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This Xbox Game Pass soulslike perfectly blends Sekiro with Elden Ring

This Xbox Game Pass soulslike perfectly blends Sekiro with Elden Ring

This Xbox Game Pass title is like if Sekiro and Elden Ring has a baby, and it's a must-play for soulslike fans.

I adore a good soulslike game. I’m biassed towards FromSoftware’s games because it basically invented and perfected the genre, but sometimes a game inspired by them can be just as good, sometimes better.

Thanks to Xbox Game Pass I’ve been trying a variety of soulslike games not developed and published by FromSoftware, like Lies Of P and more recently Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, which recently released a complete edition packing in all of its DLCs.

Take a look at Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty Complete Edition below

The game starts off like the majority of soulslikes, with a character creator. There’s a surprising amount of options available to make your character your own, and while it’s not as impressive as Elden Ring I still spent longer than I probably should have perfecting my character’s appearance.

Once you’ve jumped into the action, you’ll feel right at home if you’ve played any of FromSoftware’s titles; Wo Long pretty much functions the exact same way, aside from some creative differences. You have a finite supply of healing items, combat involves a lot of dodging and parrying (also known as deflecting) you can replenish your health and stamina by planting flags, which serve as bonfires and there’s an assortment of weapons and spells to learn as you progress.

Combat feels smooth and satisfying. It’s difficult to master, but early on you can afford to make a few mistakes while you get to grips with the rhythm. And there’s a lot of rhythm. Stronger enemies will unleash several attacks in a combo, and it’s only by the time they're finished that you’ll be able to retaliate. Every encounter feels like a duel to the death, with steel clanging together at awesome speed while you contemplate whether you should go on the offensive or hold back for a better opportunity. Instead of parrying an incoming strike, your objective is to deflect it, which is to say manoeuvre the enemy’s blade away so you can slip behind them and start slashing away while they’re stunned. Bigger enemies will need to be deflected several times before an opening presents itself, and the bosses even more so while you deplete their stamina bar.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty- Credit Koei Tecmo
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty- Credit Koei Tecmo

The feeling of mastering the combat is indescribable, as enemies have a variety of tips and tricks up their sleeve to put you in the ground. When you can successfully take on a horde of enemies without so much as a scratch, it’s an unbelievably rewarding sensation.

In terms of graphics and sound Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty doesn’t pull any punches. The environments you travel through look incredible. The clash of steel on steel, and explosive magic attacks sound heavy and powerful, even better when you’re playing with a decent pair of headphones on.

Now like any souslike, it’s the bosses that make or break the overall experience. Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty boasts an impressive 30 bosses to clash with. The level of challenge feels consistent throughout the game, and while there are some that feel impossible to beat on the first few tries, practice with their moveset and a bit of self-confidence in your skill is usually all you need to take one down.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty- Credit Koei Tecmo
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty- Credit Koei Tecmo

That’s not to say they’re instantly pushovers, the violence and persistence of their attacks essentially turns battles into a rhythm game. You’re rarely given a chance to breathe, so it’s vital to learn when to attack, when to defend and when you’d be able to down an elixir before the boss gets in your face again. If you’re still struggling you can always grind for some levels in previous areas or switch up your gear/spells in the hopes it gives you the edge in combat. This works well as certain bosses are weak to elemental damage, and all of your spells take the form of an element. If you’re still struggling on a boss or a level you can summon a friend or random ally through the game’s multiplayer.

On that note, one thing Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty does incredibly well is give the player options. Outside of the base combat, you can equip special martial arts moves, activated by holding one of the bumpers on your controller and pressing a button, or magic moves, activated the same way but with the controller triggers instead. These are easily interchangeable at flagpoles and more are unlocked as you level your character’s attributes.

A good mix of spells can often clear out entire areas with ease, and as mentioned before they can make boss encounters much more manageable so it’s a good idea to experiment with them as you go. While the options the player is given could be perceived as overwhelming at first, you’ll quickly get accustomed to what martial art moves and spells you’re interested in, and there’s no reason to use any of them if you’d rather focus on the main combat.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty- Credit Koei Tecmo
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty- Credit Koei Tecmo

New weapons and gear are plentiful in this game, but I’d wholeheartedly recommend you choose one weapon type you enjoy using and stick with it. There are a lot of stat increases and damage buffs with new gear, and while there’s a lot of depth in making a build, I found it best to just ensure the damage number was steadily increasing throughout the game rather than worry about the specific details. There are surely several overpowered builds you can put together if you care deeply about the stats, but for more casual players you can play the game normally knowing you should be at least on par with the next challenge.

Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is a fantastic soulslike, and while it doesn’t hit the sheer perfection of FromSoftware's last few titles, it’s clearly happy to follow in its footsteps but veer off on its own path every now and then. The challenge felt just right the whole way through, and there was very rarely a time where I felt frustrated with the outcome of a combat encounter.

Featured Image Credit: Koei Tecmo

Topics: Xbox Game Pass, Xbox, PC, Elden Ring, Fromsoftware