The latest addition to the Team Ninja portfolio, Nioh, is a return to their best with beautiful graphics and challenging gameplay. The Souls-inspired hack and slash is shaped by it’s settings in early Japan during a great social upheaval. The character development is sublime and although the storyline left a lot to be desired, the cast of characters that piece that story together are interesting and engaging. Much like its inspiration, the challenging gameplay of Nioh will leave you with a long line of deaths in any number of inventive ways. However, with a rich array of solutions to encounter and utalize, each death will get you that much closer to perfection.
Although a distinct homage to Dark Souls, Noah offers a unique identity of it’s own with intricate and layered combat mechanics. The mechanics allow just enough room for customisation while adhering to the ever-frustrating stamina-based framework. The wide variety of enemy units and frustratingly challenging bosses give the story depth, a story that is remarkably adaptable in that it is able to shift effortlessly from cheerful, to epic and then suddenly terrifying!
“…it is able to shift effortlessly from cheerful, to epic and then suddenly terrifying!”
The combat gameplay within Noah is by far its strongest and most endearing feature. Each combat seqeuence allows for the combination of the position-based nuance of Souls and the combo-rich hack and slash thrill of a more traditional fighting game. The result is challenging, dynamic and entertaining.
The major deficiency with Nioh is it’s seemingly unrelatable lead character, William. As a player, I never felt invested in his journey and development over the almost 70 hours of end to end gameplay. However, where William’s character stumbles, the rest of the cast do their best to take up the slack, giving the player context and emotion that aid in bringing the story together. With their help the journey is filled with lighthearted moments, epic scenery and battle sequences, and terrifying moments with the beasts lurking in the dark just beyond.