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Nioh, More Than a Dark Souls Clone?

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With so many big releases already in February and more to come going into early March, you could nearly be forgiven for overlooking Nioh. A game which has endured much torment and disappointment during development stages, has finally made its way to the Playstation 4. Nioh was first announced in 2004 and was originally called Oni. From the start of the development stage to the end product, it was roughly around 12.5 years on. In 2010 the video game development company Koei Tecmo announced that Team Ninja had been assigned onto the development process. Team Ninja had been responsible for bringing us games like Dead or Alive and Ninja Gaiden. For reference if you're unsure, let's get into the review for Team Ninja's action RPG Nioh or Ni-Oh if you please.
As stated above Nioh is an action RPG that dotes in epic boss battles and tough enemies capable of bringing down any foe who shall lose concentration at any given time. That is right ladies and gentlemen, even the most basic of enemies are capable of killing William (your character) in just a few hits. Nioh follows the adventures of an Englishman who travels to a war-torn Japan that is plagued by demons known as the Yokai. The Yokai inhabit nearly every square inch of Japan and it is William's mission not only to track down his stolen Guardian Spirit but also bring an end to the reign of demons in Japan. You will embark on many missions across different locations making every victory seem like a worthwhile one.
While the story is not overly riveting, it is enough to keep you satisfied as you ponder through cutting down any demon that shall be unlucky enough to cross your path. As well as the main story, Nioh also offers what is called Twilight Missions which are essentially re-sculpted levels that are completely inhabited by the Yokai. With a harder mission comes greater rewards and they are a great way of levelling up your character and getting new gear providing that you can finish them (yes they are tough) Nioh also offers sub missions that generally unlock after completing a main mission and while they are not essential for you to finish the game, I would highly recommend playing them for their rewards and experience points that you can earn to level up and believe me, you will need it.

During missions you will come across graves that have an option to "Summon Revenant". Much like the blood pools in Dark Souls, this lets you know that someone has passed on to another realm in this spot. It will tell you the details of their undoing, show you their level and a basic guide of what gear they are wearing. When summoning and defeating a revenant, they have a chance to drop you some of their gear they were wearing, which can be very nifty in getting that piece of your gear set that you are missing. While fighting these revenants is not compulsory, it can certainly help you in the long run in your road to completion.
Nioh's mission system is something that also separates it from Dark Souls. Missions are selected from your "Starting Point". At your starting point you can choose to replay a mission you have previously completed, move forward to the next mission, complete a sub mission, complete training missions in the Dojo, visit the Blacksmith and have her craft or upgrade your weapon and also select twilight missions. While I was unsure as to how it would all work at the start, I become quite fond of the idea of having a starting point, or if you wish to make a reference to the Soul's series, your Firelink shrine or Majula. Missions can be played in co-op by either summoning in someone during the mission or partying up before hand and selecting a mission providing both players have completed that mission.
The skill tree serves as another reason that Nioh differentiates itself from Dark Soul's in the fact that you earn skill points that allow them to be spent on different abilities be them passive or active. Each weapon has a skill tree and allows you to build a character that will best suit your play style.
It is this difficulty and fact that even the most basic of enemies will cut you down should you lose concentration that brings people to the conclusion that it is merely a Samurai Dark Souls clone and this couldn't be further from the truth. While through some parts of the game it will have you saying, yeah wow, this is most definitely like Dark Souls, there is also enough there that gives Nioh its own taste and personality. Such references to the Dark Souls franchise can be seen in the form of Amrita, your levelling up currency and kicking down a ladder or opening a door from behind to open a shortcut back to the shrine (bonfire if you will). However from combat, through to guardian spirits there is enough for me to say outright, Nioh is not a Dark Soul's clone.

Nioh's mission system is something that also separates it from Dark Souls. Missions are selected from your "Starting Point". At your starting point you can choose to replay a mission you have previously completed, move forward to the next mission, complete a sub mission, complete training missions in the Dojo, visit the Blacksmith and have her craft or upgrade your weapon and also select twilight missions. While I was unsure has to how it would all work at the start, I become quite fond of the idea of having a starting point, or if you wish to make a reference to the Soul's series, your Firelink shrine or Majula.
Combat is based on stances that range from low, mid and high. Low stance being the fastest and enabling you to strike quickly and precisely, to the mid stance which hits with medium impact without compromising a whole heap of speed. The high stance is designed for pure power attacking. Some enemies can't be hit from a certain stance, which makes it pivotal to know when to switch stances so you don't become caught out figuring out why you could not hit that spider that kept poisoning you and slowing you down. The stance you use can make the difference between life and death, so choosing which one to use becomes very vital. There are four different types of weapons you can spec your character into using. This includes the axe or Warhammer, sword, dual swords, polearms (spear) and what they call Kusarigama (a bladed weapon on the end of chain). Then there are ranged weapons which by all means no pun intended range from Rifles, Bows and Hand Cannons. This variety helps you deal with each situation as it arises, providing you don't get hit to many times! Couple these things with Magic (Onmyo) and Ninjutsu and you can soon become a wrecking ball on a path to complete destruction of the Yokai.


Each of these weapons have their advantages and disadvantages. For example the axe hits hard but is slower and takes longer to land hits whereas the Kusarigama can be used rapidly and land a number of hits in a very short period of time. The Polearm/spear can be used to keep enemies at bay keeping distance between you and them, and the dual swords can pack a big punch very quickly. You can choose your starting weapons after the first level, although you don't need to be stuck with them if you do not wish to. You can spec your character to a weapon that suits your play style.

Another thing that separates Nioh from Dark Souls is the loot drop system. If I had to reference it to something, Borderlands would be the one that comes to mind. You will never be short on loot, and these loot items range from weapons, armour, consumables, and mission items that are graded on a scale from "Common" to "Divine". Match this with a blacksmith who can "Soulmatch" which is basically infusing your weapons together to make your current one stronger and it is a whole new ball game. You can offer your unwanted loot to the blacksmith for gold or offer to the gods at the shrine for more Amrita.
While there is so much more about this game I could tell you, it would take me many a week or even a month to complete it. The best advice I can give to any of you who are considering this game, is that it is brilliant, it is yet another tick on the great exclusive games that Sony keeps seeming to produce. The game is quite complex, quite long and once again I will reiterate, quite difficult. But the sense of achievement is this game is real, and I suggest that you at least give it that chance to blow your mind away.

Once again and as always, thanks for reading ladies and gentlemen!

Weeksy
Aussie Gamers Express


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