In yesterday’s post, I wrote about beating the first brutal boss of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty (Team Ninja) and feeling more upset than elated. I talked about it in the RKG Discord, and someone who is a game developer said it almost certainly was a glitch/bug rather than a deliberate choice. She was trying to be encouraging when she said not to be discouraged. Other people chimed in and said that you had to expect glitches and bugs with a triple-A release like this.
I don’t know anything about that because I normally buy big games many years after they release or get them on Game Pass. The exception is FromSoft games, obviously. Now, anyway. Ian reminded me that Elden Ring had MANY bugs on the PC port when it released.
He’s not wrong. But I didn’t have to suffer through any of them. Because of my beefy machine, I had microstuttering and one hard crash. That was it. But there were many problems for other people with lesser machines. Even with equal machines. I heard about one guy who only had invisible enemies once he got out of the tutorial. He thought it was just FromSoft. Which, bless him, he’s not wrong.
I’ve said it many times about how people think the start of Dark Souls is brilliant. “Two paths that are clearly too hard and one that is just the right amount of hard!” Yeah, if you’re a Dark Souls aficionado, that makes sense. You know that the game is hard, but it’s not supposed to be super-hard. But what does the average person know about the game? That it’s crushingly hard. I mean, the PC version (with everything) is called Prepare to Die Edition. What do you hear about the game? You’re going to die. A lot. Often. Over and over.
So what are you going to think when you run into ghosts you can’t kill? Or skellies who one-shot you? That it’s part of a game that you were told is really, really hard. The third path, by the way, is less difficult. Yes, it’s hard, but it’s appropriately hard.
So. Back to the first boss of Wo Long. People telling me that I have to expect glitches and bugs in a Triple A action adventure game are missing the point. Or the bigger picture. How the hell was I supposed to know there was a glitch of that kind? Yes, if I knew there was supposed to be a cutscene, I could look out for that glitch. But I went into the boss fight without having seen the second phase of the fight. So how the hell was I to know what was supposed to happen?
Glitches such as running into invisible walls or getting stuck in the environment (which I have since done as well, by the way. The latter, I mean) are catchable. Something that is missing that I didn’t even know was supposed to be there (the cutscene), how am I supposed to catch that?
I did finally read a guide as to how to beat the boss and that’s when I found out there was supposed to be a cutscene halfway through. And it took me exiting out of the game and returning before the cutscene procked. Which means it probably is a glitch. But I put HOURS into fighting this boss when it should have been over after six or seven tries.
I beat that boss, stone cold beat him first time I got to the sceond phase. I had a morale that was well above the boss’s (it’s a system that is interesting. You get morale from beating the enemies and finding flags. If you have more morale than the enemies, they’re easier to fight, but you get lesser rewards. If they have better morale, they’re harder, but killing them gets you better rewards. You have a base fortitude you can’t go below, but you lose all your morale when you die) and just went ham on him until he had two or three slivers of health left. Then he killed me.
I want to talk about the morale system for another hot second. I think it’s an interesting system., but it means that if you’re bad at the game, you’re going to do worse. If you die, you lose all your morale. I’ve fought the second boss and went in when I had almost twice as much morale the first time. Almost got him on my first try (with another buddy! Zhao Yun. Basically a paladin), but he got me. Which meant my morale left and I went back to the base fortitude. For the first boss, I found all the flags, so I had a base fortitude of 10. The boss was a 10. If I went around killing enemies, I could jack it up higher, but it would never go below 10.
There are corrupted battle flags that you have to purify by killing the ‘boss’ of that battle flag. In the second area, I ran into a demon captain who was guarding the battle flag. He was a level 20. He had a skull over his head (or some other icon that symbolized that, yeah, no, don’t take him) because I was 10. I went about and got my fortitude/morale up to 20, and then used my Divine Beast, Qilin, who is like a chimera unicorn. Like Kirin from Monster Hunter. And I got him and got the bonfire. Er, battle flag.
Again, interesting system. But I’m not sure how I feel about it because I’m terrible at these games. The more you die, the more you suffer. The reviewers are saying the game is easier than the Niohs, and I get it. If you get your morale up, well, you can steamroll over things.
In the second area, I got my morale up high. I was doubling up on the enemies and when I rolled into the second boss (more like a mini-boss, the monkey/ape), I quickly overpowered him on the third or fourth go. He wasa speedbump in my quest to get to the new area. I literally had twice as much morale as he did. He did not stand a chance. Which, I will admit, felt really powerful. He could not do anything to me, and I crushed him. Ian tells me that the prototype comes back several times, which does not surprise me. FromSoft does it all the time as well.
When I’m walking around with double the morale of the enemies around me, I feel invincible. I will say that the deflect is difficult at times because it’s different for every different kind of enemy. But battling the first boss needlessly for hours did help with my reactions and to learn when Team Ninja thinks you should hit B.
So far, I find the game more engaging than the Niohs (glitch notwithstanding). I understand it better, and the systems are not quite as esoteric. That’s not to say that there isn’t a lot there–because there is. It’s also not to say the systems aren’t complex–they are. But you can get the basics down much more easily than in the Niohs. There are no stances for example. And the deflect is just one button, not two.
I’m not going to say it’s more accessible because it still very much not. None of these games are. At least not for straight ability. But I will say that the deflection system in this game is not quite as brutal as the one in the Niohs. Again, glitch-notwithstanding, the combat is easier to grasp and to execute.
I’m going to keep playing the game. I will admit that I’m glad it’s on Game Pass and I did not pay for it. I would be so much saltier if the latter was the case.