During a recent event we had the chance to try the new build of Wo Long: Fallen Dinasty, the expected action of Team Ninja.
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, the Team Ninja he managed not only to overcome such an event, but even to demonstrate that, in all likelihood, the real talent of the team lay in those behind the scenes rather than in the familiar faces. 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 they can continue to shape quality products, with a lot of potential still untapped.
When a winning formula is found, however, there is also an 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 tried during a Milanese event. Here’s what changed, and what they told us Masakazu Hirayama And Masaaki Yamagiwarespectively the director and the producer of the game, with whom we chatted directly after our test.
Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee
There demo actually tested by us was 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 i changes are seriously already considerable, starting with “deviations“, or the instant dodges that represent the fulcrum 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 frames starting too much (which forced to predict the attack of the enemies instead of allowing an almost instant response), here it was extremely simple and natural to use them, especially against opponents with multiple attacks in series. Hirayama and Yamagiwa explained to us having 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 – resource really used for any maneuver in the game and brutally punitive management in the first build – now much more “relaxed” … no longer empties when simply being attacked, allows dodging even when the bar is completely negative, it stuns for less time if 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 impresses a lot.
The director and the producer of the Team Ninja have explained us in enough detail the magic system, 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.
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 even the most efficient builds have never seemed to us as exaggerated and invincible as some of those tested in the first beta. If you add to this also a net resizing of the effects of spiritual beasts evocable – which before practically killed certain powerful enemies by themselves and now instead represent only a marginal help – it becomes immediate to notice the team’s willingness 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 system is confirmed crafting and upgradingwhich could make more sense to use each weapon’s martial skills, and further refine the builds described above.
Overall, 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. All that remains is to wait.
The strides made with the new Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty demo are already evident, and once again demonstrate Team Ninja’s willingness 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 will see.
- Great feedback-based system changes
- The formula is always very solid
- The risk of imbalances and calculation errors before launch is still high
#Long #Fallen #Dynasty #build #expected #Team #Ninja #action
Leave a Comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.