“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.” – Frank Herbert, Dune
Nope. In sword-slinging action RPG Nioh, there are times where you will fear. And you will die. Many times. Probably in some horrible fashion involving fire, ice and/or sharpened metal. But that’s all part and parcel of a game where death is not the end, but merely the beginning of overcoming a variety of terrible foes. It’s a thrilling combat driven experience set in 16th century Japan that has you clammily clutching your Dualshock 4 wireless controller for dear life in desperate battles against vicious fiends and brutal monstrosities. It will not be easy, but developer Team Ninja is making sure every sweaty step is one you’re going to enjoy.
“We created Nioh to be a very challenging game, so we put a lot of thought into the design of its difficulty,” says Game Director Yosuke Hayashi.
“For example, we had an enemy that throws a quick jab at you and causes immense damage, and it was difficult to avoid and defend against. So now these enemies may still attack you with the same level of damage, but we redesigned the movement of the jab itself so that it gives players a split second to dodge or block.”
The rigorous alpha and beta testing that Nioh has undergone has only helped shape the PS4 game for the better. It’s been your all-important feedback which has – rather ironically – removed Team Ninja’s fear that many years of hard work were going to potentially miss the mark.
“Nioh is a new IP, so in a lot of ways we wanted to get users’ feedback and understand whether we were going in the right direction,” explains Hayashi-san.
“For example, some of the feedback we got from our users was that they didn’t want the battles to involve too many enemies, because it would be too challenging. So we looked at more one-on-one encounters where greater skill was required.
“That we were able to get people to like the game during the alpha and beta testing is something I’m really happy about. So as we get closer to launch, we’re putting a lot of pressure on ourselves to meet those high expectations.”
That sense of anticipation has only grown with Nioh’s recently announced PS4 Pro compatibility, something Hayashi-san is delighted to take advantage of.
“I’ve always felt that games on PlayStation were very visually compelling, but now seeing these games on PS4 Pro, my perception has exceeded that.
“Gamers don’t compromise on things like frame rate, so we really focused on maximising the power of those particular aspects and introduced lots of visual options. For example, one is to play the game at 60FPS and 1080p – it was great that I was able to realise this through PS4 Pro. But you can also enjoy the game in ‘standard’ high resolution as well.”
Of course, when you’re facing a giant, acid spitting, spider-bodied seductress, you may regret the visual fidelity on your screen. And given that you may need over 70 hours to complete Nioh, there’ll be no shortage of gritty, challenging encounters.
“We wanted to create impressionable bosses,” laughs Hayashi-san. “So you’ll discover a few when you play!”
That said, as you’re assuming the role of the skilful Western samurai William Adams (based on a real life historical figure, no less), you have more than your fair share of ways to dispatch the horde of enemies which await. That includes a three-stance combat system, magic and the ability to wield a myriad of weapons, such as dual katanas.
And if that’s not enough, the smiling Game Director has a few pointers to potentially help reduce the ol’ mind-killer.
“Don’t fear death,” Hayashi-san says. “While Nioh is a challenging game, if you carefully pay attention to the movements of your enemies, you’ll be able to find chances for an opening.
“And don’t be afraid to seek help from other players online from our great community, as there’s always someone out there who can offer guidance. Nioh is really about self-improvement. And in an era of games where there’s less lasting ‘death’ in action titles, I want you to feel like you’ve genuinely accomplished something once you’ve completed it.”
On PlayStation Store, we’re offering two editions of the game:
- The full game
- The full game
- Weapon pack with five new weapons
- PS4 Avatar
- Season Pass
Pre-order either edition to receive:
- The Nioh armour to equip in-game, inspired by the ancient statues that stand guard at temples across Japan
- A Nioh Dynamic Theme for PS4
In addition, if you pre-order on PlayStation Store or purchase in the first two weeks after launch, you’ll also receive the Crimson Master Armour, another in-game armour, this time based on legendary samurai Yukimura Sanada.
So, is your steely soul ready to handle the nightmarish creatures that await you in Nioh?