Dark Samurai Souls

"Nioh" draws inspiration from hard games

Nioh2C

By Elliott Gatica  Music Editor

When was the last time the gaming community was given a decent triple-A samurai type of game? I don’t even know. The Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors series don’t really seem to have the longevity or lasting appeal like Nioh seems to have done. 

Speaking of longevity and appeal, this game excels at having both. It borrows the combat mechanics, difficulty, and interface of Dark Souls, but adds its own in-depth skill and weapon customization system. Sometimes, I feel as if this game is a reskin of a Dark Souls game, but set in the late Sengoku period in Japan.

Like a typical Souls game, it has a frustratingly set difficulty. So, yes, players who are inexperienced or have had no exposure to the Dark Souls franchise will have a fun time dying constantly. 

Also like the Souls games, dying a first time will result in a loss of all the experience points and dropping a beacon with your spirit animal in the location of your death. A second time dying — without retrieving the animal — will result in a loss of all accumulated experience points, which has already happened to me in several aggravating instances.

The mechanics are also the same, but feel a tad bit faster than the Souls franchise. There’s stamina which is consumed from sprinting and using melee weapons. Compared to Dark Souls, though, I feel that Nioh punishes the player tenfold when running out of stamina or just being left vulnerable in a fight. It can be a good thing, unless you have little patience.

There’s also a wider range of customizations to weapons and abilities. With some RNG in the mix, players can bring lower level weapons up to par with higher level ones through a system called ‘soul match.’ It’s something much appreciated because this allows the player to use preorder or DLC armor and weapons that cap out at earlier levels beyond early and mid-game content. Plus, the armor looks more aesthetically badass.

Speaking of badass though, what really made me pick this game up on Day One release is that I can use my starting or barebones gear and copy its look onto the more powerful and higher leveled gear. Customization is a huge deal for me for action RPG games. So, I can choose to look like I ran the game with no support, making it seem like I’m an easier foe to people online. Maybe I can look heavily armored but have absolutely no defense. The opportunities seem endless!

The only shortcoming that I have experienced from this game is the story. It’s a bit hard to follow. The only characters I know are the player-controlled character, William, and some ninja with a random cat in his gi named Hanzo. All I know is that William is a western samurai who is in pursuit of a person named Kelly, who had taken his little spirit animal. It unveils the location of Japan, which benefitted Kelly in searching for ‘Amrita.’ I thought Amrita was just the term for experience points in this game, but apparently it’s more than that. Like I said, it’s hard to follow.

Overall, this game is something that Souls fans and samurai game fans would definitely appreciate. Hell, this is even a bit more of a challenge than the Dark Souls games! 

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“Nioh”

Developed by: Team Ninja

Published by: Koei Tecmo, Sony Interactive Entertainment

Directors: Fumihiko Yasuda, Yosuke Hayashi

Writers: Fumihiko Yasuda, Makoto Shibata, Masaki FujitaKatsuyuki Shiga

Composer: Yugo Kanno

Out now on: PlayStation 4, $59.99

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