The announcement of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty at Microsoft's not-E3 conference was certainly surprising, given that Team Ninja had just released Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin with Square Enix. That said, the developer's output in the past few years has been quite impressive in both quantity and quality.
Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is said to be inspired by the studio's successful Nioh franchise, though it will be set in the beloved Romance of the Three Kingdoms Chinese medieval setting. Earlier today, a new leak thoroughly explained the game's combat system.
Melee combat is based on the five traditional Chinese elements (wood, water, fire, metal, and earth), which correspond to different combat styles. For example, the fire style will make you more aggressive, the water style focuses on counterattacks, and the earth style focuses on defense. Switching styles at a specific point will raise your morale (like Ki flux in Nioh).
Defense is the core mechanic, you can cancel other moves with defense for attack/defense transition; it's a very smooth move and has a Chinese Kung Fu movie feel. Different weapons have different counter moves, some of which can kill normal enemies in one hit, and the execution moves are very brutal.
The morale system is another core system of Wo Long. The more enemies you kill and the more successful reflection/counterattack you have, the more the morale bar will rise. Higher morale will fear the enemies on the field and they will cower, making it more favourable for you to attack, but elite enemies and bosses require higher morale. If you get hit hard and your morale drops, a lower morale bar makes enemies more aggressive but strengthens your defense.
You can go to an easy battle to raise your morale before going into a difficult situation, making the game a little easier. Although Wo Long does not have a difficulty option, morale is like a dynamic difficulty. Morale can also be used to unleash some ultimate skills (like Ninja Gaiden).
You can jump to dodge some attacks and then step on the heads of enemies and attack them in the air to hit them hard. You can step on the first enemy's head while running to jump higher and deliver a stronger attack to the enemies behind. Jumping allows you to directly attack the archers on the wall instead of using your bow (which has its own skill tree now). There are also different landing attacks.
The leak also discussed the setting. Players will be fighting many famous characters (such as Lu Bu) in Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty as well as yokai bosses. Human bosses drop unique armor and weapons equipped with specific skills or effects, while demon bosses drop spells (which are cast using talismans and pills).
Do take all this info with a grain of salt as the source is far from foolproof. Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty is scheduled to launch in early 2023 for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series S|X. The game will be playable on Game Pass from day one.