Nioh - ex­tremely re­ward­ing once you fig­ure it out

Bray People - - ENTERTAINMENT -

TOUTED as the hellish lovechild of the Ninja Gaiden and Dark Souls se­ries, Team Ninja’s lat­est ac­tion RPG unashamedly bor­rows from two of the most fa­mously dif­fi­cult games ever made.

Nioh tells a highly em­bel­lished tale of western samu­rai Wil­liam Adams, a real-life his­tor­i­cal fig­ure who ar­rived on Ja­panese shores some­time in the 17th cen­tury. The folk­lore-heavy plot is not par­tic­u­larly well told, although it does pro­vide some mem­o­rable mo­ments. Nioh’s bread and but­ter is its in­cred­i­bly deep and out­ra­geously com­plex com­bat sys­tem.

The move list in Nioh is far more com­pli­cated than any­thing Dark Souls has to of­fer. Nioh of­fers a com­plex skill tree of­fer­ing many un­lock­able manouev­ers that give each weapon a huge depth and great flex­i­bil­ity.

Pre­pare to be mash­ing the R1 but­ton to obliv­ion through­out the course of Nioh, as it serves two ex­tremely im­por­tant pur­poses. One, it serves as a way to trig­ger a very unique me­chanic called ‘Ki Pulse’. Ki is your stamina and un­like other ac­tion RPG games, your stamina ex­pends at a rather alarm­ing rate. To recharge your me­ter faster, you need to press the R1 but­ton fol­low­ing an at­tack to trig­ger a Ki Pulse.

It takes some get­ting used to but it is a crit­i­cal fea­ture, es­pe­cially if you wish to have any hope of beat­ing this mad­den­ingly dif­fi­cult game. R1 also dou­bles as a way to change your stance. There’s high, medium, low, and sheathed stances, all of which mod­ify the amount of Ki you spend and the di­rec­tion or strength of your at­tacks. If the ac­tual game­play it­self wasn’t dif­fi­cult enough, you also have to deal with the con­vo­luted item man­age­ment sys­tem, which is the only real ma­jor gripe I have with Nioh.

Although Team Ninja toned the equip­ment sys­tem down a lit­tle bit af­ter the first beta, items still drop like hot­cakes, and while sell­ing them for Am­rita cur­rency to level-up is nice, you’re go­ing to sift through a lot of junk too.

Nioh would greatly ben­e­fit from a western style RPG ‘ trash” sys­tem, where you can eas­ily mark items as junk and sell in bulk upon reach­ing a ven­dor. Nioh is an ab­so­lutely fab­u­lous Ac­tion RPG, but not one for the faint of heart. It is pos­si­bly even more dif­fi­cult than From’s leg­endary Dark Souls games and that should be an in­di­ca­tor of just how frus­trat­ing this game can be.

Say­ing that, once you have it ‘fig­ured out’, it is one of the most re­ward­ing games I have played in re­cent mem­ory.

Pre­pare to be mash­ing the R1 but­ton to obliv­ion through­out the course of Nioh, es­pe­cially if you wish to have any hope of beat­ing this mad­den­ingly dif­fi­cult game.

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