Team Ninja’s new Soulslike Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty has been highly anticipated by fans of the genre for quite some time. The game features a distinct setting with a dark fantasy twist as players take on the role of a nameless soldier who must take up arms against monsters and demons in a fictionalized of China’s Three Kingdoms period. Combining a real-life historical context with a dark fantasy genre that is always a hit with Soulslike fans, the game offers quite the challenge.
Like any other Soulslike, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty’s gameplay is no joke. While this will be quite expected and welcomed for veterans of the genre, newcomers might have a bit of a struggle with the game at first. Nonetheless, the game offers a fun and reasonably sized gameplay experience even for the most well-seasoned of Soulslike gamers.
The time that it takes to beat Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is highly dependent on the individual player’s experience with similar games. The genre is famous in the gaming community for being very hard and, as a result, isn’t always the most approachable for beginners. That being said, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, like other Soulslikes, is an interesting game worth diving into.
The game’s main story will take players around 25 hours or so to complete, which is a decent size. However, gamers who have quite a bit of experience with Soulslikes and have a good base of knowledge of how these games work might be able to get through the game faster than this average. On the other hand, people who are picking up a Soulslike for the very first time might find Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty to be extremely difficult, adding quite a bit of time to this average play time of just the main story.
On top of this 25-hour estimation for the main story, people who take their time delving into everything Wo Long’s excellently-crafted world has to offer can expect this time to go up even further. The game is full of various side missions and challenges that will keep the player engaged even when they’re not progressing through the main story.
A playthrough that pays attention to the main side missions and extra content will take an extra 10-15 hours or so, with most players achieving a full playthrough in around 40 hours. For die-hard completionists who are looking to get into every single corner of the game, collecting everything possible, this playtime is extended even further. Completionists can expect to spend around 60 hours playing Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty.
For those players who just can’t get enough of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, it also offers a New Game+ mode, giving the game a good amount of replay value for those who want to immerse themselves in the world Team Ninja has created for a little longer. This adds quite a bit of challenge to the game, while also allowing players to get some very good gear. However, completing this mode isn’t necessary even for completionists, as players can get all trophies and achievements without starting a save file in New Game+.
Also Read: Wo Long Fallen Dynasty Removes a Soulslike Staple
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is Team Ninja’s next foray into the soulslike genre. The studio has given its take on the popular genre in the past with both Nioh and Nioh 2. Each of those games captured the essence of a soulslike, and they never felt like mere clones of Dark Souls. Nioh also brought something new to the genre with each game, which made them feel fresh and unique. Instead of resting on their laurels, Team Ninja and Koei Tecmo are leaping back into the fray with a brand-new soulslike game.
As more and more soulslike games emerge, it is becoming increasingly important for developers to introduce fresh ideas to the genre instead of just following the soulslike path that FromSoftware paved. Team Ninja has obviously proved that it can make a good soulslike game, but the question now is whether it can further innovate on the genre. Wo Long seems to be Team Ninja’s answer, and the studio is attempting this innovation by removing a staple mechanic of soulslike games.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty doesn’t feature a stamina bar or any stamina restrictions. That means players won’t have to constantly watch their stamina levels when attacking or dodging, which seems almost mandatory in most soulslike games. While titles like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice don’t feature a stamina bar either, Sekiro really shouldn’t be considered a soulslike due to its radically different gameplay style and design philosophy. Wo Long, on the other hand, seems to be taking all the core elements of a traditional soulslike game and adding features to make it more interesting, intuitive, and innovative. Removing the stamina bar ensures players won’t have to constantly back out of fighting to recuperate, and this, in turn, allows the game to put a heavier emphasis on action.
It appears Team Ninja wants Wo Long to focus on action and mobility by removing the barriers that keep players from staying in the middle of the action. The game does seem to feature a “poise” gauge, similar to Sekiro’s combat, to keep players from getting careless in their attacks. Despite this, the lack of stamina, heavy emphasis on action, and challenging difficulty make it resemble Ninja Gaiden more than Sekiro. Wo Long’s stamina-free combat and movement also make the game much more open for exploration, which plays into the new Morale Rank the game touts.
Stamina management is almost like a mini-game inside a soulslike game. Players have to carefully balance when they can attack, block, and dodge. If players mess up the timing or miscalculate, then they are met with massive punishment. It seems like such an integral part of the soulslike experience that the genre couldn’t function without it. However, even previous FromSoftware games have experimented with small changes to the stamina gauge. While some players obviously enjoy this extra level of thinking, Wo Long looks to prove that it isn’t necessary. It is innovating the genre by removing the mechanic and giving players the freedom to battle how they want. Small omissions like this can cause ripple effects in the game that open up a lot of new possibilities for Wo Long and future soulslikes.
It is yet to be seen if Wo Long can remove the stamina mechanic successfully or if those ripple effects will cause the game to change too radically from the core elements of the genre. Based on Team Ninja’s past work, Wo Long will surely be an incredibly fun and frantic action game, and it certainly has the potential to be another amazing soulslike from the studio. Regardless of how the game handles the removal of the mechanic, Wo Long looks like an impressive spin on the soulslike genre.