Released originally on February 7th 2017 as a console exclusive for the Playstation 4, Nioh is an action RPG game that takes place in 17th century Japan during a fictitious Sengoku period. Developed by Koei Tecmo’s Team Ninja, the game would later be ported to the PC on November 17th of the same year.
SYNOPSIS & STORY
Set in the 1600s, you play as William, a sailor who is chasing after a man by the name of Edward Kelly. William’s pursuit leads him to the shores of Japan during the late Sengoku period, which includes meeting historical figures such as Tokugawa Ieyasu and Hattori Hanzo. While much of the Nioh’s story is based on events of that time, liberties are taken with the plot such as the introduction of Yokai as a result of constant warfare and death that has been ravaging Japan in this particular period. Spirit stones called Amrita are the main reason why the antagonist Kelly is in Japan, as it grants power for its user, but becomes corrupted when evil intentions are involved.
The graphics side of Nioh is simply breathtaking despite it being a port for the PC from the PS4. The artistic flair of the armor and architecture of the Sengoku period comes to life with a great deal of attention to detail, while the ambient environment effects supplement the immersion of feudal Japan. However, it isn’t a perfect experience as there are instances where the game takes a slight dive in frames when sharing the gaming experience live and in the Sekigahara region of the game. Despite this stumble, Nioh is still gorgeous to look at, even when playing at lower settings.
Jumping into Nioh with a controller feels tight like a glove seeing as it’s a direct port from the Playstation 4. Although it does possess a keybind setup for Mouse & Keyboard, running with my Xbox One controller felt more intuitive and better responding to the unpredictability of the Dark Souls type of action that I encountered. In its XP system and combat, it very much feels similar to that franchise as well. However, this was a bit more forgiving and eased a much newer player into the grind, salt, and persistence that is Nioh. Even when finished with the vanilla story, the grind doesn’t stop there as the DLCs and harder difficulties that you unlock will provide plenty of moments for continuing the grind, as well as instances where you want to throw your controller out of the window. Enemies and Bosses alike share in annoying attacks and near-death experiences for William, but the reward for figuring out how to beat them is “oh so bittersweet.”
Nioh had been one of those titles that I had originally been interested in since the PS4 debuted but never really followed through with purchasing it. When it came out on Steam as a complete edition, is when I found was the best time to experience the title for myself and see how different it was from other Dark Souls type games. In my first session with the game after tweaking settings and going in not knowing what to expect, Nioh wowed me with its stunning graphics, easy storyline, and constant yet consistent quantities of action and japanese folklore. Even if the grinding portion feels a bit overwhelming at times, Nioh is easily a title that you must have in your collection, considering that new players can ease themselves into the action, and still provide a challenge for players that are accustomed to this sort of action.