I have just finished blitzing my way through the main campaign of Nioh; a game I went in to with high expectations, needless to say I was very disappointed. So today I wish to share just why I feel Nioh just is not that good a game.
I went in with all the expectations that the game will be great; this was a feeling I had gained from the demo, which I really fell in love with. But having played the demo I came into the game ready for what was to come, and this ties in with one of Nioh’s first major problems; lack of enemy variety. I found in the actual game three enemy types that were not present in the demo. Three. That is it. Everything became rather trivial having experienced every moveset possible right from the get go. Everything became repetitive and a chore, I went from being overly careful to having the confidence to just sprint around almost all areas of the game. And if I did make a mistake it was fine because the laughable distance enemies would actually chase you made it quite easy to escape any danger. So this made areas of the game stupidly easy and I don’t know about you but I went into this game wanting things to be difficult.
Secondly bosses, we will ignore the extreme overpowered abilities like sloth for a moment and just go on about how easy the bosses are without this. I can count about 5 bosses in the entire game that I did not first try, even the infamous Hino-Enma (before sloth was even available to me). The attack patterns were very easy to read and the game was overly generous with health ups anyway. The first half of the game every boss went the exact same, brute force my way through the first half and finish off the second half with a good living weapon. The second half of the game I discovered sloth and decided to use it to cheese the rest of the game as I wasn’t enjoying it anyway, I only wanted to get to the end to say that I had and could write this in good faith. But overall sloth and living weapon just makes the game a joke, even after the nerfs to extraction there is still nothing stopping you from grinding out soulstones and popping a few in a fight to start the pain train all over again.
This leads me onto the grinding aspect of the game. Don’t get me wrong I love a good grind but I feel here it takes away from what the game is meant to be about. That is taking on and overcoming a challenge. Now let us make a little comparison to Dark Souls (though I understand fully this is a totally different game we cannot argue the inspiration). Dark Souls knows exactly what you have available to you at the point of the game you are at, it is all balanced to that and as such things stay difficult throughout. In Nioh however you can just grind yourself into the point overpowered as gear means pretty much everything here. Not that you need to though, I finished the game a good forty levels lower than it recommended. To finish off the comparison to Dark Souls, the ambushes are mostly pointless. To explain in Dark Souls that item on that ledge that is clearly gonna be swarmed by enemies or some archer is gonna fire an arrow that makes me plummet to my death, well in this instance you know it has to be worth it, the item is there on purpose. Switch to Nioh now, same set up as they do exist… well I just ignored them, the items are totally random so who cares. You can always just grind up the numbers you miss without triggering the ambush. Pointless.
Now weapons sure have a fair variety to their looks, and I was very happy with all the cool armour in the game. But five types and three style each. This makes only fifteen different ways to swing a weapon, added to the lack of enemy variety this just made combat very stale. Everything was handled in pretty much the same way all the time for me, this was usually brute force as thanks to the healer blessing I got an elixir every enemy and could afford to make dumb mistakes.
I know that there are harder Twilight Missions and sidequests but honestly if the campaign cannot give me a challenge I did not see the point in continuing on with this game. So as soon as I finished the campaign I got rid of it. This being said I loved the setting and unlike a lot of people loved the level designs. I loved every character that wasn’t Kelley and the interactions felt a breath of fresh air compared to the total loneliness of Souls titles. Also the few samurai duels that I took part in felt amazing. I just hope any sequels fix the problems and make the samurai game of my dreams.