Underneath my yellow skin

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty–a quick look

I’ve been hyped for Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, a China-based Nioh by Team Ninja ever since I saw the first trailer/article for it. Ian has been playing it ahead of time and giving me his general impressions of it. I saw videos of the demo and was cautiously hyped. It looks very Team Ninja, both good and bad. If I never see another burning village again, it would be too soon, but the tutorial of the  game is, of course, set in a burning village.

I love the character customization, but I always end up doing the same thing. I spend tons of time in the hair, a bit less time in the eyes, and then I do the minimum with the rest of the face. I did like that your gender choices were male, female, and other. Apparently, if you choose other, you get they/them and ‘the protagonist’ in the dialogues.

I always want to make the character look like me. It’s usually not possible because I can’t make them as fat as I want or the hair as long as I want. }I have to chuckle that hair physics still suck, but I’ve accepted that I cannot make the hair past mid-back. The exception was Code Vein (Bandai Namco Bandai) which was problematic for other reasons.

I lose interest in the content creation when I could not tell the difference between the different settings for, say, chin width. But my character looks dope and sounds dope, too. That’s all I really care about.

I will say that if you’re playing K/M, apparently, it’s hot trash. I don’t know why you would want to play these kinds of games with K/M, but fair warning. It’s one reason it’s been bomb-reviewed on Steam. Apparently, some people are having performance issues, too, but I am not. Then again, I have a really beefy desktop PC so take that with a grain of salt.


Once I jumped into the tutorial, it felt very familiar. It’s basic Ninja Theory as far as movements. I have to say, though, that the buttons are messed up. Here’s the thing. I’m so used to FromSoft buttons. RB and RT for attacks. A for interact. Y for two-handing. This is pre-Elden Ring. A is jump in Elden Ring. Wo Long, on the other hand, follows the Nioh buttons. Which, by the way, default to PlayStation buttons, even on Game Pass. You can switch so they show up in XBox, but come on.

In Team Ninja land, light attack is X. Heavy attack is Y. Dodge is B (like Souls. well, double-tap on B), but LS+B is deflect. Which, in Nioh, it’s RT-B for deflect. Or whatever it’s called in this game. It’s like the Sekiro deflect, but apparently more generous. I can’t speak to that because the tutorial was so shitty, I was confused as to how to do the deflect. And I knew how to do it because Ian had told me ahead of time! But the tutorial was so awful, I just forgot everything I knew.

Look. I’m a FromSoft fan. I know about bad and esoteric tutorials. I know about all that shit. But this tutorial is so poorly written, it’s a diffeernt thing. Ian counseled me to go to the nearest bonfire, ear battle flag and just practice the deflect. Which, I’ll let you finish, but FIRE.

The magicks are immediately accessible in this game as opposed to Nioh in which it takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R to get to the onmyo. i specced out for magicks in Nioh 2 and I was a sad, sad person for much of my playthrough. This time, I got my fireball immediately and seemingly limitless throws. Ian explained to me that it’s run on spirit–which is the stuff you get when you properly deflect an attack and maybe when you kill the enemy? I’m not sure. Except, I have not run out. And is it not because I got spirit back because…

Ok. I gotta give a quick primer in morale. You get more when you beat enemies and lose it when you die or get hit. You have a number and your enemy has a number. If your enemy’s number is really high, say ten more than yours, you should back down and not fight them.

Well. I ran into a demon tiger in the first area. Itwas a 16. I was a 7. I had an NPC friend with me–Blindfold Boy– and I decided to just see how hard the demon tiger was.

Very hard. That’s how hard he was. He killed me a few times, so I decided to leave it alone. Until I got my fireball. Then I thought, why not try? So I hopped up on a roof with my fireball in hand and flung it at the demon tiger while my friend melee’d it to an inch of its life. I will say it’s frustrating to have the demon tiger dance juuuuuust outside of range, but all these kinds of games do that. Long story short, we did it. Was it cheesy? Yes! Do I feel guilty about it? No!

Another interesting thing is that some of the battle flags are protected by harder enemies. Field bosses I guess you could call them? When I ran into the first one, he had a morale level 10. I was 5 or 6? Maybe 7. Remember I did not understand the deflect, and he kept doing flashing red attacks on me (the ones you have to deflect). He was killing me with ease.

So. I did what I did best. I cheesed him with fire. He is now dead and that battle flag is mine. That’s where I’m going to practice the buttons. In the video I included, Yong Yea was gushing about how much he loves this game because it’s Sekiro-lite. “Once you master the combat–”

Let me stop you there, Yong. Chance the once to if and then you can continue. He dismissed the magic spells as being not practical for combat, so we’ll see how that evolves. You can only have four at a time, sadly, because they are mapped to RT+face buttons. Which, sigh.

Look. FromSoft games are not the be-all, end-all.   But it’s what I know best. And a game that has similar but not completely the same buttons is going to fuck me up the most. If it’s completely different, then my brain can acceept it. It’s the fact that half the buttons are the same that messes me up. In Nioh, the dodge was A (I believe.It’s been some time). You ccan change the buttons ,but changing one incident of that button changes all of them. Yong pointed that out for Wo Long because he wanted the attack buttons to be Souls, but that meant that for the spells, two of them were RB and RT while the other two were A and B.

My biggest gripe, though, is how fucking lost I get trying to find my way around. Ian promises me that it’s more than just ruiend villages for the levels. I certainly hope so because I am so fucking tired of villages that are on fire. Maybe I was just exceptionally tired, but after killing the demon tiger, I could not figure out where to go. Until I did. Still not sure how I figured it out, but whatever.

Level design is inferior in these games. I will stand by that. Level design in From games is exceptional. There’s a joke of “If you can see it, you can get go there”. Here, it was an exercise in frustration. “I can see it, but I just can’t get there.” I didn’t know where the map was, either, so I was trying to get where I needed to be by the mini-map–which was balls.

Ian told me where to find the map so hopefully, that will help. I knew you could fast-travel in the game, but I had forgotten. That’s where the map is.

I’m liking the game, but not loving it. Anything that relies on reflexes is a hard sell for me. I will be playing more later on today and hopefully, it will gorw on me.

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