Nioh is a new action RPG based on Japanese samurai culture and features guardians, demons, and more. You play as William, an Irishman who has had his longtime friend and guardian kidnapped away from him, and is suddenly plunged into the dark chaos happening in Japan.
Let’s just get this out of the way: yes, Nioh is difficult and challenging, but it’s not impossible. I’ve played all three Dark Souls, so I know a thing or two about dying a lot. Dark Souls has taught me so much about how to effectively kill enemies, from fighting the supposed weakest enemies (which can unfortunately easily kill you), to intense boss fights. It’s taught me to treat every enemy like a boss, to evaluate it and never underestimate its ability. After hearing that there wasn’t going to be anymore Dark Souls games, I was a little discouraged. I’ve known about Nioh since it was introduced, but I didn’t think anything of it until, earlier this year in January, I decided to play the demo, Nioh: The Last Chance. It was through that demo that I realized the game play was similar to the Dark Souls games. Despite beating all three Dark Souls games, I struggled. Nioh sat me down and explained to me, ” I may be similar to your past life, but I assure you, I am still very different – and I will crush you.” Which it did, over and over and over again. The fighting spark was back, and this time, instead of being a knight, I was to be a samurai.
Prepared? For what? Can’t I just go in and fight demons? No. Every enemy in Nioh can kill you and even has a chance to finish you off. Don’t rush into a room, sneak in and use your camera to see enemies who like to hide on the side of walls or in corners. I highly recommend taking out any enemy out with a bow or rifle if there is more than one of them by each other. It’s not very wise to fight two enemies at the same time. As such, you can’t really go button smashing, because even the simplest enemy can block your attack and waits to kill you after you run out of stamina. A real Samurai doesn’t go in swinging around his sword. He makes his stand and watches his enemies make the first move. He takes his time and sees when the enemy gives him an opening. Seriously, the game has a lot of tricks that they play on the player, like ” Oh, a piece of gear—” BAM! A demon hiding in the corner and backstabs you. It’s a game of patience and paying attention to detail. Once you get that down, you’ll find yourself going through levels easier and faster, and won’t be troubled with surprises, like “I didn’t know there was zombie behind those boxes.” If it looks suspicious, shoot an arrow or throw a bomb.
Choose your weapon and stance
Your character is allowed two melee weapons, like a sword and spear, and two range weapons, like a bow and rifle. There are also three different stances each melee weapon can be used in. Low-stance is used for quick dodges and easy blocking, mid-stance is a balance of attacking, dodging, and blocking, and high-stance is more for attacking. Not only does each stance have it own combos, but you can also unlock more combos to add into your stances. This gives you a better advantage, depending on what you’re fighting.
Ninjutsu and Onmyo Magic
Normally, I just worry about my stamina and health bar before magic. But Nioh is so much more than that. Ninjutsu are ninja tools, like a shuriken and bombs. Meanwhile, Onmyo magic means casting fireballs or casting a spell to make your weapon have a element effect on it. Carrying both has saved my life many times. Some enemies are either too fast or just hit really hard, and you need both to be able to take them down. Sure, using a bow or rifle can work, but it only really does damage if you hit them in their weak spots. While the range weapons are useful in their own way, they still don’t compare with having the ability to cast or use an enemy’s weakness.
Not an Open World
Nioh isn’t a open world game, instead it goes by missions. The world map has markers where you can choose to play a main story mission or a side mission. Now, here’s the really cool part: let’s say you play on Map A for the main story mission. You complete the mission and return to the world map, where you then notice that Map A now has two side missions behind the main mission or on the map in general. If you choose to do the side missions, instead of starting in the spot you started in the main mission, you’ll be put elsewhere. It’s the same map, but the enemies and treasures are placed in different spots. Where there was a ninja hiding behind boxes, now a demon is hiding in the corner spot of the room. An open world would most likely stay the same, but in this way, the gameplay is changed up.
There is SO much more to this game that I wish I could say…but that be a huge spoiler. Would I recommend this game to anyone who has played a Dark Souls game? Yes! Would I recommend this to anyone who is new to these types of games or who wants to get into games like this? Yes again! Would I recommend getting this if you own the PS4? YES x 3! It’s such a solid game that you can’t help but praise (the sun) about it! I do want to say that I think because it’s a PS4 only game, they really took their time to fine tune the game. Instead of worrying and making it for Xbox One and PC, they spent that extra time making the game more detailed and exciting, creating new and unique ways to play.