It’s no secret that I am a Souls fanboy. It’s also no secret that I absolutely adore most games that make an attempt at the Souls formula (Soulslikes) and will consume every ounce of media that I can get my hands on if it involves respawning enemies, hard but fair gameplay and stat builds up the wazoo. Of these Soulslikes – Nioh – and it’s subsequent sequel have always been at the very top of my tier list when it comes to overall quality. So, it was with truckloads of hype and expectations that I went into the Team Ninja developed Wo Long Fallen Dynasty demo… but is it any good?
For the uninitiated, Wo Long is developed by the same team who developed the aforementioned Nioh games, but instead of a focus on Japanese Samurai and demons, they instead opted to base a game around Chinese Martial Arts and mythology. What ensues is a game that plays very much like Nioh but with more of an emphasis on speed and aggression as opposed to carefully placed sword strikes which Nioh is best known for.
The gameplay itself feels quite a bit easier than Nioh, however I am unsure if this is just because I am a lot more of a veteran of the genre now and how they must be played. With the emphasis on speed the game seemed to flow a lot better throughout the entirety of the demo.
I felt the game looked incredibly crisp and refined, and whilst the demo almost exclusively took place in a mountain range once I delved deep into a cave to face the demo’s boss I could really see all the care and little details that Team Ninja has put into the title. Enemy and monster design is also incredible. In particular there is a lightning firing bird monster who I died against a few times that I couldn’t help admiring as it stood over my still twitching corpse.
I have spoken to a few people who are not fans of the Soulslike genre and they too have noted that they are absolutely loving Wo Long, so I think if another demo comes out, even if you aren’t a fan of the genre you should still give it a go to see what you think. I believe that this, like Elden Ring, could be an entry level game for people wanting to see more of the Soulslike genre.
The gameplay itself was said to be a drastic change from Nioh before it but if I am being honest, aside from being quicker and a few button mapping changes, Wo Long feels very much like Nioh. The biggest exception is the Chinese setting which is in no way a bad thing and I absolutely adored the demo and what I have been able to play thus far.
I spent around 5-6 hours in the demo, completing it a couple of times to really get a feel for each of the different weapon types and explore every nook and cranny. Usually I will do this to ensure that when I comes to writing about a demo, I can come at it with all the information possible but this time I just kept replaying because once Wo Long got its hooks into me I couldn’t stop playing it. I loved every second I spent with it and immediately hunted down pre-orders when I was done.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is currently expected to release in early 2023. Did you venture into the demo? What did you think? Did you find it too hard? Let me know in the comments below!
Written by Luke.
Edited by Alexx.