An­drew White­head has trav­elled Nioh and far to bring you this preview

Hyper - - EDITORIAL -

It’s hard to be­lieve that Koei Tecmo’s Nioh ac­tu­ally ex­ists. This was a game that was an­nounced by Koei all the way back in 2004 and orig­i­nally con­ceived as a strange tie-in to an un­filmed Akira Kuro­sawa film script. Af­ter that fell through, the game was re­tooled for the PS3, tar­get­ing a 2006 re­lease… which, ob­vi­ously, never hap­pened. Fast-for­ward to 10 years later, where things have changed dra­mat­i­cally: Tecmo and Koei tied the cor­po­rate knot, the PS4 is lead­ing the mar­ket, and games like Dark Souls have be­come mas­sive global suc­cess sto­ries. So, when Nioh re-emerged last year, recre­ated by Team Ninja into a tough-as-nails ac­tion-RPG, peo­ple were gen­uinely sur­prised it still lived.

Of course, lan­guish­ing in de­vel­op­ment hell for over a decade is cer­tain to set off a few alarm bells – re­mem­ber the messes of Duke Nukem For­ever and Aliens: Colo­nial Marines? But we’ve got good news: Nioh’s look­ing like a su­perb Sen­goku-era ad­ven­ture. Hooray!

Play­ers as­sume the role of Wil­liam (based on real-life his­tor­i­cal fig­ure Wil­liam Adams), a strangely West­ern sa­mu­rai in a Ja­pan that had gone to great lengths to shut Western­ers out dur­ing that par­tic­u­lar pe­riod in his­tory. Un­for­tu­nately, Wil­liam’s rugged blue-eyed, blond-haired ap­pear­ance isn’t just draw­ing

at­ten­tion from his hu­man peers on the Ja­panese is­lands. There’s a whole host of de­mons, ghost, and other as­sorted yokai out for his blood for rea­sons as of yet un­spec­i­fied. While there seems to be some hints of an in­ter­est­ing back­story here – and there are ru­mours that fic­tion­alised ver­sions of other Ja­panese his­tor­i­cal fig­ures from the Sen­goku pe­riod will put in ap­pear­ances – most of the em­pha­sis in the demos and hands-on time Koei-Tecmo has given us has been on the game­play.

Team Ninja’s forte is ac­tion-based game­play with a hefty chal­lenge level, and that’s pre­cisely what you’re go­ing to be get­ting here: Nioh takes no pris­on­ers in its com­bat. But don’t be ex­pect­ing to zip around the play-field with the ac­ro­batic com­bat of the Ninja Gaiden games here. Nioh takes a page from the From Soft­ware play­book for its com­bat de­sign (a fact the de­vel­op­ers proudly pro­claim), mak­ing it so that ev­ery move­ment must be care­fully con­sid­ered un­der pres­sure. A stamina me­ter drains away with ev­ery slash, dodge, and guard Wil­liam per­forms, leav­ing him nigh help­less if he ex­pends it fully. Foes don’t go down eas­ily, though, and play­ers will need to fight many times to learn ef­fec­tive strate­gies against their as­sailants. You’ll also be able to make use of myth­i­cal guardian spir­its that grant pas­sive ef­fect bonuses, pro­tect your valu­able ac­cu­mu­lated Am­rita, and trans­form into liv­ing weapons that can grant im­mense at­tack power.

Team Ninja seems de­ter­mined to make Nioh a fan­tas­tic ex­pe­ri­ence, and they’ve al­ready taken feed­back from an ear­lier playable al­pha on the PlayS­ta­tion Store into ac­count, elim­i­nat­ing weapon dura­bil­ity, re­bal­anc­ing stamina use, ad­just­ing the cam­era, and ex­pand­ing the playable tu­to­rial to help else play­ers into the ad­ven­ture be­fore it cru­elly tears you apart. A sec­ond, lim­it­ed­time demo is slated for Au­gust, so take it for a spin if this sounds like your bloody cup of tea. You can look for­ward to leav­ing this mor­tal coil many times over later this year on the PlayS­ta­tion 4.

Nioh takes a page from the from soft­ware play­book for its com­bat de­sign, which means con­stant pres­sure


Some­thing tells us that mus­ket won't do much against rag­ing Dhal­sim

Al­ways strike a pose when en­e­mies catch fire. Al­ways...

He knows how to fight. She's just wing­ing it. We'll see our­selves out

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