Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is too easy for its own good


2022’s release of Elden Ring garnered a lot of very well-deserved attention in the gaming world. Elden Ring was even chosen to be 2022’s Game of the Year, beating out God of War: Ragnarok in the process. 

With all this attention around games in the same genre as Elden Ring and Dark Souls, both made by the same studio, it was a given that a few copycats were going to arise here and there. Enter Team Ninja.  

Team Ninja is a studio that has been responsible for more than one game that falls in the same genre as Dark Souls, these are most commonly called, “Souls-like.”  

Nioh, released in 2017, was the studio’s first foray into the genre, and it was a critical success. Likewise, its sequel, 2020’s Nioh 2, expanded upon and improved the formula of what made the first game great.  

Almost exactly three years since the release of Nioh 2, Team Ninja returns with the release of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty in March of 2023.  

Set in ancient China, Wo Long follows a rather predictable story in which the player will face a variety of both human and monstrous enemies.  

Rather than being an expansion of the Nioh formula, Wo Long feels like it’s trying to create its own identity while still maintaining a similar feel to other Souls-like games. 

Largely, it succeeds in this venture. Rather than a dodge-roll system that is present in both Nioh and Dark Souls, Wo Long opts to use a deflect system for its combat. 

This is more reminiscent of 2019’s Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, which was also made by the same studio who created Dark Souls, From Software.  

To put it bluntly, Souls-like games are meant to be hard. There is a very heightened sense of difficulty when one plays these games and the learning curves they present are supposed to seem more like learning mountains that are near impossible to climb.  

While this may seem counter-intuitive to retain player attention, it’s actually part of the games’ charm. Being able to finally defeat a boss after hours of hard work and memorizing their move-sets is what makes these games so rewarding. 

This is where Wo Long suffers, it’s simply too easy, and the fault lies entirely in how the deflect system is set up.  

Where Sekiro had a deflect timeframe window that was extremely small, it was still fair and predictable given enough practice. Wo Long, on the other hand, suffers in this regard. 

The amount of time that Wo Long gives you feels like an eternity in comparison to Sekiro, and most players who are familiar with Souls games will be able to nearly master it in a matter of minutes.  

This is compounded with the fact that the block button is separate from the deflect button, and neither action is mutually exclusive to each other.  

Players can hold down the block button and go straight into a deflect when an enemy attacks. If the player fails to time the deflect right, their character will just block the attack anyway, negating any sense of punishment that would be present in other Souls games. 

Granted, when the player gets into a groove of continually deflecting attacks without taking damage, the combat feels very satisfying and rewarding. However, this is practically negated by the lack of a sense of extreme accomplishment that other Souls games offer.  

The hardest boss in Wo Long will likely take players about an hour to beat, varying on a case-by-case basis. This is a far cry from some of the most punishing enemies in games like Elden Ring, that really test the resolve of the person playing.  

Despite this rather glaring flaw, Wo Long is still more fun than it is not. It’s available on Game Pass so players on PC or Xbox who have the service can just jump in and try it out for free to see if they enjoy it.