Nioh: Pulsing Ki Like It's 1600


#1

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?


#2

All of it. I am looking forward to all of it. I actually liked all three demos, but I think the third one really added a lot. Kusarigama definitely takes it from “Dark Souls-like” to “stands on its own feet” (or at least moreso)


#3

Yeah, I loved the hell out of kusarigama. I was surprised at how versatile they were, too, and just how long a reach the high stance heavy attack has. I’m trying to figure out a good stat build that’ll let me use katanas and kusarigama well while also being best friends with all my guardian spirit buddies.


#4

I was thinking of putting together a thead for this game, but I’m glad to see somebody else did! I am extremely excited for this game, the last demo sold me entirely.

I’m really curious what extra / side content they’ll have, as the game is broken up into separate levels rather than one flowing interconnected enviroment. Could also open the way for extra hard post-game DLC content, too.


#5

I missed the third demo unfortunately but the first two had me hooked. You were a bit of a glass cannon but man, when the game ‘clicked’ with you it made the flow of combat in that game feel so satisfying


#6

Another key difference from Dark Souls: when you’re summoned as a visitor to co-op with a friend, you still get loot drops. Loot is instanced like in Diablo 3, so you don’t have to fight over it, either.

Also, a tip from the demos: once you start feeling confident, fight as many revenants as you can. You’ll see gravestones where other players died (like Dark Souls bloodstains), but instead of showing you a little ghostly reenactment of their death when you activate them, it lets you summon an AI version of that character to fight. And if you win, you get a piece or two of their equipment! Fighting revenants is a great way to gear up and also a lot of fun.


#7

I believe it’s been announced that if you missed getting any of the bonus stuff from the three trials / demos, then you can get them by beating a Revenant who has it.


#8

I am interested in it. I’m waiting to see what it’s like after launch. I’ve heard it is really hard and I love things like Dark Souls but I hope it isn’t too tough for me to get enjoyment out of it. But it sounds very neat and I hope it turns out to be something I’ll like. I unfortunately missed all the demos.


#9

I only played the very first demo and then just the opening of the second demo to try the changes. The moment I stopped thinking like a Souls game and started thinking like a Ninja Gaiden game, Nioh clicked. Can’t wait for the release next week.


#10

It’s definitely hard, and it’s hard in a similar way to Dark Souls, but I wouldn’t say it’s any harder. The combat is very different, more Ninja Gaiden than Souls, so that takes some adjustment. One thing that helps with the difficulty is that ranged weapons are really strong–many humanoid enemies go down in a single headshot from a bow or matchlock rifle, or you can shoot them with a huge goddamn cannon. No matter what stat build you go with, you’ll have a good ranged option available to thin a crowd or pull individual enemies, which helps before you’re comfortable enough to fight groups.

It’s also more gear-dependent–you’ll find stronger weapons and armor as you go with different special stats and abilities, and getting better loot can make things a lot easier.


#11

Now if bows work like they do in Souls games then I’m in luck because I’ve done Bows Only runs of all of them and love ranged weapons. So maybe I’ll really get into Nioh. I haven’t really played any Ninja Gaidens to get a reference for the feel but from the sounds of the weapon selection it’ll be pretty neat. I’ll also likely enjoy the historical flavor I’m a history buff and while it won’t be accurate it’ll still be nice to see all the little references and cultural aspects.


#12

Bows are better than in Souls games, really. For one thing, you have separate ranged weapon slots and you aim by holding down L2, so you don’t have to manually switch to your ranged weapon. And they do a ton of headshot damage. The number of arrows you can hold is limited, so you can’t really do a bow-only run, but they’re super useful.


#13

Aw no bow only run is a bit of a downer, though is it possible to at least do some bosses bow only? But that does sound pretty neat how they work, and the matchlock rifles also might be a nice thing to switch between. Is there an advantage to one over another? Like more/less ammo better/worse range higher/lower damage, etc?


#14

I’d guess that the amount of arrows you can hold is too limited to kill any bosses bow-only. Maybe one of the humanoid bosses if you use multiple kinds of ranged weapons.

The balance between the ranged weapon types is like:

  • Bows have the lowest damage, but the most common ammo and they’re silent.
  • Rifles are loud but have higher damage than bows.
  • Cannons are really slow, you can’t move while aiming them, and you can hold the least ammo, but do a stupid amount of damage and have special AoE ammo you can use.

#15

I missed out on the third demo, as I was travelling, but I really liked the second demo. I was very impressed by how much they were willing to change from the first one, too.


#16

Coming from someone who isn’t super into Souls games (I was into Dark Souls 3 up till I got to the fucking frost knight before the undead settlement), I wasn’t sold on Nioh from the first demo because holy shit dying in one hit to regular goons was a pain in the ass, but the second demo sold me, and the third demo was like seeing an old friend again. I’m excited to see reviews because I’m hoping the whole game is as good as those demos.

I also really need to try out some more of the weapons when the full game comes out because I was full on sword mode until I found a hammer at the end of the third demo and watching combo videos has made me go “YOU CAN DO THAT???” multiple times.


#17

Rifles can also pierce helmets, while the bow can’t - an arrow will just knock the helmet off. Ranged weapons seem more useful for pulling / deleting a problematic enemy than anything else, but my experience with them was limited to the final demo. I loved the big cannon rifle though, that thing was hilarious. I wonder if the Rifle has longer range than the Bow, too?

I hope there might be other variants of these and if the Diablo-esque loot will result in some wacky stuff? Maybe a Bow that fires multiple arrows at once or a cannon with spread shot?


#18

I also liked that you could start off the Tachibana Muneshige fight with a cannon shot to the head if you really wanted to. At least after the first time you fight him, he’s just standing there waiting for you, just inside the optimal range of the cannon, so if you want to start off with a free 1000+ damage, go right ahead.

Doesn’t really seem sporting, it is rad as hell.


#19

Ranged weapons feel great in this game for me, they don’t feel as weak as the Souls games ranged weapons and they limit ammo so you can’t just plow through everything by firing at their toes from a safe spot.

The stance system is great too, finally I can use heavy weapons properly by using the low stance until I get used to a pattern then switching as I get more confident against foe openings.


#20

Another neat thing about Nioh is that it has real co-op (kinda)! Nioh has two ways of doing co-op:

  • Get summoned as a visitor. This is basically Dark Souls-style: one player uses a consumable item at a shrine to summon 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).
  • 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, and progress counts for both players. That’s right: you can play through Nioh from start to finish with a friend if you want!

(Just added this to the OP, too.)