Wo Long is an upcoming souls like action game that is being developed by Team Ninja and Koei Tecmo. At the moment it doesn’t have a release date.
So to begin this, I have no idea what the game is trying to build up for the story, as there were absolutely no story cutscenes in the demo whatsoever. When you hit new game, you get met with a character creator, so you can create some crazy intense character I’m sure, but if you’re like me, you don’t actually look at any of it, and just hit continue and play as the default model you’re given. You then get to play a tutorial which kind of helps you learn a few general terms of the game, and you can’t progress unless you check the boxes of activities you’re meant to do, like dodge, attack, jump, parry, and so forth.
After the tutorial, you’re just immediately dropped right into a level. No context or anything, and just told to run. With a little radar at the top of the screen, that shows symbols on it, that help determine things like enemies, bonfires, items, and a red line so you know where your objective is, which in games like this, are the end of the map.
The gameplay feels great. If you’ve ever played Nioh, you’ll already have a leg up with how it plays, minus the whole stance changing system of course. You have to take your time with some enemies, whereas with others, if you’re confident enough, you can just blow your way through them, no issues at all. As you work your way through the level, enemies drop items, sometimes gear, and you can find chests to open that have equipment in them as well. So every time I was finding something, I was immediately looking in my inventory to see if it was better, whether through sheer attack stats, or because of the bonuses on it, like added melee damage, or spirit gained on attacks.
Instead of a normal stamina gauge, which everyone is probably used to by now, you have a “spirit” gauge. When you attack enemies, this builds up and allows you to use spells or weapon abilities. As you take damage, or use your heavy attack, it degrades. If it degrades far enough, you get winded, leaving a chance for a power attack from the enemies. But it works the same way with enemies, where if you deplete their spirit gauge, you can use a powerful attack, and do huge amounts of damage. This is one of the systems that I honestly found to be poorly explained. It wasn’t until about halfway through that it dawned on me, that it acts as my stamina bar.
The game has a heavy focus on parrying enemies, especially bigger enemies. Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t. It’s meant to throw enemies off balance and get you a chance to stop their attacks and get some of your own in, but against some of the boss-like enemies, I’d dodge perfectly to get the parry, and they’d still hammer me to death. Hell, some attack so fast, I never had a chance to dodge before I was dead, but I somehow managed to defeat them! Even those that were many ranks above me. In the game, there is a “strength” system, known as morale. If you have a high morale, you do more damage. As you go through the level, you can find spots to put down a flag, to help permanently increase your morale level. But I truly never found a difference in damage when I had a high level. If you die, obviously your level falls, and you drop your souls you’ve acquired, until you beat the enemy who beat you.
There was an online/offline summoning system in the game, that uses items you find by “avenging” killed players, or just by finding them. I tried using the online summon system, but I ended up not getting matched up with people, so I just used an AI and it made my life so much easier in the long run. It’s definitely a system that I’ll be relying on when the game fully releases, because it is just brutal when it comes to playing solo, especially against bosses, as I’ve said. But luckily I found a weapon set I liked, and it paired well with the AI’s weapon, so that’s even better!
After finishing the demo, I’m left undecided on whether I’m gonna chase down this game come release, or wait a bit for balances and changes to come around. But I can definitely say that it’s worth it for any souls fan, and you should definitely check it out!