Every now and then a game comes along with a flash of artistic gameplay that genuinely takes hold of you. Now, Team Ninja’s Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty has arrived with a few sneak peeks and cinematic trailers to bulge our eyeballs.
A dark fantasy, based around Chinese mythology, this project combines inventive swordplay with folkloric characters and, frankly, terrifying creatures. You’ll need to hone your controller skills as you take the ancient tenants of Chinese martial arts and apply them to the tricky business of fending off daemons and other warriors.
What’s It All About?
The creators of Nioh – a fantastical plot based on the 17th century story of an Irish sailor, who became a samurai, released on PS4/5 – have finally returned with a nameless soldier on a combat-heavy quest to survive the Later Han Dynasty. Daemons have descended on the Three Kingdoms and it’s up to our protagonist to channel an inner power and churn out a frenzied display of hack-and-slash combos. In fact, the story was based on a 14th-century historical novel by Luo Guanzhong, called Romance of the Three Kingdoms. So, this is another fantastical retelling of an ancient story – fantasy fed by historical accuracy.
The Japanese developer’s new IP was revealed at the Xbox & Bethesda Games Showcase, where we were treated to an action-RPG showcase. The gameplay looked totally unique and immediately seemed fun to dive into. Mythical beings swarmed the screen and many were convinced that this would be one of the highlights of 2023. Also, returning director Fumihiko Yasuda (Nioh) and producer Masaaki Yamagiwa (Bloodborne) have already proven themselves as master storytellers and proverbial ‘safe hands’ for delivery of the game.
Where’s It All Set?
The game’s narrative unfolds in 184 AD China, before the Han dynasty collapsed and the Three Kingdoms ruled over this vast and diversely decorated region. Similar to the Assassin’s Creed franchise, the game will feature appearances from military generals, politicians and legends of that period, like Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Zhao Yun and Lu Bu. Don’t expect this to be an entirely accurate retelling of Chinese history though. There will still be plenty of ethereal inclusions to throw you off course and surely enough dark entities to eventually tire your sword-swinging arm.
The game’s title ‘Wo Long’ actually refers to a crouching dragon – a person of innate greatness, not yet known, but sequestered in anticipation of their destiny. An unknown officer will turn into a hero as you unlock your inner potential and guide your warrior towards their storied future. There will even be opportunities to fully customise your character and how they fight. Apparently, you’ll have the option to select from five ‘phases’ – otherwise known as combat styles. Your choices will impact stats, starting spells and the divine beast that jumps into the fray at your side. Then there’s also a morale system to ensure gameplay is never dull, nor too tightly constrained. The more foes you strike down the higher your morale rank will soar.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is scheduled for release on 3rd March, 2023. The game will launch on the following platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC…