A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Though there's a main conflict of ending a corruptive force spreading throughout China and various factions unite to realize that goal, it's difficult to define a positive message when the bulk of the game focuses more on the violent gameplay than establishing an in-depth story with robust characterization.
Positive Role Models
The main character is a silent protagonist, and many of the characters they come across, while dedicated to teaming up with the player to fight back against evil forces, leave the main plotline as quickly as they enter it – making it difficult to identify any one character as being a consistent positive role model.
As this game is set during the real-life Three Kingdoms era in China's history, there's a great focus on many of the era's most prominent generals and other historical figures – despite the obvious inclusion of some supernatural elements and borrowing some enemy designs from Chinese mythology.
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Ease of Play
Players should be prepared to perish many times during the game's opening hours. The controls, in-game systems, and mechanics are introduced in rapid succession, which may result in a lot of trial-and-error situations. Additionally, this isn't an easy game by any means – prioritizing the deflection of enemy attacks, which requires precision and timing to accurately pull off.
Violence & Scariness
This is an incredibly violent game with characters being stabbed, shot at with arrows, beaten with blunt weapons, and other vicious measures (including people being hanged and eaten). Bloodshed is inevitable with every confrontation, with the only saving grace being that the game doesn't feature much gratuitous gore.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
There are minor, rare references to alcohol throughout the game.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is a downloadable single-player/multiplayer action RPG (role-playing game) currently available for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, and Windows-based PCs. Players will create a character and fight for their homeland of China, which is deeply embedded in the dynastic power struggle of the Three Kingdoms era. But a new threat proves to be anything but ordinary, and a former nobody must do whatever it takes to save China from the evil corruption that's spreading through its lands. The game's setting is based on a real-life historical conflict in China's history, focusing on many of the era's most prominent generals and other historical figures (regardless of the fictionalization of the conflict via the game's supernatural elements and many allusions to Chinese mythology through some of the enemy designs). This is an incredibly violent game as players will use swords, crossbows, blunt weapons, and other deadly tools to batter and slay the hordes of enemies that stand between them and China's liberation. Enemies will often be stabbed through their torsos, causing a shower of blood. Unfortunately, role models and positive messages are few and far between. It may take players some time to find their momentum within the game as its opening hours throw a lot of controls and mechanics at the player at once, leaving them to figure things out on their own. While not an easy game, it's one that rewards patience and precision if players are willing to invest their time and effort.
Is It Any Good?
There certainly isn't a lack of games that have been inspired, to some extent, by the Dark Souls series. Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, while treading some familiar ground, creates a unique experience that it owns from start to finish. Unsatisfied with being "yet another Souls-like," Wo Long uses its strong cultural identity and deflection mechanic to separate itself from the pack. There's an ever-present tension throughout, as any one enemy could spell disaster for players who get too comfortable or let their guard down. Attack patterns could quickly shift, and since most enemies have a "Fatal Strike" move – which cuts a significant amount of a player's health if they're struck by one – they could easily overwhelm an overconfident player. To address this, players have many options available to them. While close-range combat is most effective, arrows, magic, and other tricks work just as well if you're careful with how they're used. You could also (eventually) summon a friend to help if you're struggling with one area or enemy.
The plot takes a clear backseat to gameplay here, which works in the game's favor. While it would've been nice if the characters had been expanded and given more to do within the story, it's hard to argue with the satisfying end result. Deflecting attacks is a must, and there are few engagements where you'll go without a well-timed parry. It's so important, in fact, that it may be off-putting for players who enjoy more close-range variety or nuance. But when you can read an enemy's motions and attacks and deflect with a mastery that took hours to perfect, the game becomes an absolute blast. If you can give Wo Long time to get going, you won't be let down. It's not the most technically impressive showcase, and flies short of greatness by inches. But Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty succeeds where it counts, delivering an experience that isn't painfully hard while providing enough variation in its gameplay to make it endlessly entertaining.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.