PlayStation 49.20
Overall 9.20
Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden, Bayonetta and now Nioh. Yes this game is that good, its one of the best hack and slash action games ever made and any fan of this genre needs to try it out. Now its the most different from that group as it does not focus on non stop stylish graded action but instead broken up into Dark Souls like levels and more one on one methodical combat. Because of its structure its also far bigger than any of those other games, being more RPG in scale and customization than straight action game.

The action is where this game excels, it has all the depth and customization of a dark souls like RPG. LOADS of weapons and gear, its almost a loot game as well. But the backbone is a fantastic action game where timely attacks with timely button presses which regenerates your Ki (stamina) to allow longer combos. Each weapon type has a skill tree of their own with all kinds of special attacks to learn; each type is unique and allow for different playstyles and strategies. I like to keep it fast and agile so I go light armor with dual swords or kusarigamas for fast striking. Each attack can be a strong quick or normal attack , each stance having their own special attacks as well. Evasion and blocking is very responsive and also fast paced, this is no Souls game, it feels far closer to NG in speed and that makes all the difference in the world.

The game structure is unique in that its split into many small levels. You pick the level you want as they unlock, most have a decent sized maze like area with a major boss waiting at the end. SOme of these locations are inspired like a crazy gravity devying mansion, a dock that is being ravaged by a sea monster, or a battle field filled with the living dead. It takes a while to really get going but once it does the levels do start to have great personality. The level design is rather simple though with lots of blocked off paths that get open later to use as a shortcut in case you die and have to start at the last shrine (think bonfire). As interesting as the levels themes get the design makes the progression through these levels feel samey. This is where the Souls games have a clear advantage, nothing in the level design reaches the best of those games but Nioh has enough memorable stages to hang with the other action games.

The size and scope of the game is very impressive. You dont just have a ton of regular levels to go through but side missions which many times are new smaller areas with a special boss battle or previous area with all new enemies. These bite sized missions feel great after the hour long regular missions take their toll on you. Then there are the hard version nightmare versions of levels and the post game versions which are even harder. The progression fits perfectly with the size of the game, way too many RPG like games screw up and level up your character so fast that the game becomes a cake walk, not so here, everything feels fined tuned so that every level is a challenge and even if you do farm and level up too quickly there are bones levels and challenges to test you all the way through.

Everything about this game works; coop is a blast even if its not as complex as the Souls games. The bosses are generally great, there are a couple that become a little too easy and predictable but there are enough odd balls to keep it interesting. Nioh has this addictive loot based gameplay loop that is satisfying not just cause it's fun to level up but it requires absolute mastery of the action the way the best action games do.

Play this game. It may not be the best looking game. It may not be as polished as a Souls game. It may not be as flashy as a DMC game. But I promise there is no better mix between hardcore action and RPG like gear and content like Nioh.  
Posted by Dvader Tue, 13 Mar 2018 02:59:30
Tue, 13 Mar 2018 06:47:15
It's funny I'm a few hours into this game and not once did I think of DMC or Ninja Gaiden until I read this. It does have that kind of Ninja Gaiden combat and control...but the core of the game is so similar to Dark Souls that for me anyway I didn't even think of it in a more action game kind of way.
Tue, 13 Mar 2018 23:40:55
Do you only play as a single protagonist or is there a variety with different strengths and weaknesses?
Fri, 16 Mar 2018 17:25:03
There's tons of modifications you can make to your character, weapons, and armor. Very deep RPG mechanics.
You can merge weapons to expand their levels and abilities, for example giving a sword an elemental ability or giving an armor set an immunity to paralysis or something like that.
You can also develop your character much like Dark Souls to be really strong or have a ton of dexterity, and give him various ninja skills etc.
There's also companion characters in different missions which adds a nice touch.
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