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Wo Long first boss - How to beat Zhang Liang, General of Man

Zhang Liang will make you cry as you die, but it's worth persevering!

Zhang Liang is the first boss in Wo Long and boy does he live up to the billing of Team Ninja's reputation for making super-hard action games which test your patience as much as your reflexes and skill.

However, if you're coming into Wo Long and bouncing hard off this first big test, there's something you should know: Zhang Liang is one of the hardest bosses in the game.

It's not even funny. Compared to most of the other bosses in Wo Long, Zhang Liang is a complete brick wall for a few key reasons.

Firstly, because he's the first boss in the game you're facing him at your weakest, with the least amount of charges in your dragon flask and without a handle on which is the best weapon for your preferred playstyle.

Next, he's a two stage boss, which is relatively rare in Wo Long. So on top of being a tough introduction to the game's finer mechanics, it's one of the game's longest slogs too.

And finally, you're also likely attempting this without the help of AI companions, where most of the time you would have two. You haven't had time to find enough Tiger Seals to call them in consistently at this stage of Wo Long and they do a decent job of drawing aggro when you're in a tight spot.

By throwing in Zhang Liang as the first boss of Wo Long, it's almost like Team Ninja wanted players to Steam refund their purchase, but don't fear. Once you burst through this barrier, there are calmer - and more fun - waters ahead. Until you smack into the next brick wall, of course.

To help you over this giant hurdle, which just so happens to be wielding a giant club, here's how to beat Zhang Liang, General of Man in Wo Long.

How to beat Zhang Liang, General of Man in Wo Long

Beating Zhang Liang is not easy. However, it can be made easier if you remember a few core fundementals of combat in Wo Long. Consider the following points and you will be tasting glorious victory in no time.

  • Zhang Liang is teaching you how to deflect

First things first, notice the little message in the top left of the screen? It says "deflect right before receiving an enemy attack". You might have also noticed that Zhang Liang's basic attacking combo still hits you right at the edge of your dodge roll.

In it's own sadistic way, this is how Wo Long is trying to teach you to deflect.

So while it's certainly not simple to get the timing down straight away, you need to focus on deflecting the red-highlighted attacks as much as possible.

Doing so will allow you to fill up Zhang Liang's orange spirit meter and eventually punish him with a powerful stagger (press Triangle/Y when Zhang Liang stops and the reticle turns red).

Zhang Liang powering up an unblockable attack in Wo Long
  • You can guard against all the attacks that aren't highlighted red

With that said, you don't need to parry or dodge every single hit. The guard in Wo Long (L1 or LB) is actually very powerful and you can guard against pretty much every hit that isn't an unblockable red-highlighted attack at a small cost to your Spirit Gauge.

Whiffing a parry costs a non-negligible amount of spirit, so when in doubt, guard!

Zhang Liang raising his giant weapon to strike the player in Wo Long
  • Resist greed, or you will get smacked

Something new Wo Long players (me included) make the mistake of doing is getting greedy with opportunities, trying to attack too many times when there's an opening and failing to deflect a hard hit because of it.

Exercise restraint when retaliating, otherwise you will get stuck in a combo and won't have the time or opportunity to deflect an unblockable attack.

The player deflecting an attack from Zhang Liang in Wo Long
  • Spirit attacks will make Zhang Liang stagger more easily

There are two kinds of basic attacks in Wo Long: fast attacks (Square/X) and Spirit attacks (Triangle/Y).

Spirit attacks are slow and cost Spirit to use, but have the added benefit of reducing the size of the opponents Spirit meter considerably.

Be sure to sporadically work in some Spirit attacks to contribute to staggering Zhang Liang more easily.

Zhang Liang being staggered by a Spirit break in Wo Long
  • Don't spam Wizardry or Dodge Rolls

Also, remember: this isn't Dark Souls, Sekiro or Nioh. Dodge rolling is very costly in Wo Long and will land you in trouble if you rely on it too much.

Particularly in boss battles where deflecting big hits is very important, you want to be able to spend your Spirit on deflects at a moment's notice.

Instead of spamming dodge, guard instead. It's also probably best to refrain from Wizardry in this fight too and focus on learning the deflect timing.

  • Phase 2 is even more about deflecting the big hits

Phase 2 is even more so a test of your fledgling deflecting skills, and most of the time, you’re just weathering the storm before returning the favor once his spirit gauge is broken.

Keep your cool and victory will surely follow!

For more demon-slaying advice, check out our top Wo Long tips for returning fanatics and new players alike!

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