in ,
- Advertisment -

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty Review – Heart and Souls-lite (PS5)

png 20230302 110109 0000

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is the latest entry from the wonderful minds over at Team Ninja and KOEI TECMO. Taking a great deal of influence from the developers previous games Nioh and their original claim to fame Ninja Gaiden, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is a mixture of everything that came before it with a smattering of KOEI TECMO’s Dynasty Warrior’s magic thrown in.

Taking the reigns of a nameless yet honourable militia soldier, you’ll be thrown into the latest conflict of the Three Kingdoms, set during the Later Han Dynasty, although certainly in an alternate, more supernatural version. Undead soldiers, monsters as big as buildings and more await as you travel through the different maps and battle the Yellow Turbans (and more) to rid the Three Kingdoms of this new plight that has beset it.

Wo Long

Before you get to jump into the fight though, you’re tasked with creating your own character. Make him in your image, make your favourite celebrity or some iconic character from film, the choice is yours, and the depth and versatility of the character creator will almost certainly allow it to be done. I’ve never been one to bother with character creation usually, but for some reason this one had me hooked, and over an hour of tinkering later I had my very own, very unique character I’d quickly be covering with armour and helmets… and I was ecstatic.

Whereas the likes of Bloodborne and Elden Ring leave it to the player to unearth and piece together the story whilst playing, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty does have its fair share of cinematic story-telling to pull the player away from the action, and truthfully, that’s what it does. With each map ending comes a cinematic that’ll show the player swapping out an ally with another, some shared dialogue about beating the latest enemy or getting to the next location and then moving on. In a game like Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty in this particular genre, thankfully the story is most players last priority, so it isn’t the greatest sin, and speaks more of the addictive and rewarding combat that you’re always itching to get back into it.

Related: Scars Above Review – Proof A Single-Player ‘Alien’ Shooter Could Be Good (PS5)

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty – Bring a Friend

Wo Long

Unlike previous KOEI TECMO games like Dynasty Warriors, the combat and general gameplay is a lot more nuanced than just hacking and slashing your way through various unnamed armies. Closer to Nioh and Dark Souls than anything else, the game takes a lot of influence from this genre, whilst still managing to put its own flourishes on it and in some cases, pushing it forward.

The spirit level is the foundation of every other mechanic in the game, and thankfully it works fantastically. Take too much constant damage without dealing your own out? You’ll be stunned and open to incredibly damaging attacks, usually resulting in death. Manage to block and deal your own constant damage out? The reverse can be said for your enemies. As well as this, you’ll have to use the same spirit level to dole out wizardry spells, which are your standard magical attacks, but can quickly result in you overusing and again, leaving yourself open. At first there’s no doubt about it, the combat system will feel familiar yet different enough to be frustrating to an extreme level, but once you’ve understood the finer points of the spirit mechanic, you’ll be a monster-slaying, human-killing monster and it is oh so rewarding.

Related: Wild Hearts Review – An Unsuccessful Hunt (PS5)

As with any Souls-like game, the bosses are the most trying and testing enemies. For the most part from the start you’ll be able to work your way through the cannon fodder, albeit there are a wide enough variation of average enemies you will have to cater your attacks to the enemy in front of you, but the bosses are on another level. From gigantic, mutated pigs, ground-smashing monkeys  intent on ripping you apart to famous faces from Chinese history, the bosses are varied enough you won’t be able to settle into just one type of play, nor overly relying on one weapon or spell, with each of them having their own invulnerabilities making you switch out constantly.

Wo Long

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty follows in the footsteps of the likes of Bloodborne with allowing co-op pretty much from the start, making the whole adventure much easier, and in some case too easy. If playing with a friend isn’t for you but you still need a character to take all the damage for you, you’ll be glad to know every map affords you an ally to travel with, who is there as much to help on your journey with the occasional spoken hint as they are to be a distraction to the many blood-thirsty enemies after you.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is an extremely fun Souls-like that is equal parts rewarding and frustrating, with set pieces that won’t let you down and a co-op/ally system that benefits the player a little too much. A linear experience masquerading as an open-world with it’s ‘maps’, you’ll be found wanting if you’re expecting an Elden Ring sized game, but it delivers on its expectations nonetheless.


7 Out of 10

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty was played and reviewed on a code supplied by RenaissancePR.

Follow us for more entertainment coverage on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.

Written by Luke Addison

Luke Addison is a writer for Fandomwire. He's an avid consumer of all things movie, TV, comics and gaming, especially Marvel.

Insta: @callmeafilmnerd
Twitter: @callmeafilmnerd