It is 1598. Spain and England are at war. England was on the losing side and began resorting to alchemy. For this, they needed Amrita: a mysterious substance with special powers. You’re William Adams helmsmen of a ship. William is known as the first Englishman to get to Japan. He became a confidant of Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa, and became the first non-Japanese samurai. I really love games that are based on real history. A nice touch is that the names of the vessels also are spoken in Dutch during the first cutscenes.

 

At the beginning of Nioh, you wake up in the Tower of London. I cannot suppress the feeling of Dark Souls. And hope Nioh is not an exact clone of this. Fortunately, this feeling is gone really fast. I escape from my cell, take down a jailer and walk up the stairs. I catch a conversation between two people. One person doesn’t says his name, the other person is Edward Kelly, an alchemist who claims he can turn metal into gold and even knows the secrets of the Philosopher’s Stone. Edward Kelly is also a person known from history books. I already feel that this is going to be a very special adventure.

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You fight against men and demons called Yo-Kai which are known from Japanese mythology. Nioh, of course, goes a step further, The Yo-Kai are demons who take possession of people and causing them to mutate into horrible creatures. This is most shown during the fight against the final boss of the prologue.
Dark Souls players will recognize many aspects of Nioh. You get points for every enemy you defeat that you can spend to reach a higher level.
But Nioh is more. The long and very beautiful, cutscenes are great for a game that can occasionally be extremely difficult.The battles are really fast and challenging. Unlike the Souls games, you choose missions from a world map. Once you have completed a mission you can do side missions in the same area for better loot and XP. You can also replay the same mission in Twilight mode, which is even more challenging.

 

It is really fun to play through the levels together with other players. By setting up a secret password you can play with friends. Calling random people that come to your help is another option. After you have defeated the first boss there is also a whole new option, called Tori Gate. Here you can start a mission with a friend or random players. The new aspect is that the selected mission must be completed from start to finish, without being allowed to use of checkpoints. In exchange, you can die more often. In this game mode there is an additional bar on the screen, which begins to run empty at the time you or your buddy die. This can be stopped by reviving the other player. Is the bar empty? Then that’s the end of the mission and both of you have to start over. This is also something new which nioh is trying and should be commemorated. It works well and it creates a different dynamic to the gameplay.

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Nioh is clearly inspired by the Soul Games. Where other games in the genre failed at creating their own identity, Nioh succeeds. The Japanese setting is like a fresh breeze through the genre and adding Spirit Guardians also helps. The lack of a PVP experience is a small minus, but the innovative Tori Gate game mode is compensation enough. Nioh is no Dark Souls clone. Nioh is Nioh. And Nioh is a potential GOTY 2017.

My pure rating:

9 out of 10

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