This is a thread for Nioh, the upcoming samurai action/RPG from Team Ninja for the Playstation 4. Nioh will be released in North America on February 7 and Europe on February 8.
What’s Nioh About?
In Nioh, we play as William, an Irish samurai. He’s based on a real guy: William Adams, an Englishman who came to Japan in 1600 and became the first ever Western samurai, advising the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. Obviously, Nioh isn’t very historically accurate. The William we play as is Irish, not English, and he looks like Geralt of Rivia, not a sailor with a sweet 17th-century hat.
Oh, and he fights demons.
Along the way, we’ll encounter fictionalized versions of figures from Japan’s history, including Tachibana Muneshige, Oda Nobunaga, and Yasuke, an African samurai.
So, How Does It Play?
You’ve probably heard that Nioh is like Dark Souls, only with samurai and ninjas, but that’s only half-right. Nioh certainly has some Dark Souls-inspired game systems–you level up your stats at shrines using the absorbed essence of your enemies (amrita), you drop your amrita where you died and need to retrieve it–but it plays very differently. Some key differences include:
- Skill trees! Nioh has five main melee weapon types: katana, dual katana, axe/hammer, spear, and kusarigama, and each has a unique skill tree where you can unlock new combos, finishers, and special moves. There are also two types of magic with skill trees: onmyo magic lets you prepare magical talismans to attack enemies, buff your weapons, or buff yourself, while ninjutsu gives you various shuriken, traps, and bombs to attack and weaken your enemies.
- Stance switching! There are three stances for each weapon. In mid stance, your attacks often have wider swings, and you’re better at blocking attacks. In low stance, your attacks take less ki (stamina) and are faster, but do less damage–this is the stance for moving quickly and doing lots of attacks in quick succession. In high stance, you attack more slowly, but your attacks hit harder, eat through enemy ki faster, and break their guard. Switching stances regularly is important.
- Combos! Nioh’s combos are a bit more intricate than the ones you can do in Souls games, including the potential to cancel out of attack strings by switching stances mid-combo.
- Enemy stamina bars! Enemies have a visible ki meter just like you do, so you always know how much energy they have to attack you or avoid your attacks with. Hitting enemies damages their ki, and when they run out, you can do a powerful critical attack. Fair warning, though: you play by the same rules, so make sure your ki bar doesn’t flash red or you can get destroyed by a critical attack right back!
- Ki pulsing! The “ki pulse” is a very important skill to master. When you spend ki in Nioh, part of your ki meter stays red, and you’ll see a white bar start to fill up that red section. Your ki doesn’t start to regenerate until the white bar reaches the end of the red, at which point that section disappears and you start to regenerate your ki. But you can take a shortcut: if you press R1 at any time while that white bar is filling up the red, you immediately regain ki up to where the white bar is. And if you do it right when the white bar is at the end of the red, you often get a special bonus for a perfect ki pulse, like clearing out nasty yokai mist on the ground. Even better: you don’t have to watch the bar the whole time. While this is happening, little blue particles surround your character–press R1 when they’re right next to you and glowing the brightest and you’ll get a perfect ki pulse. Practice the ki pulse a lot, because it’s the difference between feeling like you’re outmatched and dancing around groups of enemies cutting them to ribbons.
- Guardian spirits! You always have an animal spirit watching over you. Animal spirits have different elements and grant you passive bonuses that you can unlock by increasing your Spirit stat. As you gain amrita, your guardian spirit’s meter fills up, and when it’s at maximum, you can press Triangle + Circle to activate the Living Weapon. When you do that, you get an elemental weapon in the same shape as whatever you were already wielding, a new set of attacks, and a special Living Weapon meter that replaces both your life and your ki. That’s right: Nioh’s got a devil trigger mode!
Is There Multiplayer?
Yes! And it’s different from Dark Souls, too. While there won’t be any direct PvP combat at launch, you can summon AI ghosts of players, called revenants, from their gravestones and fight them. If you win, you have a chance to get a piece or two of the equipment they were wearing when they died, so fighting revenants is a great way to gear up once you’re confident enough to fight them.
As for co-op, Nioh has two distinct ways to play together:
- Get summoned as a visitor. This is basically Dark Souls-style: one player uses a consumable item at a shrine to summon another player, called a visitor, into their world. The visitor can then help out for the duration of the mission. If they die, they go away; if the summoning player dies, the visitor is dismissed. Visitors can’t interact with world objects (I’m pretty sure), meaning they can’t open chests, but they do get loot from enemies. In contrast to Souls, summoners can still use shrines. If the summoner uses a shrine, the visitor is teleported to their side and then the summoner can use the shrine as normal (it respawns enemies a normal, too). Note that if you want to be a visitor, you must have completed the mission yourself first.
- Co-op with a friend. This is called “Yokai Realm with a Companion,” apparently, but what it means is you can group up with a friend before entering a mission and do it together. In a way, this is both co-op and a “challenge mode,” because you can’t refill your health or level up at shrines. Instead, you have an Assist gauge that serves as a shared “extra lives” counter for both players. If one player dies, the other can revive them at the cost of some of the Assist gauge. Touching a shrine refills the Assist gauge. In this mode, both players get full loot, including chests. The downside is that both players must have completed the mission before they can co-op with this method. The good news is that completion in the first playthrough counts for NG+, so you can do every NG+ mission with a friend if you want.
So, let’s talk about Nioh! Did you play the demos? What are you looking forward to?