Underneath my yellow skin

Wo Long is wearing very thin

In the first two acts of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty (Team Ninja), I was cruising along. Yes, the first boss was hard and took me forever to beat, but that was a glitch and should not have happened. Had he actually worked properly, I would have gotten him in seven or eight tries. Which, for me, isn’t that bad.

I cruised along until the Third Act. I have to say, one of the issues with this game is that the missions are sparse. In the Niohs, there were two or four sub-missions per mission. In this game, there is one sub-mission per mission. Maybe two if you’re really lucky. And only one or two main mission per act. I’m not unhappy about there being less missions over all, really, but it just feels weird. Like a stripped down version of the Niohs.

In the third act, you get to the Hidden Village and meet Hong  Jing. She is….uh…No idea. But her master is missing. Who’s her master? Who knows? I think he’s her brother? And a monk? Definitely a hermit as they all are. I have not read the character directory for ages because of the frustrating auto-scroll.

At any rate, you have to go find the immortal wizard–which, again, is her brother? Her master? Both? It seems as if the step-up from the last mission to this one (the fifth) was big. Immediately, there was a tiger who was a level 10 in fortitude while you were at 0. There have always been that stronger opponent in a level, but in this level, it felt as if there were way more over-leveled enemies than ones that were at your fortitude or one level above.

This becomes an even bigger issue in the sixth mission, but I’ll get to that in a second. The boss of the fifth mission, Aoye, was a cow demon. And it hit hard. It nearly always started with a red attack that was it motoring across the whole field to hit you, and it could kill me if i completely missed my deflect. Which is bullshit. I have railed about this in From games–I hate bosses that can one-shot you. Especially when then you lose any morale buff you had before going into the fight.

This boss was…not fun. Hong Jing does lightning damage, which, fine, but she died so quickly. And if I tried to rez her, I got killed in one hit. My problem with this particular boss is that, well first of all the big red move needs to be deflected much earlier than you would think you needed to block. Basically, as soon as the red flash occurs, you have to block. Even though Aoye hasn’t moved at all yet. Then, it motors towards you at such a fast speed. By the time you actually get the deflect sound, it’s in your face.

This is weird because normally, you wait for the red flash and for the boss to start moving before you press B. Having a completely different deflect point for a boss is bullshit. It’s like ‘hahahhahahahaha we don’t respect you or your time.’

I don’t mind a hard boss fight. Though I will say that I have even less patience for them now than I did before I ended up in the hospital. But this one just felt like bullshit. The video I included is from Tyrannicon. His schtick is to give cheese for the boss (he does it for From games). I’ve used his videos many times. But in this case, I was like, “Uh, get rid of the AI? Learn that one frustrating attack? Nope.”

But. And I hate this. He was not wrong. I did not dismiss the AI, but I let her do her thing without worrying about her. I waited for the two attacks (the red one and  the other one where Aoye jumps in the air and falls on top of you. If timed correctly, you can get the nice deflect). So. Basically, I just ran around to avoid the cow demon until it did the one red attack I could somewhat consistently block or the big flop. And ignored Hong Jing. I had armor on that made me super-fast so even if I didn’t get the deflect, I didn’t get totally pasted. I also had on armor that gave me extra wizard juice.

I have to say. I am completely against the magick system. I started out being hyped about it. As long as you had spirit (or whatever it’s called) from killing enemies, you can use the magicks. But. And this is important. The bigger the magic, the more juice you need. I am fire-based in my main magic (with two supportive magicks and a weak lightning magic), and I rarely get to use it because I don’t have the juice. That’s really discouraging. I can use one of the lesser ones, but then what’s the point?

I finally killed Aoye after forty or fifty real tries (and a dozen one-and-dones), and I was exhilarated, I’ll admit. It was a perfect run in which Aoye did not do the worst attack (the one tentacle strike) and my deflects were strong and true. Hong Jing was dead or dying, and I had a sliver of health left. I only had five heals, but my Divine Beast was one that emanated healing juice. The dragon. While it did that, I whaled on Aoye for as hard and as long as possible.

Also, I was experimenting with the dual halberds as my other weapon (I am still maining the great hammer) because they are fast, but they are also strong. I went with really light armor so I could dodge better, and, man, I could hit so many times with the dual halberds. I have been praciticing more with them and they’re good, but the great hammer is my old faithful.

The mission I’m currently on is probably the one that will break me. I’m supposedly in the capital, accompanied by Cao Cao, who is worse than useless. When confronted by a big, angry porcupine (quite possibly my least-favorite enemy in the game so far), he simply holds his sword in front of him and backs away. I get that the dev doesn’t want to make it too easy, but they are actively hindering me, the NPCs. They get in my way, and I have to worry about them dying.

In this level, there were three different ways to go. Two were deadends, but you would not know that by anything in the environment. This was a prison level and it’s clear that Team Ninja wanted to mimic Latria from Demon’s Souls or Irithyll Dungeon from Dark Souls III. Doors that are locked that can only be opened up with a key found later. Check. Enemies hiding in cells. Check. Enemies that can drain your health by hitting you with a branding iron, ch–er, wait. Wrong game.

But in this case, the key that unlocks the dungeon doors is gatekept by an evil mermaid who is guarding the second battle flag (the first it at the beginning of the level). She’s a 7 whereas the other mermaids swarming around are 5s. There are four or five of them. Plus a few zombies who are 2 and 5. And, a large, angry porcupine who is 5. And takes half my health in one hit if I don’t get a deflect off. It apparently can roll forever and ever with no stamina issues. It’s my least-favorite enemy so far.

The problem is there is a dearth of 0 and 1 enemies. I’m bad at the game. Still. Levels don’t mean shit if you don’t have the fortitude. I spent hours and could not find any of the marking flags. Wait. I think I found one, but I could not find any other. There were supposedly 5 battle flags and 7 marking flags. Yeah, right. I could see one of the battle flags, but it was locked in a dungeon. So was a marking flag. There was another marking flag I could see (there’s a line of white that goes up into the air and a gold one for a battle flag. The one that the mermaid was guarding was red because it’s corrupted as all guarded battle flags are), but I could not figure out how to get to it.

This is another way in which Team Ninja misinterprets what makes FromSoft games special. It’s not JUST that theer are locked doors that you are elated to open when you find the key later. It’s also that you’re making progression in addition to finding the key.

In this case, and I did not know this before it actually happened, but I I did surmise it: You could not get the key to open the door until you killed out the head mermaid who was guarding the corrupted battle flag.

I did not even want to take her on until I build up my fortitude a bit. Except. I kept dying. Cao Cao was worse than useless and I pretty much ignored him. Also, when I fell or jumped up a level, he couldn’t figure out how to follow me.

Of all the levels, this is the worst thus far. It’s so poorly designed, and I could not tell how I was supposed to go. I’ve mentioned this to Ian, but I think FromSoft is underrated for their level design. Some of their best levels are simply exquisite.

In this case, I got frustrated as I died again and again, many times to the big angry porcupines. One addition to Elden Ring that I thought was absolutely brilliant and yet not talked about was that if you kill a mob of enemies, you get extra flasks. Usually one healing flask and one mana flask. this was their way of encouraging you to explore more without going back to the site of grace. And it worked!

This is getting long. I’ll pick it up tomorrow.

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