Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty has been a game half on my radar for awhile, but after giving its demo on Steam a try, this Team Ninja-developed Wuxia action game has my full attention. I'm hooked on its combat like with no Souls pretender before it in no small part due to its fantastic counter.
It's something halfway between the all-or-nothing parries from Dark Souls or Elden Ring and the more forgiving perfect blocks from Sekiro. Your requisite Soulslike dodge is a jaunty little dash that, instead of providing precious invincibility frames, has to be timed with enemy attacks to open them up for a counterattack and raise their stagger meter for critical strikes.
It's much easier to pull off than a Fromsoft parry, but a short delay and increase to your own stagger gauge when you dodge without nailing a counter heavily penalizes spamming. It feels incredible to pull off counter after counter in a boss fight, and Wo Long's more substantial battles have an engaging rhythm that reminds me of when I "got good" at Sekiro.
The story so far is some epic nonsense, but it makes for a perfect historo-fantasy slurry to just let wash over you and fill your nostrils—yeah man, Yellow Turbans, Yellow Heaven, Azure Heaven, it's all cool. I can roll with it. Despite a deluge of proper nouns, I'm really digging the Han Dynasty setting, and Wo Long's Wuxia vibes make for a really good hang.
The PC porting job is quite a bad hang, however, at least in this demo. The frame rate is capped at 60fps, the options menu is fairly sparse, and no amount of tweaking those options got me to a stable 60 at 1440p. I had minimal CPU usage while my RTX 3070 topped out at 65% or so, but Wo Long was content to idly crest along in the mid-50s much of the time I was playing, independent of any heavy activity on-screen.
I lived through Dark Souls: Prepare to Die Edition on Games for Windows Live though, and I can tolerate this. Wo Long's demo is an absolute blast, and fairly generous too, with progress carrying over to the full game when it releases March 3.