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25 ways to defy death in Team Ninja’s awesome PS4 action game Nioh

Prep for tomorrow’s launch with our in-depth survival guide

Tomorrow, Team Ninja‘s glorious action epic lands on PS4. Fans of Bloodborne and Ninja Gaiden should take note: this is a demanding, tense action-RPG that pits you against hordes of samurai, assassins, and demonic Yokai. Check out the launch trailer below.

In honour of the game’s launch, the PlayStation team amassed some useful tips that should help you hit the ground running. Read on to learn more, and if you’ve picked up a copy of the game, offer your own tips in the comments below!

Combat tips

  1. Embrace death. You will die. It’s okay. It happens to everyone. If you find yourself hitting a wall, try exploring a different area. Eventually you should be able to level up, grow stronger, and push onward.
  2. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Engaging multiple enemies is possible, but risky. But if you find yourself dying in the same area to multiple opponents, try luring them apart one at a time with rocks or arrows.
  3. Stealth can pay off. You’ll encounter many enemies on patrol routes in Nioh. With caution and a little planning, you may be able to avoid unnecessary fighting.
  4. Master stance switching. All weapons have three stances: high, medium, and low. Certain stances can be more valuable at different points in battle. For example, try using a powerful high stance attack to land an opening blow, then switching to faster mid- or low-stance attacks to keep your enemy off-balance.
  5. Alter your fighting stance to suit the encounter. Wind-up times take longer and strike harder in a high stance. If you find yourself battling a quick enemy, a low or mid stance will make these encounters more favourable.
  6. Experiment with different weapons. Once you find a weapon you like, it’s logical to invest in it. But don’t neglect the vast array of weapons at your disposal, especially in your quick-swap slot. Different weapons are better suited to different situations, depending on enemy and environment.
  7. The katana is a good beginner’s choice. Team Ninja recommends starting with the katana, which offers a good balance between offence and defence. To unlock the katana’s true potential, practice smoothly changing stances while attacking.
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  9. Don’t forget to lock on. In battle, it’s usually smart to lock onto your target using R3. This has the added benefit of revealing your enemy’s health and Ki gauge, useful information that can affect your strategy.
  10. Learn to evade. Tap the X button to evade enemy attacks. This is particularly important if you see a powerful wind-up attack coming; even if you block it, your Ki gauge will be devastated.
  11. Explore the Guardian Spirits. Guardian Spirits are familiars that can unlock new benefits or assist your battles in different ways. They also enable a Living Weapon, a powerful attack that you can enable by pressing Triangle and Circle when the meter in the upper-left hand corner flashes.
  12. Block attacks! Blocking can be vital to your survival — hold L1 to defend against incoming attacks. But be warned: you’ll regenerate Ki more slowly while defending, and each blocked attack will reduce your Ki.
  13. Be fluid with your movement. Dogging in aggressively and striking, then dodging away is an excellent technique. Be aware of your surroundings and don’t be afraid to take your time in larger encounters.
  14. Master the Ki Pulse. Ki is a resource that fuels your attacks, dodges, and evasive manoeuvers, but it’s also the secret to the essential Ki Pulse technique, vital for fighting Yokai. There are two main cues to help you find your Ki Pulse timing: your Ki bar, and the blue orbs that surround William. Look for the depleted section of the Ki Bar to fill with blue, then tap R1 to trigger the Ki Pulse. Or, look for the blue Ki around you to reach its maximum point. Play around with your combos to find the timing that works best for you — you’ll thank us later.
  15. How to fight Yokai. Yokai, Nioh’s dangerous demonic foes, emit an aura called “Yokai Realm” that slows down your Ki regeneration and makes you more vulnerable to incoming attacks. Activate a Ki Pulse while inside the aura to purify yourself, then send your foe hurling back to the underworld.
  16. Grappling is good. When your enemy’s Ki is depleted, your targeting reticule will turn red. Press Triangle to initiate a powerful grapple that inflicts significant damage.
  17. In long-range combat, aim for the head. If you haven’t alerted a distant group of enemies, take your time and get that crucial opening headshot using your projectile weapon. If the blow knocks off the helmet of an enemy, try to re-acquire the shot and fire again for massive damage.
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Additional tips

  1. Secrets of the Spirit Stones. Spirit Stones do more than just provide you with more Amrita (aka currency). They also charge up your Guardian Spirit. Don’t go head to head against those bosses alone!
  2. Respect the environment. The world of Nioh is filled with death, but it is also filled with opportunity. Pay attention to the various opportunities that lie within the many paths before you. Some of them may aid your journey in ways which are not immediately revealed.
  3. Armoured soldiers are dangerous but rewarding. First-time players would do well to avoid the deadly armoured soldiers, most of which are stationed off the beaten path. Once you master Nioh’s play style, try taking them on for a chance to earn high-performance equipment and unlock shortcuts.
  4. Beware the Revenants. The spirits of those who fell before you can drop some excellent rewards: Ochoko cups for summoning in other players in online play, and in some cases high-level purple gear. But be cautious: these optional encounters tend to be extremely difficult.
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  6. Pray for Elixirs. Elixirs replenish some of your health. If you’re headed for a boss fight and completely out, run back to the nearest shrine and you’ll automatically gain a free Elixir! However, you’ll also resurrect every defeated enemy. With a little luck, you’ll make it back to the boss in one piece…
  7. Spirit is an important stat, even for strength-based characters. Spirit affects your overall magic power, but it also affects your spirit bond with your Guardian as well as extends the power of your Living Weapon. The passive stat boosts by having a greater bond with your Guardian are extremely useful — take advantage of it!
  8. Help the Kodama to gain an edge. Kodama are small, cute NPCs. If you manage to guide them back to a nearby shrine, they’ll offer you a powerful blessing that will increase the drop rates of various items for a time. These blessings can be lifesavers during some missions, so use them situationally and often.
  9. It can pay to sacrifice a good weapon to the Soul Forge. Consuming a higher attack-value weapon in the Soul Forge to upgrade a lower strength weapon with great prefixes can be extremely helpful, especially when dealing with elemental enemies.
  10. Sometimes it pays to take a break. It happens to all of us: during a tough encounter, frustration takes hold and caution gives way to reckless tactics. Trying another area or simply taking a break can help you see the encounter from another perspective.
8 Comments
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Couldn’t we have gotten a collectors edition for the physical copy? I hope if there is a 2nd game we get an option for that cause it’s very underwhelming for such a great game. I hope it sells well cause great game are rare these days.

Yeah, shame there was no CE, though hope it does sell well enough to warrant a sequel…

Yeah, too bad there was no CE, though hope it sells well enough to get a sequel…

Yes not only do we have to wait a day longer than the Americans, we also get no preorder bonuses on the physical copy like they do. I’ve had the game preordered since the 24th October, before Sony announced they were publishing it and now the goodies are locked behind the digital edition which is ridiculously priced.
What a world we live in.

Pre-order bonuses were pointless, you pick up better equipment within the first hour…

And US/EU releases are usually staggered, we actually get a good few before them now-a-days…

That’s not the point, but sure if t makes you feel better!

I played the demo. You died in 1-2 hits. No weapons available or armour. There certainly wasn’t multiple routes on that. Every route you ended up dead. Shame as I liked the look of the game. Reminded me of Genji tbh.

Which demo, there were three different ones?
The first one was hella difficult, they tweaked that down, though it is still pretty hard.
Not sure how you didn’t get weapons/armour, it gave out a ridiculous amount?!
And all the demo levels had mulitple routes, though the demo levels weren’t exactly massive, there were a good few branching paths?

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