps slightly larger/longer than some of it’s predecessors however some enemies can be a little more ‘spammy’ so it feels fair. What you’re really focusing on is yours, and your enemy’s parry bar (?) where it needs to be pushed to leave them open to a brutal blow that (again) either kills them or takes a huge chunk off their health. You’ll be slashing, parrying, blocking and even using magic to get through enemies. I only really used the healing magic and fireball but the game is very customisable. Which leads me on to my only slight gripe, you don’t really need the huge range of items/armour nor the coins. I changed my weapon maybe once, and my armour a handful of times yet I picked up countless items that I sold (unlocked about a third of the way in to the game) and the shop never had items that were better than mine, so I didn’t need to spend the money. However the shop did have one huge advantage, which was upgrading my weapons with materials, and some items could be broken down for their materials. So really even my negative has a positive spin.
Wo Long is an incredibly well put together action game which offers a new challenge for Souls lovers. It can occasionally show that it’s not a AAA but it’s really not that noticeable and more than makes up for it with style and fun. It’s not a game to be missed and I give it:
Written and edited by Javier.