2017 is the year of Nioh. And I will now tell you why is that.
If you’re expecting “Dark Souls something, something, git gud, Dark Souls“, don’t. For one, I’ve never played Dark Souls (make of it whatever you prefer). For two, rather than fluid ninjutsu ballet, I wussed my way through Nioh (by being constantly just about 15 above the mission-recommended character level). And I loved each and every fraction of a second of it.
Nioh isn’t a particularly hard game to play. It’s just that it’s punishing. Think Group B rally car, ‘you make mistake, I kill‘. But Nioh won’t just kill you. It’ll respawn everyone and everything and make you do it all over again. It’s one proper sulphur-sniffing, ballache-gifting evil overlord. Except rather than an insufferable grind, doing it all over again is one hoot of fun.
See, although it’s punishing as all hell, it’s also unbelievably rewarding. And whilst it wildly oscillates between the two extremes, it’s the rewards that, at the end of the day, remain. Most of it can of course be accounted to the fact that if Nioh beats you, it always beats you fair and square.
I don’t think Nioh is what I imagine Dark Souls to be; a slowish, carefully composed tune founded on a minor scale. It’s more of a call-to-arms fighter built into a fantastic and deep action RPG framework. There are a few that do those things well. There are next to none that do all of those things well.