NIOH – Like Demon’s Souls with Katana’s

Hello ladies and gents,

This week I’d like to tell you all about a little hidden gem I found while searching the PSN store. Suggested by my brother who goes by the name “Cpt. Marvel” I decided to give it a shot after a bit of convincing and to my surprise… This game is a stunner.

Set in the 1600s, Nioh takes places in Japan during the Sengoku period – one characterized by lots of bloodshed and civil war. You play as a western samurai named William who is pursuing an enemy of some kind. Throughout the course of the game you’ll find the souls of fallen soldiers which will open up a dialogue about the setting and story behind the level.

Not much else is known to me about the story, and since this is the beta I thought I would focus mostly on the best part of the game- which is the game play and combat.

The combat revolves around a concept called “Ki” which is similar to Demon’s Soul’s use of stamina. Once your stamina runs out you’ll be susceptible to attacks and really strong finishes. In Nioh, Ki awareness is absolutely essential to winning a battle- no questions asked. If you swing wildly expect a short lived battle where your foe will block a few reckless shots and then finish you with a few quick swipes. There is a mechanic where you can instantly regenerate your Ki after a combo by pressing R1 and this is where the game takes off for me.

The combat in this game is pretty complicated, and so to help you, the developers have included a little bit in the beginning where you have to change stances, learn how to sprint, dodge, and take note of your surroundings. You will have an assortment of ranged and melee weapons to choose from, you’ll also have plenty of variety as each melee weapon is accompanied by three different stances.

High stance is the most powerful with the widest and longest of swings, you won’t be able to dodge very well and you won’t have much Ki left after a combo but your Ki breaks will be the best and damage will be amazing. Mid stance is the most balanced between damage and Ki usage, I like to use this stance to start a fight. Low stance is probably my favorite out of all the stances due to the speed and agility you have, yet as expected the damage output and Ki break are not very high. The utility in landing 4 hits while you’re trapped against a wall before you move is what I found most appealing to me, there is plenty of setup to counter and finish with another stance for max damage.

The enemies in this game will challenge you greatly with so much a difference in approach between all of them. Some enemies will fight in a pack which will force you to drop your stance to Low and hold them off one by one. Other enemies such as the Minotaur pictured above will not react to Mid or Low stance and will require a powerful hard attack to the head before they stutter back in pain. Nioh clearly has a learning curve that is completely worth it if you’re a fan of any of the Souls games, by the end of the beta I was left wanting more boss battles, levels to conquer, and dare I say…PVP? Yes! This game will include PvP and you’ll have the chance to prove your worth versing another human being to the death, it’s their cunning vs yours! I do have to add that the PvP will come in a patch post launch as per the developer’s announcement. I’m sure it won’t be long till it releases.

Before I end this blog I would like to put this here since this is the 39 minute clip from the last day of Nioh, the stream of this game that I did together with my brother Cpt. Marvel. It has a few bursts of anger but in all lots of fun to go along with it, these games are never easy and neither are they supposed to be.

I fought a boss at the temple (see 34:45 of the stream replay)  and showcased a good 2-3 hours of learning from this game, once I began to employ combos and stance switches the combat felt so rewarding.  I hope to get this game as it made an excellent impression on me.

Thanks for reading nerdfam,

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