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10 Reasons Why Nioh Currently Rocks My World

Okay, so you’ve probably noticed we don’t have a review for Nioh yet. There’s a good reason for that – it’s a humongous game and I just don’t feel I’ve played enough of it yet to give you my definitive verdict. It’s coming soon though, rest assured.

Unless something drastic happens however, I’m sure that my review will be gushing. You see, all I’ve played of Nioh up to now has been an absolute pleasure.  From its visuals to its RPG elements to its exhilarating moment-to-moment gameplay, it’s hard to truly find fault with any particular aspect. It’s safe to say I’m pretty enamoured with it.

In order to give you a quick idea of what I really love about Nioh I’ve composed a list of ten reasons why it currently rocks my world. Hope you enjoy!

Samurai are cool

You know there’s no disputing it, they just are.

They have cool swords, cool armour, live by a cool code of honour. Have I emphasised that they’re cool enough yet? Tell me they’re not cool after this little fact: It was customary for Samurai to use incense to fragrance their helmets so that if they were defeated in combat and appropriately beheaded, the victor wouldn’t have to put up with a foul smell when carrying their now detached bonce as proof of their achievement. Okay, so that’s a bit gross and grim, but still cool, right?

Brilliant monster designs

Nioh’s monsters, or Yokai, are simply brilliant. You can disagree if you want, but I won’t listen to you.

Based on Japanese folklore, they’re a varied bunch but they’re consistently well-designed and full of character. I particularly like how their eastern influences shine through despite their often grotesque nature. In fact, they’re so well-designed that I often feel sorry for some of the more endearing Yokai as I slash and stab at them. It’s them or me, I tell myself though, either they die or I die. And in the end, I’d definitely rather it be them.

Epic bosses

Okay, no beating around the bush; Nioh’s bosses are truly epic.

I’m not talking about the size of them either, although many certainly are on the rather large side, but each and every one of them feels like a hard-fought battle. You’ll die, die and then die again as you test them to learn their moves and associated tells, but once you feel up for the task you’ll face them full-on, eager to show them all that you’ve got. Chances are you still might fail a few times, but once you emerge victorious you’ll be shaking with adrenaline and elated with your achievement. There’s no finer feeling than that!

Deep, fast-paced combat

Whilst it’s easy to make comparisons between Nioh and FromSoftware’s Souls series, many forget that the DNA of Ninja Gaiden runs through its veins too.

Like Ninja Gaiden, Nioh’s combat is fun, fast-paced and brutal. Enemies’ heads and limbs drop off as you finish them like a fleshy piñata, loot spilling forth from their corpses. There’s a great amount of depth to it all too, with multiple weapon types to master, advanced skills to learn and the management of Ki to consider. Topping it all off is yet more ways to humiliate your foes as you take steps to become a master of Jutsu or Onmyo magic. Yeah, there are plenty of ways to kill in Nioh, and they’re all utterly pleasurable.

Mission-based structure

Whilst having a big open world to explore is nice, sometimes, it pays to forego one for tighter gameplay and level design.

Nioh’s mission-based structure means there’s more variety in its environments and less wasted space. It allows for much more replayability as completed missions can easily be replayed, and new ones can take place in already explored areas that have been tweaked to provide a refreshed experience. It also means that if you stop playing the game for a few months and then return, it’s easier to pick up your progress from where you left off. See, contrary to popular belief, it’s not always better having a vast open world, eh?

Loot… so much loot

I love Diablo. I love Borderlands. I Love Nioh. What do they all have in common? Loot. Loads and loads of loot.

I just can’t get enough of loot in games. It provides the impetus I need to play for hours on end, ever hopeful that I’ll come across that perfect upgrade that will make my character a certified badass. The loot system in Nioh is particularly rewarding thanks to the huge range of modifiers that can inhibit its vast range of weapons and armour. To top it all off you can even offer up your unwanted loot at a shrine, gaining Amrita which is essential for character development and some extra goodies, or disassemble it at the blacksmith for materials to forge new items with. Whatever you do, you’re sure to be heading out again shortly after to find yet more of the stuff. Happy days!

Kodama are actually worth collecting

Collectibles in videogames are a bit useless for the most part, aren’t they? When it comes to Nioh though, things are different.

Spread across Nioh’s main missions, usually off the beaten path, Kodama are frog-like creatures that are in your best interest to hunt down and collect. Aside from the sense of accomplishment you gain by doing so, you can ask them to grant you a blessing, aiding your adventure. You can choose from a boost to your gained Amrita, an increased elixir drop rate, or even a higher chance for weapons to be looted from enemies, amongst other benefits. Best of all, the more Kodama you find, the greater the effect. You can’t get fairer than that.

Extensive character development

Games are undoubtedly better when there’s a clear feeling of progression. RPG style character development is a great way to offer that.

Using the Amrita gained by defeating enemies as well as a couple of other methods, the development of Nioh’s William is in your hands. You can choose to focus on his health, strength or magic capabilities, distributing attribute points as appropriate. Then you’ve got to consider how you spend your various skill points on the many trees available. Finally, you’re in control of William’s equipment, so make it count. Hunt down or forge the best gear, familiarise yourself with it, and work out which bonuses and status upgrades work best for you. It’ll all pay dividends in the long run.

Spirit Guardians are cute

Nioh is a violent game. It’s also quite dark. Lightening the tone at times, however, are the protagonist’s various Spirit Guardians.

From cats with eyepatches to daintily adorned turtles, each and every one of Nioh’s Spirit Guardians looks lovable in its own unique way. Well, that is until you unleash them as your living weapon, ready to inflict a world on pain on your hapless victim. You’re able to collect a variety of Spirit Guardians for use during your adventure, and, depending on your synergy with them, they can each offer a host of passive benefits. Very handy indeed when the path you walk is truly perilous.

Choice of Action or Movie Mode

Choice is good isn’t it? The freedom to make your own decisions will always win over having things imposed upon you.

The developers of Nioh acknowledge this, giving you multiple ways in which to play their masterpiece. With Action Mode enabled you can prioritise the game’s framerate over flashy visuals, improving fluidity and making the experience feel more responsive. Those who prefer a bit more eye candy however, can play in Movie Mode, pleasing their eyeballs at the expense of the framerate which you can also choose to be locked or unlocked. Personally, I’m one of those despicable individuals who chooses to play with the visuals at max. A solid 30fps is fine by me if it looks noticeable nicer. You don’t have to do the same though. Go with your heart; only you can choose what’s right for you.

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