Twelve hours into Wo Long Fallen Dynasty and I have reached what I felt was my first real roadblock in the game. Despite their magic tricks and wisdom, I’ve defeated most of the Zhang clan, but before I could rest on my laurels, a new threat emerges. Those familiar with Romance Of The Three Kingdoms will be familiar with Dong Zhuo and his “right-hand man,” Lu Bu. In Dynasty Warriors and most other ‘ROT3K’ themed titles, Lu Bu is considered one of the most significant threats on the battlefield, looking out only for himself and his greater interests while wielding an awesome power.
A power so great, this line has been immortalized in the Dynasty Warriors series, urging players not to “pursue Lu Bu.” I recall in Dynasty Warriors 8, one of the first missions introduces this general and he throws his weight around unlike anyone the player would have fought at the time. In fights where he isn’t a target, he’ll leave the player alone, deeming them insignificant. However, in some missions, he will engage if the player pisses him off enough times or, worse, the player harms Diao Chan. Fighting a pissed-off Lu Bu for the first time is a growing pain most would have encountered as a gamer.
So when Wo Long Fallen Dynasty finally introduces Lu Bu into the story, immediately the player has to stop the general before he rampages and defeats all of your current allies. For as infamous as Lu Bu is, Team Ninja did his fight very well. He approaches you with his spear while on his steed and immediately chases after the player. A downward swipe here, a cross slash there, until he starts to use his critical blows. One where he dashes towards the player and another where he leaps in the air.
Eventually, enough damage happens that he dismounts from the horse, and honestly not much changes during this fight. He still shoots from his bow, he has sweeping advancing attacks and similar critical blows where Lu Bu takes to the skies, pauses, then crashes into the player at lightning speed. The player would have fought several bosses who all do the same thing, but this time around it has truly reached “Margit” territory. It quickly becomes a slog that Lu Bu will overcome simply because this is the first fight for many players that tells them to “Git Gud.”
As expected of the prideful general, Lu Bu is arguably the fairest boss fight in the game so far. All he is is a powerful man on an annoying horse that will prance around the battlefield and trample the player. The previous boss fight had the player fight multiple shadow clones at once while the actual boss shoots lightning bolts and flies around the entire arena everywhere. In this fight, you begin with no allies and aside from the horse phase and on-foot phase, there are no other tricks to this fight.
Either utilize everything the player has learned to their advantage, or be prepared to die, a lot. Unlike the previous fight I mentioned, this one brought a smile to my face as it introduced me to several mechanics, specifically the importance of morale. Finding as many flags as possible will help fight the boss as raising your fortitude rank will soften how much the player needs to “level up” to get to Morale Rank 25.
The higher the rank, the stronger the player is compared to the boss. Even if the player gets to level 25, Lu Bu is no pushover and it’s instead meant to inch the odds toward your favor. The player’s build also plays a key role in ensuring the boss fights go smoothly. At this point, the player may have found their favorite weapon and are unsure how to build around it. The best way is to check its scaling stats as well as the first special skill the weapon has. Everything else is irrelevant and can be changed later courtesy of Zhu Xia, the blacksmith. Even this section of the game is met with confusion so I’ll explain what’s special about her as well as proper Embedment.
Embedment is this game’s version of augmenting special effects onto weapons and armor. In order to do so, the player needs a set amount of money as well as jewels, the latter of which can be obtained from salvaging weapons and armor. Occasionally, special effect gems can be salvaged provided they are marked with a specific symbol next to their description. These often include very useful effects, such as increasing the amount of damage a player takes from a fatal strike or parrying a critical blow.
So long as the player has enough money and jewels, the player can strip away unnecessary special effects and replace them with beneficial ones. Since my main weapon is dual swords with their unique special skill increasing the sword’s damage in relation to how light my load is. Since these scales well with water, it’d make sense for water to be my most focused stat. Since that tree is filled with ice attacks, imbuing water damage and ice damage into my weapons and armor will increase its efficiency.
Another thing to note is a weapon’s rarity. Each weapon in the game has the same base stat regardless of rarity, so a four-star Bamboo Bow will have the same attack and spirit attack as a one-star. What makes the rarity of an item important is equal to the number of special effects. A higher rarity means more special effects which then means more slots to imbue with embedment. In my experience, the hierarchy of equipment importance goes as follows.
Rarity > Equipment Level > Main Embedment On Equipment
The player can always increase their equipment level with the right metals and leather, but they can’t increase their rarity. Having more potential special effects trumps more power and defense as that should be the player’s second priority.
Other effects like “morale rank up” also helps in situations where I need to fight enemies in order to keep my morale close to 25. In an ideal situation, the player can engage with Lu Bu and beat him on the first try, but as you get dealt damage, the player will lose their morale ranks during the fight. While you retain the highest morale rank before death every rematch, that number will only get lower in time. This helps mitigate the grind in farming regular enemies until the player gets to Rank 25.
Players who are struggling with Wo Long should take the time to look into what the village has to offer. Embedment and upgrading weapons and armor are simple, provided the players have the necessary upgrade items. Obtaining the higher-ranked steel and leather can be earned in sub-missions outside of salvaging “plus-X” items. For the first time in any Soulslike game I played, respecing, or resetting, your stats are also possible for free courtesy of the village elder, Zuo Ci. In previous Nioh or similar games, players had to pay an exorbitantly high cost that increases each time a player resets their stats.
This means that if one strategy isn’t working, the player can experiment with multiple strategies, with the one drawback being that the player can’t unlearn whatever Wizardry spells they already unlocked. Unless the player is absolutely certain these are the spells they wish to use, it’s best not to be so hasty in learning certain spells. That concludes my “mid-game report” with Wo Long Fallen Dynasty and I’m excited to be able to do something like this again following similar posts for Elden Ring, Gran Turismo 7, and Grid Legends. Be on the lookout for more updates on my Wo Long journey as well as some potential builds in the future!
Wo Long Fallen Dynasty is available on PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 5.