Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, we tried a new build of the expected Team Ninja action

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, we tried a new build of the expected Team Ninja action

Wo Long

When a software house undergoes structural upheavals, it is normal for the seed of doubt to creep into its fanbase. Losing names that until recently practically embodied the symbol of certain development philosophies - and were considered by many to be the backbone of that or that reality - can after all represent a brutal blow to the quality of the titles of a historic house, especially if these individuals tended to centralize a large part of the decision-making power on themselves. However, where many teams collapse under the weight of expectations, Team Ninja has managed not only to overcome such an event, but even to demonstrate that, in all likelihood, the true talent of the team lay in those who are behind the scenes rather than in the faces. known. Nioh, in particular, was the keystone: a soup of elements already known, but well mixed to the point of still being able to stand out from the games that had been his muse. Since then, this team of Japanese developers has never stopped, and has shown that it can continue to shape quality products, with a lot of potential still untapped.

When you find a winning formula, however, you it also has the unpleasant tendency to repeat systems and structures; when, therefore, the Japanese house announced the tantalizing Wo Long, many had assumed that it was once again a curious variant of what was seen in the two Niohs, albeit with a completely renewed setting and a handful of new mechanics. And, it must be said, the first beta didn't do much to convince players otherwise, as it showed the same balance weaknesses as that saga and still too much emphasis on the loot system.

Yet Team Ninja has always had a weapon many ignored by theirs: fan feedback. And exactly as happened for Nioh, the desire to listen to gamers has already led to enormous changes in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, which we experienced during a Milanese event. Here is what has changed, and what Masakazu Hirayama and Masaaki Yamagiwa, respectively the director and producer of the game, told us, with whom we chatted directly after our test.

Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty boasts very aggressive enemies, but your protagonist has a myriad of ways to eliminate them. Our demo was actually short to say the least. It was in effect a small level, with a huge, extremely aggressive boar boss at the end, and a good diversification of opponents on the map. Yet it was still a significant test, because even in this case we had almost all the magical powers that can be used in the game and also a series of builds specialized in certain statistics, which gave us the opportunity to analyze the changes made with respect to the beta.

And the changes are already seriously considerable, starting with the "deviations", or the instant dodges that represent the core of the game's defensive mechanics. Where, in fact, in the first test we had found them a bit clumsy and sometimes difficult to apply, due to too short response windows and a few too many starting frames (which forced us to predict the attack of the enemies instead of allow an almost instant response), here it was much easier and more natural to use them, especially against opponents with multiple attacks in series. Hirayama and Yamagiwa explained to us that they wanted to make the game more fluid and fun, listening to the fans, and that the team intervened on the fundamental mechanics to ensure the best possible response during the fight (without, however, excessive facilitation).

Even the ki system - a resource really used for any maneuver in the game and brutally punitive handling in the first build - is now much more "relaxed" ... it no longer empties when simply being attacked, it allows to use dodge even when the bar is completely negative, it stuns for less time if you are hit with empty ki, and in general both powers and moves consume it less quickly. Stated like this, it might seem like an oversimplification, sure, but we also noticed huge rebalancing of magical abilities and summonable spiritual beasts, designed not to lower the level of challenge too much. Considering the time elapsed since the beta, honestly, the work done is impressive.

Magic Arts

The bosses of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty will make you sweat, and in the new build tank them abusing certain upgrades no longer seem possible The director and the producer of Team Ninja have explained the magic system in enough detail, specifying how it is closely linked to the elements and balanced around various possible builds, for them comparable to the specializations of an RPG. This was not all that evident in the first beta, where some big miscalculations (including a really exaggerated defensive ability among those related to the earth, and a series of abusable power-ups) literally allowed to completely bypass the perfect dodges and eliminate even the bosses taking all kinds of blows in the face without real imbalances. Yet the latest demo has significantly changed the cards on the table: all spells are markedly faster and cost less, but their more powerful effects have been limited, whereas the more excessive ones have been modified to offer useful effects or cost so. little to be usable without big waste. In addition, now the specialization in dedicated statistics seems to affect their effects more drastically, so much so that at one point we found ourselves cleaning up the demo in a few minutes by mercilessly abusing the poisonous effects of the metal element.

Spirit beasts in the game have also been scaled down. An extra little help, however, is always handy Warning: said Wo Long could still seem very unbalanced ... instead in reality it seemed much more fun, varied and flexible than what we tried some time ago, and also the most efficient builds they never seemed to us as exaggerated and invincible as some of those tested in the first beta. If we add to this also a clear downsizing of the effects of the evocable spiritual beasts - which before practically killed certain powerful enemies by themselves and now instead represent only marginal help - it becomes immediate to notice the team's desire to detach even more from the bases laid with the Nioh, to offer an experience markedly closer to pure action.

On the other hand, it is more complex to evaluate the management of the loot. In the new demo it seemed fixed, with no more random equipment and with much more sensible rarity during the levels. Hirayama and Yamagiwa have also confirmed the willingness to put the equipment a bit aside compared to what was seen in Nioh, focusing on fewer weapons with more significant characteristics. It will be necessary to see in the finished game, however, how much inventory management there will still be to deal with. If nothing else, the presence of a crafting and upgrade system is confirmed, which could make more sense to use each weapon's martial skills, and further refine the builds described above.

Overall, the the work done is already crystal clear, as well as the clear steps forward compared to what was tried in the already fun beta. The will of Team Ninja, however, is to offer at least one more test to the players, since - always according to the statements of the director and the producer - for them the feedback of the fans is very precious. We do not doubt therefore that there will be other opportunities to evaluate the title, and observe its many evolutions. We just have to wait.

The steps forward made with the new demo of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty are already evident, and once again demonstrate the willingness of Team Ninja to listen carefully to fan feedback. Considering, however, that all the changes made seemed to us not only well thought out, but able to significantly improve the enjoyment of the experience, it is also clear how the Japanese team has learned really well to skim the best opinions of users. If the game were to continue to evolve like this, we could find ourselves a much more different experience from the Nioh than initially expected, and potentially even greater. We'll see.


Excellent changes to systems based on feedback The formula is always very solid DOUBTS The risk of imbalances and calculation errors before launch is still high Have you noticed errors?

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