Nioh screenshot

I have the PS4 for over two years now. I’ve played a lot of games on it from different genres, including fighting games, first-person shooters, RPGs, adventure, etc. In the past year I start to get a bit bored with the available games, playing only Overwatch and Battlefield 1. I knew I needed a different game, but I did’t know that this game will be Nioh.

To be completely transparent, I never played any of the Dark Soul games not I played Bloodborne. I wanted to buy it, but at that time I was into Destiny  and other games and I didn’t have the budget or the time to buy this game. I’ve read many reviews about the game, and all praised it. However, I’ read hundreds of comments of people being so frustrated of how hard this game was. So inside I felt not so bad, because I am used to play casual game where making a mistake isn’t that crucial an dying is not that frustrating.

Luckily for me, and for many of us, Team Ninja released an alpha and then the beta, allowing PlayStation 4 players to try the game out. First of all, this by itself show me that the developer believes in the product. Second, it allows them to polish the game and get feedback from users, which is important to make sure that the game answers the demand of those people who intend to play it. Third, it allowed people like me, with no experience whatsoever with Soul-like games, to see whether they like it or not.

I remember the first time I start playing one of the mission, can’t remember what its name was. Anyways, I was suffering so much. I died all the time, couldn’t even make a single move. I said what the hell is wrong with the game, are they kidding me. There is no way I am going through this hell, I want to enjoy a game, not suffer. OK, so I stopped playing it.

Then came the open beta. I didn’t see any great game that I want to buy in the upcoming months.  Resident Evil 7: Biohazard isn’t my cup of tea, For Honor is a nice game, but I already have a great multiplayer game that I am deep into and it’s Overwatch. Horizon Zero Dawn is yet another RPG game, which look nice, but I didn’t find anything that really differentiate this game from the other RPG. I think that Destiny gave me a big dose of enjoyment and I really wanted something else.

I was also considered buying the Nintendo Switch just to have different type of games to play. I’ve read that the beta i up and I thought to myself, why not give Nioh a second chance, it’s not that I need to pay anything, it’s free. I message my best online friend that I’m planning to play the game and ask him if he can help me understand the mechanics – he agreed. He is very good in the game and already finish the two missions, both in the default mode and in Twilight mode.

We played together, I was totally useless. He did teach me some of the basics and I finished the tutorial again just to make sure I understand the basics right. It was only when I played alone that I start progressing. I needed to die and a lot in order to learn from my mistakes.

That wasn’t all. I’ve also learned to relax, have patience, get back when needed,  and the most important thing of all, recover Ki using R1. It took my like two or three hours just to get my mind set in remembering to using the R1 in order to be able to evade or continue attacking to deal extra damage. This was the most important thing that I needed to learn.

I remember going online to see how other players are playing on YouTube and on Twitch, I was amazed how many people don’t even recover Ki. Although I had very little experience and have plenty to learn, I’ve clearly seen their mistakes. Controlling the basics is the key for being able to survive even against the weakest enemies in the game.

I went to check Reddit, and I saw all the negative opinions which I have no doubt were written due to frustration. It’s like people wanted to believe that the game is broken, not that there is something wrong with how they play. This what I also wanted to believe at first. I wanted positive reassurance from the community that the game sucks, not that I am to blame. Oh my ego, my ego, it can really twist with my mind.

After playing a few hours more, I felt the progress. There is nothing more satisfying in a game that you feel a progression like this and being able to get better and succeed in dealing with something hard. I start killing enemies and eventually got to the first boss – all by myself!

The game start growing on me and I start actually enjoying it. I enjoyed the paste of it, which suddenly became much faster. I spend time learning about some items, about the character and weapon attributes, the pros and cons of each stance, etc. I love game with a lot of in-depth RPG elements and rewarding looting system, and this game just has it all.

Because Nioh has so much depth, you forget the world around you, it’s all about the game. You feel totally consumed by it. I didn’t even think about the graphics, whether they are good or not, I didn’t pay attention to many things that I usually do when playing games, I was totally consumed by the gameplay experience, totally!

I don’t have enough experience with those type of games to criticize them. Even if I will, it will probably be because I fail to understand something. After getting into the game more, I start paying attention to the visuals, the sound effects, the animation, and I’ve learned to appreciate the great work the developer has put into developing this game.

I would have preferred that this would be an open world, but like Destiny, which I played a lot back then, I really enjoy the Raids and Strikes, those mission-based objectives, and it’s something similar and linear as well, so if I enjoyed it then, I knew this format will work well for me in Nioh as well.

Being able to play with a friend is an amazing experience. It’s not easy to just join through the PS4 party chat in the middle of the game, you need to do it through the game’s menu and you both have to start from the beginning of the missions. I didn’t like it that much, because sometimes I want to invite a friend just to help me in hard parts, and not take all of his time. That being said, I’m sure that those who play this game will enjoy helping and wouldn’t mind doing it together all the way. It was also be nice in co-op to have a checkpoint, rather than starting from the beginning if one dies and the other person didn’t revive him on time.

If you really hated the game because it was so hard, the only thing that I can tell you is that give it a few hours and take some time to lear it. Many people just quit way before they learn to play the game. I’ve read so many comments of people that start loving the game, stop hating it and saying it’s broken, and learned to love and appreciate its amazing gameplay mechanics. Remember, it just takes time.

I didn’t pre-order the game, buy I do intend to buy it when it comes out. This is a different type of game for me. Finally something different to play.  What do you think about the game? I’m interested to hear your thoughts. Cheers.

Image credit: Team Ninja