Nioh is an action-based RPG from Team Ninja, the developer responsible for the Dead or Alive series and the Ninja Gaiden series. Although Nioh has often been compared to Dark Souls, its unique storyline and challenging combat system set it apart from its predecessors. This Nioh review will take a detailed look at certain facets of the game, including the storyline, characters, and DLCs.
|Type of game:||RPG|
|Total Play Time:||35-90 hours|
|System Requirements:||CPU: Intel® Core™ i5 3550
GPU:NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 780 VRAM 3GB
RAM: 6 GB
OS: Windows 7/8/10
HDD Space: 100 GB
The World of Nioh
In this section, you’ll find an in-depth guide to the world of Nioh. It will take a look at the game’s atmosphere and the setting of feudal Japan. You’ll also find a summary of information about the main characters, storyline, and available downloadable add-ons. Nioh is rated M or Mature due to its violence and bloodshed.
Atmosphere & Location
Nioh is set during the Sengoku period of Japanese history, when a series of civil wars were waged across the country. The game blends together real-life events with Japanese folklore to create a dark and immersive fantasy world. As you cross through landscapes that have been devastated by war, you’ll encounter a variety of demons, monsters, and other mythical creatures. Players will be able to use weapons such as swords, spears, longbows, and rifles to engage in long-distance or hand-to-hand combat.
There are a variety of settings to enjoy, including forests, underground caves, ancient castles, mountain passes, and feudal Japanese villages. Each location is beautifully rendered in high-quality graphics. The world of Nioh is dark and has a sense of foreboding, with danger lurking around each corner. Nioh’s soundtrack was composed by Yugo Kanno, who also composed the music for the game Rain. The music is spare but manages to aid in the creation of a haunting atmosphere.
In order to progress through the different locations, you’ll need to rely on the world map, which will display different missions. Once you’ve completed a mission, you can replay it by selecting it on the map. There are also twilight missions available, which are of a much greater difficulty than normal missions. Each stage of the game contains secret doors and maze-like passages, giving you lots of options to explore as you try to complete different types of quests. Enemies can be difficult to defeat, providing players with a challenging experience. Luckily, there’s plenty of loot to pick up as you go along, which means you’ll amass a stockpile of weapons and armor you can try out in different combat situations.
Nioh’s main character is William, an Irish-born sailor who travels to Japan to track down an enemy. When he was a child, both of his parents were killed, but William himself was protected by a guardian spirit. William becomes involved in the conflict between different Japanese clans and must use his fighting skills to defeat a variety of demons and creatures. He is the only playable character in the game. This character is based on the real-life historical figure William Adams, an English navigator. After being shipwrecked in Japan, Adams became the first Westerner to train as a Samurai.
The game is populated with fictionalized versions of real-life figures from this era of Japanese history. One of these figures is Hattori Hanzo. During the early stages of the game, he meets William, recognizes his fighting skills, and asks him to help defend Japan against the Oni. Another famous figure who plays a pivotal role is Tokugawa Ieyasu, leader of the Tokugawa clan. Ieyasu eventually became ruler of a unified Japan. William meets with Ieyasu, and Ieyasu persuades him to help Hanzo in their fight.
Throughout the game, William fights a variety of enemies. Nioh’s main villain is an alchemist named Edward Kelley, who has kidnapped William’s guardian spirit. Kelley has come to Japan to find Amrita, a magical stone that England hopes to use in their war against the Spanish. There is a boss fight against Kelley near the end of the game.
William must also defeat various types of yokai. Yokai is the Japanese term for spirits or demons. These enemies can take on many different shapes, including skeletons and spiders. Enemies also include the powerful and aggressive yoki, which are humans who have been transformed into demons, and the one-eyed Oni, which are the personifications of the violent spirit of the mountain gods.
The storyline of Nioh combines real Japanese history with elements of fantasy. It mainly revolves around William’s quest to find his guardian spirit and the conflict over Amrita. Amrita is a magical stone that the English government hopes will aid them in their war against Spain. Initially, William was one of a number of sailors who were tasked with collecting Amrita. Following their mission, the sailors were all locked in the Tower of London in order to keep Amrita a secret.
William has a guardian spirit called Saoirse, who saved William from dying when he was a child in Ireland. With Saoirse’s help, William escapes from the tower, but during a confrontation with the alchemist Edward Kelley, Saoirse is kidnapped. Kelley then takes off for Japan, a country which is rich in Amrita. William follows, determined to save Saoirse.
Upon arriving in Japan, William finds the country engulfed in conflict, and Oni are ravaging the land. He meets with Hattori Hanzo, who is impressed by William’s fighting skills. After Hanzo explains what’s been happening in the country, he offers to help William in his mission to find Kelley if William helps defeat the Oni. Throughout the course of his quest, William becomes aligned with Tokugawa Ieyasu and meets Okatsu, Ieyasu’s daughter.
DLC & Expansion Packs
There are three DLCs which expand the world of Nioh and provide players with further missions.
Dragon of the North: This add-on sees William return to Japan to help Ieyasu defeat a ruler called Masamune Date, who is also known as the One-Eyed Dragon. The storyline also involves the Spanish’s attempt to gain Amrita for use in warfare. It introduces Tohoku, a new region that can be explored.
Defiant Honor: Defiant Honor continues the storyline begun in Dragon of the North. William must hunt down Maria, a Spanish spy who was introduced in the previous DLC. It introduces the setting of Osaka Castle and has a number of new enemies.
Bloodshed’s End: Bloodshed’s End acts as a conclusion to William’s adventures in Japan. William gets closer to finding Maria and plays a role in the Siege of Osaka. Players will be faced with several very difficult boss battles that will require them to use all of the combat skills they’ve learned.
Nioh is an impressive game that offers hours of enjoyment and has excellent replay value. The high level of difficulty means that players will probably die repeatedly while trying to complete certain missions. However, the combat system offers enough features and variations to keep you entertained when this happens. Nioh’s world, which combines history with fantasy, is well-rendered and highly detailed.
Although certain aspects of the gameplay may feel familiar to those who have played fantasy games before, Nioh still introduces enough new material to be a gripping experience. Have you played this game? We’d love to hear your opinions and questions about it.