Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty Review: Blasting Through Hell (PC)

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is a captivating new entry from Team Ninja, that brings about new mechanics, the Morale Rank, and the Spirit Gauge system, to the Soulslike genre. While there are some setbacks and shortcomings, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is a solid entry for those who seek to start playing the genre.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty Review: Blasting Through Hell

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is a new twist within the Soulslike genre with unique features. Developed by Team Ninja, we will embark on a journey across the Three Kingdoms Period of an altered version of ancient China where monsters are rampaging the land.

As our journey across the realm goes deeper, we will meet a diverse cast of characters, both friends and foes alike, each with their unique characteristics and motives. From Zhao Yun to Lu Bu, our path in the game is filled with dangers and excitement.

There are many great aspects of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, such as its combat system and the boss fights. They are incredibly well-made, and I feel that those are the driving force behind what makes this game a solid entry. However, there are also some downsides, like its Loots and enemy variations, which we’ll dive into further in this review.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is available on Steam for $59.99.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty - Launch Trailer | PS5 & PS4 Games

Story: Three Kingdoms’ Turmoil

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty transports us to an alternate version of the Three Kingdoms Period. In this alternate reality, the lands are fraught with monsters, and the Elixir, a powerful substance that grants immortality to those who drink it, is highly coveted. Additionally, it is worth noting that the pursuit of the Elixir has led to chaos and conflict among those who seek to obtain it.

Meanwhile, as the protagonist, we begin as a militia soldier attempting to expel The Yellow Turbans from a remote village where we come across The Blindfolded Boy, a mysterious individual possessing tremendous power.

Nevertheless, the game’s elusive and enigmatic villain, the Taoist in Black, seizes him after we vanquish Zhang Liang, the General of Man. This kickstart our journey to other places, where we must find the remaining Yellow Turbans and other enemies while also trying to find The Blindfolded Boy. 

As we advance, we’ll receive support from allies both in and out of combat, including the blacksmith Zhu Xia, whom we meet in Chapter 2. While primarily facilitating equipment upgrades, purchases, and sales, she also adds a touch of charm by occasionally commenting on our progress.

I find the game’s storyline was decent but not exceptional, primarily serving to propel us through various battlefields. Nonetheless, I found some cutscenes and dialogues particularly intriguing, compelling me to keep playing and unravel the next chapter. Despite its limitations, the game managed to capture my interest and keep me engaged.

Zhu Xia The Blacksmith, one of the prominent characters in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty that helps us during our journey.

Zhu Xia, The Blacksmith.

Gameplay: Slash ‘Em All

Let’s move on to Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty‘s star: Its combat system. For the most part, it follows other Soulslike games, especially the Nioh series, however, Team Ninja introduces two new mechanics that make this game stands out from the rest: Morale Rank and Spirit Gauge.

Morale Rank

Morale Rank is one of the essential mechanics in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty. It acts as our ‘level’ within a stage, determining how strong or how weak our attacks damage the enemies. While it is true that equipment is still the main deciding factor, Morale Rank helps a ton in adding up our offensive and defensive capabilities, and to increase this rank, we must find the Battle Flags and the Marker Flags scattered within the stages. 

Furthermore, by reclaiming the flags, we will gain a certain amount of Fortitude, basically a minimal threshold of your current Morale Rank. While I mentioned the positives of Morale Rank, this system can also decrease if an enemy’s Critical Blow lands, usually by 1. Thus, Fortitude prevents the Morale Rank from dropping below its current level. A Fortitude Rank of 15, for instance, guarantees that Morale Rank will never dip below that level, no matter the circumstances.

For me, who rarely plays games within the Soulslike genre, this system helps me with traversing the stages without much trouble, since most of the time, my Morale Rank and Fortitude are stronger than those of the enemies.

Wo Long Fallen Dynasty Review Blasting Through Hell A Devastating Attack.

A Devastating Attack.

Spirit Gauge

Meanwhile, Spirit Gauge is another unique game mechanic used to unleash Spirit Attacks, powerful blows that can reduce a good chunk of health from the enemies. While on paper, this mechanic may not seem that impressive, I found Spirit Gauge to be quite intuitive since it’s a double-edged sword: If we are too reckless and sloppy in our gameplay, the Spirit Gauge shifts up to the left, marked with orange color, and if full, we will enter the Stunned stance,  unable to do anything for few seconds.

At the same time, if we can utilize Deflect and connect brilliant attacks, then the Spirit Gauge will turn to the right section, marked with blue color, making our Spirit Attacks stronger.


Of course, talking about Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is not complete without mentioning its equipment system.

in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, we can equip 2 Melee Weapons, 2 Ranged Weapons, 4 Armor Pieces, 2 Accessories, and 7 Usable Items. 

From those, the Melee Weapons and Armor Pieces are the most crucial aspects of the equipment section, as they dictate your offensive and defensive capabilities. I have to commend Team Ninja for making it possible to make everything works, and no matter what builds we prefer, we also get the ability to respec our character after we complete a certain chapter. 

Wo Long Fallen Dynasty Review Blasting Through Hell Equipment Interface

Equipment Interface.

Exploration Flags

In Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, there is also a checkpoint system that also acts as a small haven. They are the Battle Flags and the Marker Flags

A Battle Flag is the main checkpoint throughout the stages in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty. We can use these to do tons of things: From recuperating our health to refilling our Dragon’s Cure Pot, down to leveling up our character as well as increasing our Virtues: the 5 upgrade paths that we can choose from (Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, and Water). And, by reclaiming a Battle Flag, we can gain Fortitude ranks which will help our battles within the stage.

Meanwhile, the Marker Flag is a miniature version of the Battle Flag. Although it’s the miniature version of it, the Marker Flag also retains some functions from the Battle Flag. Players can restore their health and gain one Fortitude rank when reclaiming a Marker Flag.

Overall, this system achieves what they are intended for, and I don’t have any issues with them, since I can also find additional loot when I try to find a Battle Flag or a Marker Flag.

Loots and Enemy Variations

Lastly, let’s take a look at Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty‘s loots and enemy variations. Loots are mostly dropped randomly from enemies, and bosses usually yield the best loots in the game. However, some of the loot feel unrewarding compared to the efforts we put forth. 

Next, I feel like the enemy variations in this game are lacking; you will encounter the same types of enemies throughout the game (Enemies from the Tutorial will also be present in multiple chapters after that). It feels like it’s just a rinse-and-repeat across different battlefields, and I think this aspect might be a turn-off for some players.

Graphics and Sound: A Worthy Contender

Now that we’ve talked about Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty‘s gameplay mechanics and story, let’s move on to its technical side. 

During my playthrough, I never encounter any major and game-breaking bugs, however, there are several instances where both my attacks and deflect attempts are not connecting, making it harder to do some combos.

For its graphical aspects, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is a solid contender for a 2023 entry. One thing that I have to commend is the bosses’ designs. Each of them is incredibly unique and detailed, and it made me enjoy the boss battles more. However, one gripe that I have with the game’s graphics is the textures, as some of them are blurred and less polished compared to the rest.

Wo Long Fallen Dynasty Review Blasting Through Hell A Demonized Officer

A Demonized Officer.

Next up, we have the sound design. The sound in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is great, from the weapons’ effects, and the Spirit Attacks’ sound, to the bosses, everything blends well with the gameplay. I do not have any issues with the sound during my playthrough, and I think Team Ninja manages to capture the battles’ essence with their sound design. 

Overall, while there are some questionable graphical aspects, the sound design in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is superb and enhances the game’s atmosphere with fitting themes. 

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is another solid entry from Team Ninja and is a good option for you that wants to try the Soulslike genre for the first time. Deflection/Parry and the Morale System are the two main mechanics in this game, and Team Ninja manages to implement them incredibly well while making them seamless with other aspects in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty.
  • The Morale Rank system is well-implemented and impactful
  • The combat system, especially Deflect/Parry, is smooth and rewarding
  • The ability to respec your character within a playthrough is a wonderful feature
  • Ally NPCs are helpful for combat
  • Incredible Customization ability for your character
  • The Tutorial Stage Boss, Zhang Liang, has a massive difficulty spikeLack of death animations
  • The loots can be unrewarding at times
  • Lack of death animations
  • Enemy variations are minimal
  • Slightly unoptimized for PC

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