Featured StoryModern GenPCPreviewPS4PS5XboxXbox OneXbox Series X

Preview: The Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty demo is engaging and brutal

We killed some rebelling Yellow Turbans and died a hell of a lot in the final Wo Long demo.

The final demo of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty revealed a few things to curious players like myself. It showed the engaging mechanisms of the combat system and the deep, rich character creator. And it demonstrated how accessible the game is, with a multitude of visual, audio, and UI options.

It also proved another thing that many were wondering about. Wo Long is brutally difficult.

Nobody was expecting otherwise from the latest action game from Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja. With titles like Nioh and Ninja Gaiden, they’ve got a litany of brutally hard hack-and-slash titles under their belt. Wo Long follows directly in those footsteps, continuing that legacy with a difficult, engaging, and (mostly) polished experience.

In the turmoil of the Three Kingdoms

Wo Long Demo Character
My nameless warrior (appearance not final) gets ready to fight the hordes of Yellow Turban soldiers.

The Wo Long demo only contains a brief introduction to the game, consisting of the first few areas. You will be able to transfer your save over to the full game once it launches next week. Depending on your skill level (and mine is pretty poor, I’ll admit), it might take between two to four hours to play what the demo has to offer.

Let’s start with the storytelling and visuals. As a nameless, voiceless warrior (aside from a few grunts), most of the story comes from cutscenes and your blind companion spouting out some exposition. It isn’t the most organic way to communicate the narrative, but so far, I’m fairly invested in what’s happening. Given the game’s ties to Chinese history, Wo Long has already intrigued me on its premise alone.

I played the demo on PC via Steam, and I was admittedly worried about performance. Thankfully, my years-old machine mostly handled the game like a champ. Aside from maybe one or two instances, the game ran at a consistent frame rate and still looked really good. Especially those fire effects!

The Wo Long demo is engaging, brutal, and invigorating

Wo Long Demo Boss
Fighting in the Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty demo is mostly responsive.

Like most Team Ninja games, Wo Long relishes in doling out punishment. You’re a capable warrior with a combination of weapons and magical spells on your side. However, your enemies can be just as quick to draw as you are. The game’s Morale system helps keep this in check. You and every enemy have a Morale value that essentially indicates how tough they are. The higher your Morale, the more offensive and defensive strength you have.

I was worried that this might make the game too challenging, especially since you lose a Morale level and half of your Qi (essentially, experience points) that you’ve collected so far. However, this only occurs the first time you fall to an enemy. If you manage to kill them in another life, you’ll regain your rewards and grow even stronger.

But make no mistake: Wo Long is mighty challenging. You don’t necessarily take a ton of damage each time you get hit, but if you aren’t careful, the enemies can pile on the hurt in no time. Blocking and deflecting damage can save you in a pinch, but over-relying on these techniques can cause you to lose stamina and not be able to attack for a while. Timing for these two feels a little tight, and hopefully, those windows will be adjusted in the final release.

You may have already heard by now that Wo Long doesn’t allow you to change difficulty settings, and that’s true in the demo. But the game is surprisingly accessible in other facets. You can change whatever visual and audio options you want, essentially altering the UI to your liking. Controller support is also available, and personally what I’d recommend if you’re playing on PC. None of these options make the game any easier, but it at least gives you as comfortable an experience as possible.

Where can you play the Wo Long demo?

Three Kingdoms
The Three Kingdoms period comes alive, with fiery results.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is developed by Team Ninja and published by Koei Tecmo. It will be available on March 3, 2023 for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and PC via Steam. It will also be available on day one on Xbox and PC Game Pass.

You can play this demo right now via your platform of choice. As we mentioned, your save data in the demo will carry over to the final game!

What do you think of the Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty demo? Let us know!

Daniel Hein

Daniel Hein is either A) a lifelong video game fanatic, writer, and storyteller just sharing his thoughts on things, or B) some kind of werewolf creature. We're not quite sure which yet. He also makes mediocre video game retrospectives (and other content!) on YouTube where you can watch him babble on for hours about nothing.
Back to top button