After having delivered two excellent Soulslike action RPGs in the Nioh games, Team Ninja is back with another one that has a different flavour to it- if Nioh was their Dark Souls, Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is their Sekiro. And yes, that means it’s an even more challenging game than the studio’s last two efforts. Mechanically, it’s a dense game with a lot going on, so here, we’re going to go over a few basic pointers that you should keep in mind as you dive into its offerings.
The Morale Rank system is one of Wo Long’s most crucial systems, and one that you’ll want to keep your eye on constantly. Essentially, the higher your Morale Rank as compared to the enemy you’re facing, the greater damage you’ll deal to them, and vice versa, so if you find yourself facing a particularly challenging foe, it might be a good idea to grind out earlier enemies and raising your Morale Rank to make the fight a little easier. As such, it’s a good idea to prioritizing landing Fatal Strikes (more on this in a bit), Martial Arts attacks, and Spirit attacks, since that’s what increases your Morale Rank. On the other hand, taking on enemies that have a higher rank than yours also has its own advantages, because the higher their Morale Rank as compared to yours, the better the rewards will be.
This is where Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is most similar to the aforementioned Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. The game places a massive emphasis on deflecting and parrying enemy attacks, and it’s something you’re going to want to master as quickly as possible. Every attack you successfully deflect will give you additional Spirit, which is a crucial resource that’s used for a number of actions. Deflecting attacks might also make the enemy stagger, depending on what type of enemy you’re taking on, so nailing that timing is something you’ll want to get good at.
There are several ways to get your Morale Rank up in Wo Long: Fallen Dynast, but at the same time, there are also others that can knock it down. One of those is sustaining specific enemy attacks known as Critical Blows. As the name suggests, these are high powered attacks that you can only guard against in one way- by perfectly timing a deflect right as the attack is about to hit you. Get that parry right, and not only do you avoid having your Morale Rank knocked down, you also get to deal a high damage counterattack of your own in response.
One of the best and most effective ways of increasing your Morale Rank and of defeating enemies is by dealing a Fatal Strike, which is essentially a finisher (and again, this is a system that’s very similar to what Sekiro players might remember). There’s multiple ways to do this. The easiest way is to sneak up on an enemy that isn’t aware of your presence and deal an instant killing blow. In combat, meanwhile, you’ll need to completely deplete an enemy’s Spirit gauge to stagger them to be able to trigger a Fatal Strike. You will need Spirit for every Fatal Strike, so keep that in mind.
The demons you take on in combat in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty will often have specific body parts with unique attacks and attributes of their own that’ll pose a major threat to you. So how do you deal with that? Well, you just destroy that part, Monster Hunter style. You can destroy specific body parts of these demons either by attacking them or by deflecting Critical Blows from those specific parts. Once that part is destroyed, not only will the enemy no longer be able to use it for Critical Blows, their max Spirit will also be depleted.
Wo Long isn’t an open world game, but there’s still plenty of room for exploration in each of its levels- and you will want to explore. There’s plenty of useful things to find, and Flags are chief among them. There’s a number of both Battle Flags and Marking Flags scattered throughout every level, and finding these is how you increase your Fortitude Rank. What exactly is that? Well, in a nutshell, it’s the lower limit for your Morale Rank, which means no matter what, your Morale Rank will never go below your current Fortitude Rank. As you might imagine, that can come in incredibly handy, so make sure you’re always keeping an eye out for Flags.
DON’T OVERUSE SPIRIT
Spirit is used for a variety of actions, most of which allow you to deal heavy damage to enemies. But though a heathy Spirit gauge does give you an upper hand in a lot of combat situations, you’re going to want to keep an eye on it and make sure you don’t overuse it. Your Spirit gauge can actually go negative, and once you’re in that state, you become incredibly vulnerable, to the point where even a single attack can completely wipe you out. So make sure you don’t spam Spirit attacks- choose your moments and use them wisely.
Wo Long’s Alliance system allows you use items known as Tiger Seals to summon AI controlled companion characters to fight by your side, and it’s more useful than you think. For starters, as you might image, it’s more than a little helpful to have a companion warrior or two by your side as you’re taking on enemies, both difficult and otherwise. More importantly though, the more enemies you defeat with these allies by your side, the higher their Oath Level will go, which in turn will make them even more effective. In fact, if you can get them up to Oath Level 10, you’ll also be rewarded with the gear that they have equipped. Also remember that you can use the “encourage” action (which costs Spirit) to get your allies to perform useful actions in combat, which will vary based on their individual attributes, like their phase affinity.
Oh, and speaking of gear…
Wo Long goes heavy on gear, in that you’ll constantly be bombarded with new equipment and loot. It’s a good idea to not get too attached to any specific gear, because it’s rarely ever going to stay part of your build for too long. Something else you’ll want to keep in mind is how much the gear you have equipped weighs, because if its weight ratio exceeds 70%, you will incur penalties, like dodging becoming less effective. At the same time, if your equipment’s weight ratio is low, deflecting and Martial Arts attacks will cost less Spirit.
NULLIFYING ELEMENTAL ATTACKS
Enemies in Wo Long will often try to hit you with elemental attacks, which, as you might imagine, can deal some pretty nasty damage. Thankfully, there are ways to nullify this threat- like Wizardry Spells, for instance. The basic principle here is pretty easy to understand- you just look at the elemental phase of an enemy’s attack and you counteract it by using a Wizardry Spell of the opposite phase. So if an enemy has used a Fire phase attack, you can counteract it by using a Water phase Wizardry spell.
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