Nioh Trial better than full on game releases?!

Nioh Last Chance Trial Impressions

nioh-demo

Nioh has been a game that has been at the back of my mind for some time. I had heard about it, seen a few gameplay videos and was generally intrigued by the whole thing. That said I never did much digging and as such was greatly surprised by the fact that it’s releasing on February 9th and that there is a last chance trial for everyone to play as well!

Before going in it was pretty obvious that this was a very Dark Souls inspired affair and playing the tutorial instantly confirmed this. Personally the more souls like games we get the better and Nioh does plenty to differentiate itself from the competition. Most noticeably its Japanese setting makes for some interesting weapons, armor, enemy design and so on and while gameplay feels instantly familiar to veterans of the Souls series it has a number of noticeable changes to make this a very refreshing and exciting affair. Each weapon for example can be used in 3 different forms, and stamina or Ki as its called here can be regained by well timed R1 presses rather than just letting it recharge. This game more than any other I can think of really places an emphasis on stamina, you can see the stamina of enemies and the well timed stamina recharges mentioned above can also dissipate area of effect zones (That significantly slow down stamina recovery) created by supernatural mobs. This constant focus on watching your stamina created some really engaging and exciting fight sequences particularly against the demo’s boss and larger creatures. Just like Bloodbornes health recovery system it encouraged me to stay in the action more often, as opposed to the more defensive style of Dark Souls games.

The Trial itself has a very significant amount of content, enough to keep me hooked for many hours without getting bored. An entire level is present, as well as a extremely challenging harder version of the same level and also included is a mini boss fight like side mission, which I have been unable to beat. This is perhaps my favourite thing about what I experienced was the very steep difficulty. Even the standard mission was no pushover but I never found the difficulty to be unfair or infuriating, extremely challenging yes but also incredibly fun and rewarding. Levelling up and obtaining new armor, weapons and items, exploring and fighting strange creatures, this game just felt right the entire time. The amount of content contained here and how well executed it all is bodes extremely well for the final game, the trailer certainly looks encouraging.

Perhaps my only real criticism is the graphics, the art design is great but the overall look of the game does look somewhat dated if not dam right ugly. Also even tho I found the selected level extremely fun, it really only served a gameplay purpose and didn’t feel like a lived in place so to speak, as such exploring and moving around the often quite ugly environment is perhaps the games weakest aspect. Otherwise the overall presentation and sound design of the game is pretty awesome.

In conclusion the Nioh Last Chance Trial is an absolute blast to play and if the final game delivers more of the same and then some it could just turn out to be one of the best games of 2017.