For those who prefer to play games as a feminine character with customizable wardrobe options and sleek armor, playing a game as a western samurai warrior may not initially excite your senses. When I first heard that Team Ninja would be releasing Nioh– a Dark Souls inspired Samurai game- I was vaguely intrigued. However upon further research I found that it was looking unlikely that the game would feature a playable female character, and my interest levels dropped from vague to minimal.
Then I watched 35 minutes of actual gameplay, and at about ten minutes in I had a realization: I have secretly always wanted to be a samurai. Here’s why:
While the Nioh absolutely takes its tonal queue from Dark Souls, the environment is completely its own. The game takes place in a mythological interpretation of feudal Japan, filled with arcane creatures and beasts. The world does an excellent job of combining fantasy elements with the iconic mountains and bamboo forests of Japan. As is typical of Dark Souls games, the landscape is muted yet realistic, giving the world mysteriously inviting feel.
As mentioned above, the story is set in feudal Japan; but let’s dig deeper into what that actually looks like. The game is said to take place in the early 1600’s in the Sengoku period when Japan was divided by civil war before the rise of the Tokugawa shogunate. The plot is thickened with more nods to history as the player explores the game as a sailor named William, (whose character is based on the life of historic Western samurai William Adams,) arriving in Japan after being enlisted by Hattori Hanzo. Even without any fantasy elements, there’s a lot going on in the backdrop of the story!
While Nioh has adopted the basic attack-block-retreat combat style of Dark Souls, it also makes use of a new element: stances. There are three individual stances that can be used during an attack, translating into three different characteristic moves per weapon type. This new and challenging addition to traditional push-pull combat is something the gaming world hasn’t yet experienced, and frankly just looks like a lot of fun to experiment with.
So there you have it. Are you convinced? Do you want to be a samurai? Check out Nioh’s Last Chance Trial running January 21-22, 2017! Nioh’s official release date is February 7th.