In Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, players are given the chance to fully customize not only how their character looks, but how they control as well. After creating a character, players will get the option to select one of five “phases,” or combat styles: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire, and Earth. These ultimately dictate a character’s stats, starting spells, and what divine beast will aid them.
Each phase has a unique focus. Metal is debuffing enemies, wood is healing and support, water is stealth, fire is attack, and earth is defense. As you level up your character over time, you are free to invest experience in any of the five elements, so if you ultimately want to spec out a character who’s focus differs from your starting phase, you are able to do so.
Additionally, players will also have free rein to select what weapon they’d like to use from a wide collection of glaives, sabres, swords, and more, with each weapon having different strengths and weaknesses that play into the different phases.
Core to Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty’s gameplay is its morale system, which indicates the strength of both your character and your opponents. By defeating enemies with a higher morale rank than your character, your own morale increases faster and more valuable items will be dropped. Uncovering new checkpoints locks in the base morale rank for both the player and enemies, and if the player is defeated, their morale rank will reset to that baseline when they awaken at their most recently discovered checkpoint.
Combat in Wo Long will be based on traditional martial arts, according to Team Ninja, and will emphasize graceful movement and deflection. Your character has a spirit meter with an orange negative side and blue positive side. When you boot up the game, the meter will be neutral; neither side filled. Successful strikes on enemies will net you positive spirit.
As you use special abilities, block or dodge attacks, or take hits from enemies, that positive spirit will be chipped away, crossing over into the negative if you don’t get any successful hits on an opponent. If the negative side fills up, your character is staggered, which will reset the meter to neutral, but leave you open to attacks for a moment with no ability to defend yourself.
Enemies also have their own spirit meters that work similarly to the player’s, and successfully pushing opponent’s guage’s into the negative will leave them open for a takedown once filled.
Certain attacks from enemies can be countered. When winding up, if a red energy fissure appears over the center of them, blocking the following attack at the moment it hits will deflect the enemy, massively negating their spirit meter and leaving them open to a big counter attack from you, or possibly even a takedown if they’re a lower level opponent or their health is depleted enough.
In GameSpot’s Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty preview, Phil Hornshaw praised the game’s combat, writing:
“The speedy gameplay, the variety of attack options, and the push-and-pull nature of the spirit system make Wo Long feel like a fresh spin on Souls-like games. It captures the difficulty and skill players like about the genre, while pushing a different kind of action game feel, one more akin to some of Team Ninja’s other titles. Though we haven’t seen all of Wo Long in action yet, Team Ninja’s demo does a great job of giving a snapshot of a tough game that starts at the same place as other Souls-likes and goes in an exciting new direction.”
Team Ninja has stated Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty will be its most challenging game yet. However, this did not stop the studio from opting out of including difficulty settings.
Though the game might not have difficulty settings, there is a silver lining in the game’s multiplayer option, which grants players the ability to summon a friend during tough battles.