Nioh

No, this is not “Neo” from the Matrix, although the title of the game might cause you to believe that!!!!!!  No, the game is about the a samurai that uses the power of guardian spirits to help battle his way across feudal Japan.

This game has been called by many “Samurai Dark Souls” and while not wholly inaccurate, the game has a fairly unique take on the Soul genre (this genre really needs a new name, because every time I type “Soul Genre” I start to picture James Brown sword and boarding his way across Drangleic, battling the forces of the undead as he tries to fend of his own hollowing).

The various set pieces of the game are divided into distinct, discrete levels.  I found this surprisingly interesting, and a nice way to take the air out of people who complain when Souls games are not unified worlds.  This game makes no illusion to this unification so can’t be criticized for failing to deliver it.   And, the reason that my interest in this format is surprising, is that the main reason I enjoy the souls games is for the fun I have exploring the hostile environments; the discreetness of the levels in no way hampered the fun I had exploring them.

The story is also presented in a forthright narration, and while there is definitely subtext left to be analyzed by gamers who are into that sort of thing, one is not going to have to pour over the layout of the vine textures to derive the distill story from the game.  I kind of like the fact that Souls games are shrouded in mystery (even if I don’t ever bother to investigate these mysteries further that deeply), but I don’t think every game in the genre needs to have its story told the same way, so I was not offended by the change.  I don’t know if I exactly loved the actual story that was being told, but I found it inoffensive enough to avoid detracting from my desire to play the game.

All in all, I found this game a lot of fun. and while it didn’t quite captivate me the way that the souls games did, I still enjoyed my time with it, and figure it’s worth a play if you like these sorts of games.

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