Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: Team Ninja

Wo Long is not long for this world

Yesterday was the first day I did not play Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty (Team Ninja) since I first tried it out. Ian has said that the big boss of this level is pertty interesting and something he had never seen before, but that means finishing the level. Which I have absolutely no desire to do.

This level was the nadir of the game (so far). I mentioned several reasons why this was true in the last post. I will add to that in this post, but, honestly, I’m pretty much done with the game. Ian has told me that the boss of this level is something he’d never seen before, so I might push through, but, it’ll be with my teeth gritted.

Side note: Speaking of teeth, I had two temporary crowns and a bridge put in on Monday. It was supposed to take 90 minutes (including breaks). I have a tiny mouth. Tiny. Even the kid’s jaw opener block thing was hard to fit into my mouth. I was not looking forward to this appointment at all. My dentist had to build up the two teeth that needed crowns (wihch means posts inside them) plus bridge them as they have one tooth between them. Each tooth on its own was not strong enough, therefore, the bridge.

I went in thinking it was going to be agony. The last time I had to have a root canal, I was in tears because of the mouth block thing. This time was 2 1/2 hours not including the breaks. We started at 2 p.m. and I walked out at 5 p.m. My jaw ached, but I did not cry at all! I consider that a success.

Anyway, back to Wo Long.

I spent two hours trying to get enough fortitude to take on the head evil mermaid. She was a 7. I would get up to 4 or 5 and then be killed by an exploding big porcupine. I cannot tell you how much I hate those big porcupine. I’ve said in the past that they remind me of the worst enemies in the 2nd DLC of Dark Souls II. Except these are totally different because they explode in fire! They’ne not made of ice. Get it??

I think my biggest complaint about this game (and believe me, I have many) is enemy placement. This is actually a problem with all Team Ninja games–they mistake enemies you can’t see jumping out at you as difficult. No, it doesn’t make the game hard (at least not in the sense they mean)–just unreaasonable. There was one giant porcupine that I still don’t know where it came at me from.

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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.

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Wo Long and diminishing returns

I beat that lightning boss in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty (Team Ninja). I don’t take much joy in it because, well, I’ll get to that in a minute. I will say that I was bitching to Ian about the boss because–and this is actually an issue I have with all Team Ninja games–the deflect is just not consistent across the enemies. I mean, to be fair, the deflect/parry box is different for different enemies in From games as well, but at least it’s consistent within an enemy group. I can’t do it well, but that’s clearly on me.

In the last post, I wrote about some of my issues with Team Ninja games. I’m going to continue in that vein for this post because that’s how I roll. I need to talk about my current obsession to move past it.

Back to the deflect. In Nioh 2, there was something it was the burst counter. There would be a red flash, and you had to hit RT+B (I think?) at the right time. It was a different time for each enemy. In this game, it’s just B. But it’s the same thing where you had to do it at the right time after the red flash. The issue in Wo Long is that they hooooooooooooooold that flashing red to an unreasonable point. In Sekiro, the red kanji flashed and then you hit the deflect. It was very precise. I was trash at it, but the windows were consistent. In Nioh 2 and now in Wo Long, they aren’t. In this game, it’s partly because the windows are more generous. I get the deflect much more often than I did in Nioh 2. However, with this boss, I hardly got it at all. he flashed red and then held it, held it, held it, and then BAM. I got the deflect once or twice but for the most part,I just tried to hit him when I could and let my buddy take most of the damage. I buffed us with our spells (to have us take less damage was one spell and us getting healt back with each hit on the enemy as another) and then just backed the fuck way off not to get hit.

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Team Ninja for better and worse

I’m in te second act of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty (Team Ninja), and I have to admit, it’s wearing a bit thin. It’s still enjoyable, but by the time I reach the boss (which I have now), I feel beleagured and worn. In the Demon Fort mission, and the level itself is nothing to write home about.

I mentioned this in a prior post, but Team Ninja’s level design primarily consists of burning villages. And, I will say, fortresses. I was watching a video by a guy who likes Team Ninja games despite himself and he’s right on the money with many of his critiques. He also rages much like I do when I play these kinds of games. He does slip into the ‘I’m a hardcore gamer and I hate those filthy scrub n00bs, but his critiques of Team Ninja in general are on point. I have included his review below.(Not the bemoaning of the fact that Wo Long is easier than Nioh 2 in general–that’s a deliberate choice that I can applaud.)

The levels, never the highpoint of the Team Ninja games, are especially uninsipired in this one. Now. I will say that given my spatial issues, some of this is me, but I cannot for the life of me find all the marking flags in the levels. I explore as carefully as I can, and I always end up at the boss with at least two marking flags missing. This time was three of seven. I found one by going up on a roof of a temple and finding the hole (this is often the solution. Get as high as possible and jump down a hole in the buliding you’re on the roof of), but that still left two. I went back through the level and found another by going a different way in yet another cave and jumping down.

By the way, there are so many caves in these games. So. Many. Caves. And forts. And burning villages. I was excited that this game was going to be set in China, but you could not tell that it’s not Japan. The levels feel exactly like Nioh levels. That’s not a compliment.

I cannot for the life of me find the third marking flag I was missing. It was late last night when I was playing, otherwise I would have done what I’m going to do today–open up a walkthrough video and follow it. Look. I spent an hour looking for the flags last night, but still could not find that final flag. I know it’s partly me because I have a hard time with spatial issues, but I never have these problems with From games. I do not get lost  in them the way I do in Team Ninja games. When I look out at the vista in a Team Ninja game, I just sight and resign myself to getting lost.

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Yet another Wo Long post because I can

I’m rolling through Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty (Team Ninja) and feeling like a fucking badass. With a caveat. I’ll get to that in a minute. Let me start by saying, though, that I’m beyond annoyed at the automatic text-scrolling in the character encyclopedia. There is no way to pause it, and the text is very small. Yes, you can enlarge it, but it’s still small and hard to read. I quick-Googled it and there’s no way to stop the scroll. Apparently, Team Ninja is ‘aware’ of the issue. But, why the hell put it in in the first place? Again, this is from Google, but this was also something in Nioh 2 and they patched it out. Why repeat their mistake???

That’s what haunts me about it. Why put it in in the first place? It would seem the default would be no-scroll, so someone had to code in the scroll. I could be wrong. It’s very likely I’m wrong because I know nothing about games development. But it really makes it so I don’t want to read about the characters. I read fast, but not with that font. And I like to choose to progress at my own damn pace.

The second issue I have is with the morale system. I mentioned it in yesterday’s post, but only briefly. Every time you go into a new area, there is a base morale level of 10. There are marking flags and battle flags in the level (the latter are like bonfires in the Souls series), and the more you find, the higher your morale raises. Every time you kill an enemy, your morale gets a bump. You can’t go over 25 morale.

If you fight a person with less morale than you have, it’ll be easier, but your reward will be not as great as if you fight someone with a higher morale. If you die, your morale goes back to the base number–and all this info (morale level, battle flags (say, 4/5), and marking flages (also with a discrete number)) is in the upper righthand corner. So, to sum up, it’s in your interest to find all the battle flags and the marking flags.

I both like and don’t like this system. I like it because it’s a way of over-leveling without grnding. I don’t like it because going back to base morale, especially when it’s at the beginning of the level before you find the flags, feels demoralizing. Also, it makes level almost irrelevant, but that’s true of all Team Ninja games. In the Niohs, they’ll give a suggested level for each mission, and I would mentally double that number. In this game, your level matters so little in comparison to your morale. Get those battle flags and those marking flags whenever you can. You do not want to have less morale than your enemies/boss.

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Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty–bugs and glitches, oh my!

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?

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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.

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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.

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Nioh 2 is growing on me?

I realized yesterday that leaving a mission in Nioh 2 (Team Ninja) is not as dire as I’ve always thought it was. I mean, the penalty is steep, yes, but not as bad as I had outlined in the last post. Yes, you have to go back to the beginning of the mission and yes you have to do the whole thing again. And, sure, you lose whatever souls you have (what is it called in this game? Amitra, I think), and, yes, it’s frustrating as heck. But! you don’t lose the stuff you collect, and you can do waht I did on the last sub-mission I was re-exploring. I reached enoughm to level up, did that, and then left the sub-mission.

Side note: It’s funny to watch people play these kinds of games. Everyone calls the things you accumulate souls, even though that is obviously not what it’s called in the Niohs. I will say that I don’t call the shrines bonfires because they are visually different. In Elden Ring, though, I sometimes call the sites of graces bonfires and the runes are absolutely souls more often than I care to admit.

I will say that in all the games I’ve played, I have not been a sword aficionado, which is sad to me since I love them so much in real life. I lean towards axes, probably in part because the Pyro starts with a Hand Axe in Dark Souls. I found a Battle Axe early on (after killing an enemy who had one, if I remember correctly) and mained it for the rest of the game.

Later, I did learn to enjoy the Zwei, but that is not like any sword I use in real life. That myght be part of it–none of the swords in the games I play are like the swords I use in real life. In general, though, I didn’t care for swords–which made me sad.

Then, I got a pair of dual corrupted swords in Nioh 2. Corrupted weapons/demon weapons are sentient with demon souls. I still don’t know if they are better for human or for yokai, but they’re loads of fun to use. The more you use them, the more sentient they become. By the way, I love that you get more skill points in the weapon you’re using the more experience you have with it.

The dual swords are fast and quick. They are called Weathered Fang & Bleached Twig, and mine are blue, which is second from the top in terms of rarest. It’s purple, blue, green, yellow, and white. I can do four or five fast hits without running out of ki. I am in love with them, and I’m happy that I have finally found swords that I like in a game. It might be because they are dual, which is my jam. Double sabers, i mean. My favorite form of all.

I’ve been doing past sub-missions just to get a hang of my new weapons. I tend to stick to one weapon (original game) or two (this game), and I know there is such a wide array of weapons in this game. It’s funny because I’m doing a sub-mission that is level 20, so not that far behind where I am now. It was a recent sub-mission I have done, and I’m moving through it much more easily this time. i want to try my new guardian spirit, which is the snake. It’s considered a feral guardian spirit, which is interesting.

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A new gaming me (or not)

Before the hospital, I was into three different kinds of games: soulslikes, roguelike-lites, and cozy games. I was playing Cozy Grove by Spry Fox (cozy game, of course. It’s right there in the name), Dorfromantik by Toukana Interactive, which loosely fits into the cozy games category as well, and (sigh) Nioh 2 by Team Ninja, which can be crammed into the soulslike category if you use a shoehorn, elbow grease, and squint real hard. I had just watched the trailer for Elden Ring (FromSoft) before going into the hospital and was stoked about that. The release date has been pushed back a month, but I’m fine with that. I would rather they release it fully playable at a later date than release it on time and it’s riddled with bugs.  I had just beaten the first boss in Nioh 2 and was messaging with Ian about the second main mission the day before I collapsed. Apparently, I had done the sub-mission and didn’t remember it. That is neither here nor there, though.

After I left the hospital, my thinking about video games changed drastically–along with many other things. Before the hospital (BH), I had this grand plan for Elden Ring. It’s their first open world game and one you can play completely with other people. I was going to have two characters–one with whom I would play the game solo as I played all FromSoft games. Soloing all the bosses and exploring the environments. With my second character, I was going to play with other people (mostly Ian) to see what that was all about.

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