Nioh (PlayStation 4) Preview

By Gabriel Jones 22.01.2017

Review for Nioh on PlayStation 4

The upcoming action-adventure game Nioh has certainly drawn a few comparisons with Dark Souls and its ilk. Its approach to combat, as well as the concept of life and death, will evoke a sense of nostalgia among veterans of that classic franchise. Despite the similarities, Team Ninja's latest does more than enough to stand out. Not only is this game just as challenging and entertaining as its inspiration, but it also maintains an identity very much its own through the proper implementation of several great ideas.

Surviving Nioh requires more than just a familiarity with From Software's popular franchise. To start off, combat is more complex. William (the hero) will come across many types of weapons, and they have three stances, all with differing movesets and abilities. Switching between stances can be done at any moment, benefitting those who want to push the attack or play defensively. More techniques can be acquired through the expenditure of Samurai skill points. Investing in the right build can make all the difference in combat. Aside from suiting the player's style, a good build can absolutely obliterate some otherwise difficult bosses.

Another major factor to consider is Ki. Ki functions similarly to stamina, but it's even more integral to avoiding a miserable death. When William's Ki is in the red, he's left vulnerable to critical attacks, which can wipe him out nearly instantly. Excessive actions such as attacking and blocking can quickly deplete Ki, but it can also be drained by getting hurt. Taking a club to the solar plexus is a good way for the hero to get the wind knocked out of him. This system goes both ways. Every enemy has a Ki bar of their own, and will fall victim to increased damage or finishers when it's empty. There are handy techniques known as pulses, which restore Ki in a pinch. It's important to take into account every possible factor when duelling.

Screenshot for Nioh on PlayStation 4

In the spirit of games like Diablo and Torchlight, the gear William comes across will have varying degrees of rarity. The less common a weapon or armour is, the more likely it is to have better stats and unique abilities. Equipment is also levelled, so William should consider visiting the blacksmith if his favourite arsenal is becoming a little outdated. This process involves sacrificing higher level items, but it's an acceptable trade-off if William can't really use them. Aside from stat requirements, equipment can also be more beneficial to those who have mastered certain skills, such as ninjutsu or onmyo magic.

If William is searching for phat loot, his options aren't limited to repeatedly slaying the same foul demons. Though the Yokai are capable of dropping several goodies like a devilish piñata, the best valuables tend to be dropped by revenants. In this game, whenever a player dies, they leave behind a bloody grave. These graves will appear in the player's world, giving them an opportunity to summon a revenant for a duel. Win, and there's a good chance they'll drop some tasty equipment. Defeating higher level revenants can lead to some amazing finds, but there's always a risk involved.

Though this game lacks a cohesive interconnected world, it makes up for it by having unique mission types. If certain conditions are met, William can attempt a twilight mission. Under a blood red sky, one should expect to run into even greater threats. The twisted demons are stronger and more diverse. Revenants also have a nasty habit of summoning themselves to battle with the hero. Naturally, anyone who makes their way through this nightmare will become all the richer for it.

Screenshot for Nioh on PlayStation 4

Final Thoughts

Through a series of timed demos, Nioh has proven that it's more than just "Samurai Souls." The multitude of skills and weapon types lend a high level of diversity to every duel. An astonishing amount of care was given to the mechanics, so battles are exceptionally thrilling and never unfair. The variety and rarity in terms of gear will appeal to any fan of modern action RPGs. At the same time, nobody is forced into the doldrums of "grinding" away on the same handful of monsters in the hopes of grabbing the shiniest piece of loot. Each and every subsystem is well balanced. All in all, another potentially excellent game is mere weeks away.


Team Ninja




Real Time RPG



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


Hoping this is a return to form for Team Ninja. They're right to hold Ninja Gaiden back for now, as they look to finally get this one out there and ensure it gets the love it needs. I'm sure this will allow them to make a good NG4 when the time is right. Hope this is a massive success for them.

Some people (mostly on Facebook) have been saying the game feels clunky to them, but I really liked it. To me, it just felt like Dark Souls, only with more gear customization. In just one level in the demo, you could get several different katanas, a hammer, and so on. The inclusion of combos that you learn from leveling up is exactly what I needed to feel as though I'm actually achieving something, making progress... rather than essentially waiting for a better weapon and leveling your stats in Dark Souls. Nioh is just more dynamic like that.

IMO, the gameplay shows what Dark Souls should've been like from the start. It's more, it's better -- it's a bit more fun, I suppose.

( Edited 23.01.2017 15:26 by Leo Epema )


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