Review: Nioh Remastered

Earlier last week, our review for Nioh 2 came online. This review came earlier because the multiplayer aspect with our editors was a nice experience to test. However, I have also been busy with the first part of the collection. This one is mainly intended for solo play, but is the game good? Check it out in our review!

Nioh, unlike Nioh 2, plays about a prescribed character. Where in Nioh 2 it was more about the people around the player character, here it really revolves around the protagonist. His name is William, a fellow from England who is chasing a dark magician to Feudal Japan, to get the so-called Amrita back. It is a Souls-like game that contains a lot of RPG elements. The game is therefore advertised as an action RPG. The story starts in a prison and takes you on a journey through Japan. In Japan, it's up to you to find people with the same goals in order to defeat your enemies. While doing this, you'll go through multiple areas, each with their own theming, atmosphere, and other enemies. The story is presented in a nice way and the cutscenes are, with the remaster in mind, very clean and sharply worked out.What makes Nioh so special is the style associated with it, everything has a high 'cool' factor. So the story is nothing wrong with it, sometimes a bit confusing, but otherwise very nice to walk through. How about the gameplay?

figure it out

Nioh has multiple ways to play, as there are many weapons and combinations to make. As well as your stats, which you will have to upgrade well, because otherwise some armor sets don't give the right stats bonuses. You have your health bar, KI bar and Living Weapon bar. KI is used when attacking or dodging. That bar depletes, however you can unlock a skill that allows you to get it back if you dodge at the right time or press R1. The mix between stamina management and fast-paced combat can feel hectic at times, but once you get a feel for it, you're hooked. The combat is just really rock solid.

Nioh Remastered is a game that keeps the explanation pretty basic. You get to know the controls, but you will have to figure out many systems and features yourself. Nioh has a deep progression system, as well as quite intricate combat when you look deeper. In the beginning this isn't really necessary, you can beat yourself through everything when you start to get through the enemies and when the controls fall into place. However, later in the game you end up with missions where you think: 'Am I doing something wrong or something?'

At that point, you are forced to look beyond the basic information the game provides. You find out prestige, which gives you some sort of passive bonuses, including KI regeneration and Damage Vs. Yokai. These types of bonuses are usually quite low, but the more you do this, the stronger your character will become. For example, you get your Living Weapon faster, where you end up in a state where you don't get outright damage, but you do a lot more damage. You also get special missions through the Dojo that give just a little more explanation than the average tutorial at the start of Nioh.

Every weapon combination has its advantages, I mainly use dual swords and an ax or sword. However, you can fully expand William as you envision it. I like to mix magic with my build, because it allows me to temporarily infuse my weapons with an element for more damage against the right enemies. There is more to tell about the combat, but then you are still reading. These are in any case the most important elements and also the ones that make the combat so strong.

From frustration to…

Nioh was pretty cool for me in the beginning, but eventually it became very frustrating. Yet in a Souls-like game like this this is really up to me and not so much about the game. Although, Nioh isn't perfect, but still. The first time I got really frustrated was with the third boss. This lady had so many fast attacks that I couldn't intervene under any circumstances. This resulted in shutting down the game a number of times. After a lot of perseverance I got through it. This was also the moment that the combat started clicking for me. Every boss fight after that I definitely died more often, but it was all about studying the boss, rather than understanding how my character works.

It was addictive, because despite the frustration of dying often, I still wanted to get through every boss. Here I learned, for example, that changing stances can be important, as well as being aggressive at times and then waiting and fighting tactically with another boss. The game is constantly throwing new mechanics at you. However, I do notice that the AI is a lot 'dumbler' than that of Nioh 2. In Nioh 2 it often seems as if they react directly to your actions, where in the first part this is a set of attacks.

Fortunately, Nioh throws less weapons and armor at your head than the second part does. This made it a lot easier to figure out which armor and weapons would best suit my character, or the type of enemy I have to fight. Don't be discouraged by how difficult or impossible the game may seem, reflect on your tactics and gear and try again! Is it really not working? Then you can always summon an online player via the Shrine. This shrine is your checkpoint by the way, where you can level up and switch Guardian Spirit (Living Weapon).

Tip from flip: If you don't find enough healing items, you can look for Kodama. These small green forest spirits give bonuses for finding healing items and gear, among other things. The more you find, the more healing items you can carry!

Next-gen worthy?

Nioh's remaster makes for a much sharper and more enjoyable experience. However, the controls sometimes still feel a bit clunky here and there. Anyway, in general the collection is well worth it. You get two really nice titles thrown at your head, with more content than you can handle in a few weeks. So yes, the experience is relaxed and a lot nicer. The 60fps do help in response speed! I think Nioh Remastered looks more consistently nicer than Nioh 2 Remastered at times.

Verdict

Nioh Remastered, as well as the entire collection, is completely worth it. Both games offer hundreds of hours of content, with strong combat and cool storyline. This first part still has some minor flaws that Nioh 2 no longer has, but that's why it's the predecessor! Furthermore, it is a fantastic, but very difficult experience. However, when you start to get it all, it's a super cool learning process to go through. So, build your own William and get started I would say, don't let the difficulty stop you, because in the end you decide how difficult the game is!

 

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