Tuesday, 07 March 2017 12:00

REVIEW: Nioh (PS4)

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Nioh is the latest title from Team Ninja, the studio behind the well known Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden series.

Nioh puts you in the shoes of a man called William who is on a journey across Japan in pursuit of the evil “Kelley”. William ends up in the middle of the “Warring States” where he becomes embroiled in the war-torn politics of the era and finds himself caught up in the fight in order to secure political favors and alliances.

Right away, the fighting in Nioh will look and feel very familiar to anyone that’s played Bloodborne or Dark Souls. Nioh is a fast paced game, but gives the player all the tools and mechanics you need to keep the fight moving, such as quick dodges, furious chain attacks, and edge of your seat weapon switching. As you attack, your stamina gauge will deplete. If your stamina gauge is completely empty, you are left vulnerable to fatal counter attacks, though any well-timed button press will allow you to recover a varying amount of stamina, so timing is everything here.

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So, is Nioh as tough as Dark Souls? It sure it. Nioh’s levels are punishing but fair for a majority of the game, that is until you come face to face with some certain bosses that seem to have more health than really seems fair. Each boss feels incredibly different and will test your skills in new and interesting ways.

Players are armed with different weapons, such as, katanas, swords, spears, and more, all of which have different weapon stance such as strong, medium, and light. A high stance will put out more damage, a medium stance will grant you greater defense, and a low stance put less strain on your stamina. Experimenting with different stances and weapons is key so you'll need to figure out what works best for your play style.

As you play you’ll earn experience points that you can use to increase your characters stats. You’ll also need to spend a lot of time and XP into individual skill trees for every class of weapon & every magic spell. As well as the skill tree system you have Nioh's own "Devil Trigger" skill which is a last resort type move you can trigger after filling your Guardian Spirit meter. But if all the above is too much for you, then don’t worry sometimes I found myself just button mashing and dodging my way to victory.

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As you play, you’ll find yourself picking up a lot of gear/loot, so item management plays a big role. You can equip anything you want as you go, but I recommend holding onto any older gear as you can sell it later, though you are able to drop items at anytime if you find yourself running low on room.

Graphical, Nioh is beautiful-looking game. You'll be fighting you way through dark creepy caverns, Japanese villages & snow covered ruins. Team Ninja have also added three different graphical options, "action," "movie," or a mixture of the two. Action mode ensure the game runs at a smooth 60FPS but with some sacrifices to graphics, while the movie option locks the game in at 30FPS.

The online play in Nioh works pretty well. Level difficulty is scaled up a little when playing cooperatively with another player, which makes sense. Players can even encounter graves of other players when connected online similar to Dark Souls, though instead of being able to see how a player died, the graves in Nioh can be activated to let players fight an AI version of the person that died there.

So should you pick up a copy of Nioh? Well if you’re into challenging combat combined with some light storytelling elements then yes, you should. Nioh is easily Team Ninja’s best game in a long time which should leave fans pretty excited for what the might have in store for the next Ninja Gaiden game.


Game Info

  • Review Score: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PS4
  • Developer: Team Ninja
  • Publisher: Koei Tecmo, Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Genre: Action / Adventure, Role-Playing, Action