Wo Long Fallen Dynasty: Complete Edition (PlayStation 5)

Originally released last year to some success, Wo Long Fallen Dynasty has recently been re-released as a Complete Edition. Doing exactly what it says on the tin, this complete edition sports the base game with all 3 released DLC and additional goodies on top of that, worth jumping in? Lets take a look.

It is 184.AD, later Han Dynasty in China, with the imperial dynasty that has prospered for years now beset with chaos and destruction, on the verge of collapsing. You play as an unknown warrior, a crouching dragon as is known, who awakens during the Yellow Turban rebellion and must join forces with several warriors who will go on to more renown during the Three Kingdoms era, and put a stop to this supernatural peril.

Being based around the Three Kingdoms I was interested as soon as the first cutscene hits and those pesky Yellow Turbans are rampaging through your village. The first couple of recognisable characters end up being antagonists, then you create your own character, before heading out to fight back. It’s not until the next chapter that the likes of Zhao Yun will join your cause as the game opens up a bit more, the first chapter is pretty much a tutorial stage to ease you in, or you would at least be thinking that until you get fist up by the boss at the end.

This complete edition includes the additional DLC’s of the Battle of Zhongyuan, Conqueror of Jiangdong, and Upheaval in Jingxiang, which offers 3 new story scenarios featuring more recognisable officers, as well as plenty more gear to be had. There’s plenty more content to get through here if seem like you will enjoy more of what the base game provides.

Not too surprising is the mixed bag nature of the visuals which likely stems from its cross-gen nature. It looks the best during an extended fight, detail is lavished on boss characters for example, as the particle effects from attacks & spells add a lot of colour to the proceedings. Some of the environments are also well detailed, plenty of sharp shadows and density to the world to give each depth, but textures take on that mixed-bag nature the most. At times they’re sharp and well detailed as you would expect of a PS4+ title, but at other times they fare much worse, bordering on PS3 levels of quality. Mobs are usually the ones to suffer this most as detail can vary so much as most of the good stuff is left for named characters and mid-bosses.

At least the audio is as consistent as ever from the studio. The music and voice acting work well and there’s all manner of grunts, groans, cracks and breaks to fill the soundscape during a skirmish. There’s two modes to choose from when it comes to performance – prefer resolution or framarate. To be honest I didn’t really notice much of a difference between the two aside from performance having a bit more shimmering and smoother framerate – both seeming unlocked meant you could still hit a decent enough FPS with resolution on a VRR display. I just used prefer framerate, its generally similar enough and the framerate sticks closer to 60 with VRR soaking up the dips.

Expecting a follow on from Nioh 2, there’s some surprising tweaks to the formula that end up giving the game a different feel – though it’s not always for the best to me. Equipment and ability balance is still king here, picking an element from the 5 to focus on will help early so long as you are mindful of spirit generation which is key for this game. Keeping spirit up will allow you to maintain momentum in a fight and throw in some magic abilities to try and create openings, and the best way to get that is with what is likely the most important combat ability in Wo Ling – countering. Countering an attack not only generates spirit, but also prevents damage and leaves the enemy open to an attack. Different weapons can make this easier, but even then the window of opportunity seems brutal at times and some attacks HAVE to be countered It creates a hit & run style combat that’s fast, but leaves other aspects, like magic, underwhelming.

Not content with just that the game also has a morale system to keep an eye on. As you defeat enemies, or help fallen allies, your morale level will increase which in turn makes you stronger and more durable. This system also applies to enemies, who can also have followers to share morale with, with some regular foes even able to reduce your morale a fair chunk with just a hit. Luckily you can lock your morale to a lowest point by raising your battle flag or via shrines. These can also act as checkpoints, training dojo’s, merchant etc as pretty much all other functions to do with your character are here. Resting will reset enemies so be mindful of that (or use to grind) but it does also give you fresh dragon potions. These are your health lifeline, but you can also gift them to fallen players. At times some areas can look like a graveyard with all the player flags, so can help with warning you of foes too. What doesn’t help is having your game invaded. It sounds great on paper but its not something I appreciated as it always happened at inopportune moments – luckily it can be disabled.

While not quite the evolution to the fantastic Nioh 2 I expected, Wo Long at least manages to carve a name for itself by tweaking the formula enough to create its own beast while respecting its lineage. When everything comes together it creates a tense combat game of timing and opportunities, and if you can get past the uneven visuals, should be worth a look if these experiences are up your alley – Even if its not quite as good as previous titles.

3

Summary

A dark & brutal journey through a twisted Three Kingdoms China that likes to remind you of your place at every opportunity.

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Geoffrey Wright

Rocking the world of gaming since the Atari 2600, has now settled down to bask in the warmth of moe. Moe is life for a moe connoisseur.