Group Ninja has earned a status for crafting a few of the most satisfying motion video games round, nimbly transitioning from the high-octane motion Ninja Gaiden collection to the Soulslike thrills of Nioh. Its newest effort, Wo Lengthy: Fallen Dynasty, is an unforgiving however deeply rewarding showcase of freneticism that lives as much as this lineage. The sleek swordplay, good boss fights, and novel methods additional show Group Ninja’s potential to craft unrelenting experiences. Though its again half is hampered by an absence of enemy selection, its lightning-fast duels make it one of many extra gratifying titles in current reminiscence.
Set in a model of 2nd-century China impressed by the traditional novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, we observe an unnamed militia soldier as they’re drawn right into a battle over an immortality-granting elixir. Whereas followers of the ebook will possible get pleasure from combating alongside their favourite figures, this narrative does little to speak their nuances or depth, with storytelling that serves as little greater than set dressing.
Nonetheless, whereas the writing is unremarkable, battles are entrancing. These accustomed to Soulslikes will really feel at residence with Wo Lengthy’s related development methods, on-line options, and shared brutal problem. Extra particularly, the core fight is instantly influenced by Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, emphasizing parrying assaults so you possibly can finally break your foe’s poise and land a Deadly Strike.
Whereas loads of titles have tried to imitate these components to various outcomes, Wo Lengthy: Fallen Dynasty evokes the identical pleasure and despair discovered within the video games that impressed it, its duels capturing a white-knuckled depth elevated by exact controls and well-telegraphed enemy assaults. Right here, deflecting blows helps you to construct up Spirit, which can be utilized to shore up your defenses, carry out highly effective strikes, or solid satisfying element-themed spells.
Deflecting is crucial for gaining momentum, and when you get used to it, it feels responsive and totally rewarding to drag off. All the pieces could be parried; sword swings, swipes from hulking monsters, and even lightning bolts, every accompanied by a musical twang of metal that sends tingles. Exchanges could be deliberate as you probe for weaknesses and tactically use your Spirit, or over within the blink of an eye fixed as you parry an unblockable Essential Blow, shatter an enemy’s poise, and demolishing them in a single exhilarating immediate. When mixed with imposing boss fights, a versatile development that allows you to freely respec your character, and deviously designed ranges that invite exploration, at its finest, this is likely one of the most interesting motion entries in a while.
Sadly, there are a few noticeable drawbacks. Most obviously, it strains in opposition to its lengthy runtime in its final half, leading to some tedium and stretches that aren’t difficult sufficient. There are too few distinctive enemies for an expertise primarily based round memorizing patterns, making it really feel like a rhythm recreation that repeats the identical songs too usually. Different annoyances embody a distracting loot system and noticeable technical points, like pop-ins and framerate drops in bigger areas.
However at the same time as its second half didn’t match what got here earlier, Wo Lengthy: Fallen Dynasty is a finely honed delight. Its motion is exact and responsive, and studying the intricacies of every adversary is exceedingly fulfilling. Whereas I want its again stretch was both pared down or had a greater diversity of foes, this can be a uncommon title that induces trance-like focus and euphoric moments of victory. It could not fairly attain the heights of the works that impressed it, nevertheless it’s not far off.