Get Some Clothes
There’s just something about excessively brutal action RPGs that makes developers start players off relatively naked. William, the main protagonist of Nioh, starts off with nothing – no weapons, shoes, or even pants. The first order of business is to go find something to wear quickly and put it on before you encounter that enemy patrolling the halls.
Getting killed is embarrassing enough, but doing so when you’re just two items away from your birthday suit is not how you would want to be remembered.
Try Out Different Weapons in the Prologue and Choose the One You Like Most
The first thing you’re going to want to do is get into the action and show those enemy soldiers, spirits, and demons who’s boss. But before you can do that, you’re going to want to find a weapon you like and can use well. The opening of Nioh allows you to find and use the different weapons so you can get a feel for how they perform before getting into the meat of the game.
Afterwards, you’ll have to pick two that will determine your beginning stats as well as the weapons you’ll find when you first start out. It’s hard to choose when you don’t know how they perform, so make sure to get in plenty of practice.
PLAY THE TUTORIAL!
Yes, the opening area does teach you how to play the game, but it’s a rough crash-course that you may not pay much attention to because things are always trying to separate your body from your soul. After completing what is essentially the game’s prologue, you’ll have the opportunity to choose your starting preferences. On the final screen of this process you can either confirm or you can press Triangle and experience the tutorial.
The tutorial teaches you the different stances, how to succeed in combat, how to manage your health and Ki, and other useful tips that will keep you alive a lot longer than if you went in blind. It’s not very long, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on all the action, and it gives a good feel of the mechanics in a nice, safe environment. This should definitely be one of the first things you do.
Practice Ki Pulse
Speaking of tutorials, one thing you’ll learn in there is how to use Ki Pulse. You’re going to want to practice with this mechanic for a little while in a safe corner either in Nioh’s tutorial space, or somewhere in the actual game world. Ki Pulse allows you to instantly regain some of your used Ki, which allows you to continue fighting for longer, and hopefully will lead to you wearing your opponent out.
Just find a spot and start swinging your weapon, then wait for the glow and hit R1. After a little while, the timing will become second nature and you’ll be able to triumph over the evils ahead.
A Bit of Farming Is in Order
Once you reach Japan, Nioh starts in earnest. There’s a lot to do and you’re finally working towards the real goal. The game can be very challenging, but you can give yourself an edge if you’re willing to take the time out to better yourself. This means farming. Right where you finally reach the shore you’ll find a shrine not too far ahead. Praying here will restore your health and elixirs while also resetting the enemies in the area.
Once the area is reset, you can go and kill everything all over again and collect the resources they drop. You’ll gain Amrita as well as plenty of gear that you can give up as an offering to help you level up even more. You can do this for as long as you want, although you’ll get diminishing returns after a while. It’s a good way to give yourself an early leg up in the beginning, though. So that you can really make waves among the enemy ranks.
One thing about action-RPGs is that they tend to have beautiful worlds, and Nioh is no exception. From the Tower of London to various beautiful regions of a feudal Japan, there are plenty of sights to see as you travel and fight to survive. While you do have an important purpose for your travels, there’s no reason not to enjoy the world around you, and it even has its benefits.
Explore each area you find yourself in. You’ll see how much work went into the game as you uncover secret locations, find useful items, and even uncover bits of lore. There’s a lot going on off of the beaten path, and it can lead to an even greater enjoyment of the game as a whole.
Be Afraid of Chests, Be Very Afraid
There’s nothing like finding a chest that has the potential to provide you exactly the tool you need to overcome your nightmare, only to have it viciously murder you and stand over your body. While Nioh stands quite well on its own, it does borrow a few things from games that came before it. One of the lovely features borrowed is the mimic chest.
If you played any of the betas, you may already be prepared for this. But if you’re coming in fresh, this can be a very sad encounter. Hit chests you see before digging right in, just in case they’re hungry.
Keep Rolling, Rolling, Rolling, Rolling!
Like Dark Souls, Bloodborne, and many other action-RPGs, there are plenty of smashable objects and crates just scattered around each area. More often than not they’re completely empty and just offer a satisfying crunch, but there are times when you find a bauble or two hidden within their fragile confines. How do you get them out? Well you could just swing your sword, but that’s far from entertaining. Why not roll around like a puppy frolicking in the grass?
There’s something oddly soothing about rolling through countless boxes, statues, and barrels. It’s a good way to blow off steam after a particularly tough fight, or to just enjoy the particle effects that the developers have implemented in Nioh.
Challenge a Revenant and Laugh as You’re Eviscerated
Revenants are the souls of players who have traveled an area before you. When they perish they leave behind a shadow of themselves that are fully equipped and highly skilled (usually more skilled than the actual player). They are almost always a higher level than you, but they present the opportunity for you to earn some of their gear as well as Glory. Glory isn’t just bragging rights by the way, it’s a currency used in the Hidden Teahouse.
The fun part about this little excursion, though, is that if you haven’t gotten a hang of the game you’ll be completely dominated by your fellow man. It’s never unfair, so you can’t help but laugh as you watch yourself get impaled on a lance. After all, you did summon this upon yourself. But, if you happen to win, that’s even better.
Prepare to Die
Let’s not beat around the bush, Nioh is built to kill you. It’s never unfair, and it does give you all the necessary tools to survive each encounter. However, you will die, but that’s all part of the fun. As you start taking your first steps through the game, battling enemies and collecting gear, make sure to remind yourself that this isn’t going to be easy. You will face vicious warriors, imposing beasts, and terrifying monsters, and they will all be highly skilled.
Embrace death and you’ll be able to overcome it. That, and you’ll find yourself flinging your controller a lot less (those DualShock 4’s are expensive).