March game of the month

March's game of the month is Team Ninja's samurai-slasher Nioh, which actually deserves to be compared to the Dark Souls series.

Nioh follows pirate-turned-samurai William Adams (the guy with the white hair, also known as Anjin), who is betrayed, made prisoner, and who is forced to travel to the distant land of Japan to seek revenge.  

Clearly influenced by the likes of Souls, Ninja Gaiden, and Dynasty Warriors, Nioh breaks through on its own by including many unique features and combining them with familiar gameplay mechanics. These unique features include the way in which players can engage enemies. There's Ninjutsu which includes thrown items, Onmyo magic which includes things like buffs, and different stances which change the way in which players attack. This can be combined with bows/cannon attacks and bursts of power from William's Guardian Spirit which the player can customise.

There is, however, quite a bit of content in the game that feels like it has been copied from Dark Souls. The way in which the player levels up, and even the stats are similar. Bosses, even though they fit the setting, feel familiar, and player deaths appear in other players' worlds, however, in Nioh you can challenge these fallen samurai and attempt to take their gear.

I'm sure we've met before...

Nioh brings a lot of fresh ideas to the table though for better and for worse. The combat is satisfying, the difficulty is unforgiving, and the setting and story are simply cool. However, personally I dislike the game's levelling system which requires frequent visits to the blacksmith to improve weapons that quickly become ineffective due to their separate levels. The rate at which you acquire items is also somewhat of an annoyance as most aren't of any use. I prefer Dark Souls' system of getting a weapon once and improving that single item if I choose to, instead of getting loads of the same weapon, all with slightly different stats. 

Overall Nioh is a great game which is just as unique as it is familiar to play. 

Did you enjoy playing through Nioh? Let me know!


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