For PlayStation 4 and PC Nioh explores the Sengoku period of Japan and pairs it with a dark difficultly setting akin to that of the Dark Souls series. As you fit your way through the chaotic civil war period of Japan you’ll fight both fantasy creatures and men throughout your adventure.
For those unfamiliar with the Sengoku period of Japan this was a time of great civil war between the clans that occupied Japan which Nioh takes and adds a fantasy like element through the introduction of yokai (spirits and demons), ultimately making something unlike what has been seen before in the action genre.
Your story centres around someone not born of Japan though with William the Irishman where the hunt for mythical stones has taken him to Japan. Along the way his path twists to met with a number of historical figures of the period all while improving your samurai skills with stats, skills and all sorts of mix and matching. Weapons are also varied with a total of 3 melee and 3 ranged weapons that each come with 3 stances that alter their speed and damage.
Outside of the weapons, stances and abilities you choose the key mechanic of combat in Nioh is Ki which represents your stamina and vital to all movements and attacks that players perform. This sees players relying heavily on patience and the Ki reset mechanic which can keep your key level healthy by restoring Ki at any point in your combat combo, giving you a wildcard button.
Levels are all self contained with players asking them from the hub where the blacksmith and other menus live and are free to be customised outside of each level which ends with an epic boss battle. While mostly linear the rewards for exploration cannot be overlooked with collectibles, more experience, equipment, gold and consumables all lurking in greater quantity in the dark corners of the world which spans forests, buildings, ruined villagers and much more.
This sort of design is a common theme through Nioh as you balance risk and reward such as activating a shrine to regenerate health and level up at the cost of enemy respawns or fighting through multiple paths to ensure you collect all secrets or activating your living weapon for a period of invulnerability which drains faster the more damage you take.
The Dark Souls inspiration is strong with Nioh but it is so much more than a mere Dark Souls clone.
- Fight your way through a feudal Japan mixed with monsters.
- Utilise 6 different weapons each with several stances.
- Upgrade your character and customise stats for your playstyle.
- Epic and unique boss battles push your limits.
- Tackle a level in co-operative mode.
Review Platform: PS4