Nioh (PS4) Review: The Samurai Game To Die For

Nioh (PS4) Review: The Samurai Game To Die For
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When I first entered the world of Nioh, I was feeling something familiar that I only felt in the Dark Souls series and Bloodborne. And that feeling is fear, fear of dying over and over again. Death is inevitable in this game unless you are very, very familiar with the Dark Souls style of combat. The combat system in Nioh is however much faster than that of Dark Souls, with much faster movement and attack speed depending on which stance you are using.

Managing Ki is the key to success

The combat in Nioh has three fighting stances. The first is the low stance which provides faster attacks that consume less Ki, which is your mana that is used to attack and dodge, but the attacks with low stance are not that powerful. The next stance is middle stance, which has average attack speed and moderate damage, which for me was easiest to use at times depending on the enemy. The last stance is high stance which has slow attack speed, but very powerful damage which can be used to your advantage with certain weapons such as a spear or battle axe. With the combat comes the weapons, and there are plenty to choose from with the awesome loot system in this game. The weapon choices include dual swords, a single sword, a spear, a battle axe, or the difficult Kusarigama. Each one has it’s own abilities that you can choose from as you level up in the game. Leveling William and his skills happens at shrines, which are basically save and respawn points.There you spend your Amrita earned from killing enemies to level up your skills.  Levels of your certain skills is important as armor and weapons with special abilities require you to have some skills at a certain level, so level wisely when you can.

Nioh is a beautiful, yet deadly grind fest that will take you about 40-50 hours to complete the main story depending on how familiar you are with this type of game or how quickly you adapt to the play style. But the game can take longer if you choose to do some of the many side-quests that are present in the game. These extend the length of the game by many hours. The enemies you face are all deadly no matter how weak they look.

You will die more than once. Guaranteed.

The real tip to playing and beating Nioh is don’t underestimate any enemy. You can literally die just by walking further in the water or walking into a torch on a roof, which no joke happened to me. Bosses are definitely the most challenging enemies as they have certain skills and weapons that affect their fighting style and is unique to each one. So you either learn their fighting style fast or you die and learn more to find their weakness. There are also mini-bosses that appear often that you will have to fight. There are a couple variants that each use like dual swords, a battle axe, or just a sword. They are difficult if you are not careful. My most important tip to anyone playing this game that is new to the play style: WAIT FOR YOUR ENEMY TO ATTACK FIRST. They use their Ki so they can get exhausted and that is when you make your move. When fighting you can choose to use a Guardian Spirit, which gives you and your weapon power a certain ability depending on which one you choose. One gives you attack power, one gives you defense, and another gives you evasiveness. Each one is very powerful and helpful depending on how much you level it up as it does base off your skill level for Spirit. There are more than those three that can be unlocked later on in the game, but those are the three you can choose from at the start.

What a beautiful, yet deadly world.

The world and atmosphere of Nioh is extremely detailed and brought to life with color and lighting that accurately represent a dark and dangerous environment. All of the buildings are made to detail, bringing the Japanese culture to life with dojos, trees, and more traditional Japanese structures. The character’s and bosses are all well detailed and have unique design features that make them stand out from the rest. William looks great no matter what armor set you are wearing. The armor in this game is no doubt unique and make you a true Samurai. Just the feeling of being a Samurai is so satisfying if you are just like me, who has been waiting for a good Samurai game. But be aware of the Nioh’s three game/performance modes. The first is Action mode which is lesser graphics, but 60 fps, which I highly recommend while playing this game. The other 2 modes are movie mode- which plays at 30 fps with somewhat better graphics, and the other movie mode locks your resolution with frame rates that can go above 30 fps but usually stays around 30 fps.

There is no mercy for you or your partner.

The Co-op in Nioh is fun but Team Ninja made sure that being with someone else would not make things easy. Co-op is very challenging just as if you are playing alone. Nioh does a great job of showing no mercy to the player, as nothing in the game is truly “easy”.


If you are looking for a game that challenges you, yet is both fun and rewarding, then look no further as Nioh is a perfect match. I enjoyed my first time around with Nioh and I am currently playing through a second time just to try out different skills and fighting styles that I didn’t try the first time around. Nioh proves it has gained ground in the competition for GOTY and will be a tough game to match going forward.





  • Beautiful world with diverse cast of enemies and characters.
  • Stance’s provide awesome combat system.
  • Boss fights are challenging and uniquely designed.
  • Challenging, yet rewarding experience.
  • Length of Game is well worth the price.
  • Loot system is extraordinary.
  • Customization goes beyond what the eye can see.


  • Movie mode is kind of a pointless feature.

Dale Worrell is a journalist for Mammoth Gamers. He plays across all platforms and just loves everything about the gaming industry. If he isn't playing Overwatch he is probably playing a single player game and doesn't want to be disturbed. He can be reached at dale@MammothGamers.com