Underneath my yellow skin

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty–I fell instead

I beat the first boss of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty (Team Ninja), and I think it was glitched for me. Why? Bceause, and needless to say, there will be spoilers for the first boss in this post. In yesterday,s post, I wrote about my quick impressions. Now I need to hash out my feelings about the game.

Many of my frustrations with the Niohs are present here as well. Funky controls/buttons, yes. I know that the Souls buttons schematic is considered bad by most people. But, it wsa my first schematic for these kinds of games, which means it’s the one imprinted in my brain. RB + RT for light and heavy attacks. B for roll (always), and A for interaction. A is also jumping in the latter games. X is heal (rather, consumables) and Y is for two-handing.

On one of my Xbox controllers, the B button broke. I asked my brother how to fix it and he said to change the button to something else to roll.  I reacted as if he had told me to chop off my fingers. Map it to another button? Are you kidding me? B IS ROLL. B has always been roll. B will always be roll. There is no discussion to be had here.

To be fair, B is evade/dodge in this game. But it’s also the deflect as well. And it was the same in the second Nioh. Well, RT+B was the burst counter in the last game. When the game tried to explain this, it did it very poorly. I got the impression that you had to hold down LB as you hit B, but, no. It’s just B. Or LS+B for direction deflecting. and tapping B twice has you dodging.

The imputs are not precise. If you’re not perfectly still as you hit B, you can circlce-strafe the enemy–as I found out several times fighting the boss. I’m not completely complaining because that means you won’t get hit or get hit less, but it means that you can’t count on getting the deflect if you’re moving around.

So the first boss is a wrestler-looking guy who bellows and pounds his chest as he swings a huge pinecone mace/hammer. He’s quick and seemingly has endless stamina. Drinking your estus in this game, er, Dragon’s Potion? Whatever the healing thing is called takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R to drink. We’re talking Dark Souls II levels of drinking speed (which is notoriously terrible). Also, that magic I was talking about being so great in the last post? I was wrong. In bosses, it’s useless because the boss is just too relentless. It’s hard to get off an offensive spell. Also, there is a secondary thing about the spells that I did not understand until hours into the boss fight. That’s on me because it makes complete sense, but it was still frustrating.

There are five different kinds of magic. Fire, wood, water, metal, and earth. There are five different stats you can level up. Each stat corresponds with one of the elements as well. Vigor is….wood? I’m not sure, but let’s pretend it is. If you want to use a level 1 Wood spell, then, you have to have one point in Vigor. If you want to use a level 3 spell, you need three points. This makes sense, but I could not figure it out. During the frustrating boss fight, I wanted to use the spell that gives you back health for damaging the enemy (works for both you and your allies). I needed 4 in Wood Magic. I had no idea how to get to a 4 in Wood Magic until I figured out that the symbols for each level up stat corresponded to the symbols for the magicks.

I used that and the one that buffered defense during the boss fight, but neither my lightning bolt nor my fireball. I just could not get them off with the boss constantly attacking me. Zhang Liang. You have an NPC with you as you fight, the Blindfolded Boy . He  is worse than useless, though. He shouts out encouragement that is blatantly false (“I’ll protect you as you heal!” Don’t fall for it. He won’t) and mostly walks around with his weapon held in front of him. The boss mostly ignores him and goes straight for me. No matter what. Unless the Blindfolded Boy throws little rocks at the boss or something. Then the boss will be diverted for a microsecond before turning back to me.

So let’s talk about this boss. Warning–spoilers for the first boss, obviously. In the first phase, he’s mostly just whacks at me and does several red attacks (the unblockable/deflect attacks) without every losing steam. He has no stamina and can just keep attacking.

You jump down into a field with the Blindfolded Boy at your side. He pulls out his big-ass pinecone mace, and you tussle. At first, he totally messed me up. He’s really there to teach you that you have to do the deflect if you want to beat him. As you may know about me, ] take that as a challenge. I made it through Sekiro without learning the deflect (I tried. My god, I tried. I just could not do it consistently), but it’s different in this game. I’ll get to that in a minute.

The deflect window is more generous in this game, which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because it’ll mitigate the damage even if you don’t get the perfect deflect. It’s a curse because–and this is true of all these games–the window is different on each enemy/boss, which means you have to learn several different windows.

I got to this bos’s second phase  the sixth or seven time I fought him. Yes, there’s a second phase. Yes, I knew that going in. This is the boss who was in the demo, so I saw it happening. He drinks an elixir and becomes a demon. He actually reminds me of the Demon of  Hatred from Sekiro. This game is strongly reminiscent of Sekiro.

This is the bullshit possibly glitched part of the fight. I did not learn this until later, but you’re supposed to get a cutscene halfway through the second phase. The Blindfolded Boy monologues at you for a bit and then tells you to use Y+A for your Divine Beast. Then, the fight is over. I did not get this cut scene the first time I got the boss down to about a sixteenth of his second healthbar–so I lost the fight.

Why did I not get the cutscene? I could not tell you. I got the boss down to half several more times after that, but did not get the cutscene, either. My guess is because I did not get the deflect perfectly as the time I beat the boss, I got the deflect perfectly around the half-health bar mark, and the cutscene triggered. Funnily enough, this was after I had turned off the game and was going to quit for the night. Ian was streaming it and I decided to try it one last time. I did the first part of the fight flawlessly, got to the second phase, and got the cutscene in a snap.

Was it because I quit out and restarted? I don’t know. That’s the part that bugs me the most. I have no idea why it triggered that time when it hadn’t all the other times. Oh, Right before that, I read abotu the fight because i was getting desperate. The second phase is bullshit. It said you trigger a cutscene halfway through (the guide I read), and I was like, “You do????” I had gotten more than halfway at least a half dozen times at that point and had not triggered the cutscene.

So, instead of feeling good when the boss fight ended, I just felt bewildered, upset, and angry. I had just wasted several hours on this boss fight that I didn’t need to waste because–I don’t know why! My best guess is that I didn’t do the perfect deflect at the perfect time so I did not hit the requirements for the cutscene. Which is bullshit! I mean, if you’re telling me I HAVE to do certain things by deflecting, then make that very clear.

On the other hand, I got really good at deflecting the boss in his first phase. Even when he threw red attacks at me several times in a row, I blocked like a champ. I got the first phase down to roughly thirty seconds to a minute. Also, if I had to use a potion in the first phase, I just let him kill me. It wasn’t worth it.

In the end, I am not sure how far I’m going to go in this game. That first boss fight was utter bullshit. Yes, it’s supposed to be hard (and even brutal), but I beat it way before I actually beat it. I am leery that this does not bode well for the rest of the game. I don’t know why this happened because I have not read of it happening to anyone else.

I have a friend now who is basically a paladin. I am still not sure what to do with this boss fight. It taught me to get the deflect down pat (for this one boss, anyway), but I really question the design of the game if only one very specific situation triggers the boss cutscene. And there was no warning. It’s not as if the Blindfolded Boy tells me I need to do a perfect deflect to get the boss. Or maybe he did. To be honest, I wasn’t listening to him because I was FIGHTING A BOSS.

I dunno. It’s done .I learned the deflect. I’ll take my pinecone hammer/mace and move on, but it did leave a bitter taste in my mouth.

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