I won’t chew my words, Nioh is an odd one, and I mean that in the good sense. Team Ninja can be proud of that one, they really outdid themselves. As a diehard Dark Souls fan, I found everything I love in Nioh and more. For this game, “prepare to die” is an understatement.
Fortunately, Nioh is not a game that should be played for its gripping story and shocking plot twists. No, where it really shines is in the way it handles its difficulty beautifully. Even though its level design isn’t its greatest strength, it is still very efficient, and the developers have succeeded in exploiting it to its full extent. Enemy placement is flawless and traps are subtle, yet easily avoidable. The NPCs and creatures I faced always offered me a good challenge while also remaining fair. The game’s mechanics are deep and complex, giving the player a plethora of options and tactics to choose from in every situation, while at the same time being intuitive enough that more than a few tries are rarely necessary to find the right strategy before a tough opponent – though finding the right strategy and applying it correctly are two different matters. Even the game’s crafting system offers near-limitless possibilities to those patient enough to customize every single aspect of their equipment.
In conclusion, Nioh is a masterpiece held back only by poor storytelling and average level design. With tight gameplay mechanics and a difficulty that is both fair and unforgiving, it stands as the proud successor to the Dark Souls series, yet manages to remain its own, completely separate entity. I am really looking forward to seeing how the multiplayer aspect evolves over time. Fans of difficult games rejoice! Nioh will go down in history as one of those great games that really respects and masters its own mechanics. Now, prepare ro try – hard.