Koei Tecmo’s Nioh is back for another round of public testing with its Beta. Bringing brand new missions, additional equipment to wield or use, and more deaths at the hands of ruthless enemies, the beta demo is superb and definitively worth your time and efforts.
Nioh Beta Demo Impressions
Developed by Team Ninja / Published by Koei Tecmo
Coming to the PS4.
The new Beta continues where the first left off, and actually gives players a chance to replay the original mission “Isle of Demons” if they did not complete it, allowing them to take on a town full of Yokai and samurai in order to reach a docked boat with the boss inside. This time however, the game starts out with a tutorial, which is extremely helpful.
While the first time around players traveled to Kuroshima without a hint of what the mechanics were and were left to fend for themselves, the tutorial in the Beta does a great job at explaining the game’s mechanics, including the Ki Pulse, which is a crucial ability and one that I did not understand the first time around. With stamina (or Ki in this case) being an important element for survival, having the ability to quickly recover it is fantastic, and knowing how to use it effectively makes combat and survival a much smoother experience.
Once players complete the tutorial, it’s on to the missions, and the new demo allows players to tackle two new ones in addition to the previous demo’s content with a mission select menu. There’s a challenge mission in which William faces waves of Yokai in a field, and the new story mission which has the hero explore a mining operation inside a mountain. The new map menu sets the game apart from other similar games in the genre as players can choose what to tackle and when, rather than using a hub or interconnected world that forces them to backtrack in order to get to where they want to go.
The first new mission “Deep in the Shadows” has players fight through tight caverns and dangerous cliffsides as they travel through a mountain. In contrast to the original mission, which gave William some cover from enemies by utilizing abandoned buildings or the ability to freely dodge in wide open spaces, this new mission has players become more aware of their surroundings as they can easily fall to their deaths by stepping away recklessly, or can instantly get surrounded by vicious, attacking foes in tight, claustrophobic tunnels. It’s a more challenging experience as well, as enemies are tougher and can easily demolish you if you commit one wrong move, especially the new samurai enemy types and unique Yokai – such as one that’s actually part of the cavern wall and a new succubus-like boss.
It’s a fun and challenging mission, as players have to once again train themselves to be careful of the environment and be on the lookout for lurking dangers in a smaller, tighter battlefield. Spears excel here due to their straightforward attacks and will keep backstabbing enemies who often emerge from hidden nooks and holes in tunnels at bay. It’s good stuff and is a welcome change of pace, offering a new challenge that demonstrates the game’s ability to keep each situation tense and unpredictable.
The sub mission is also great and challenging as well, as it puts players’ defensive skills to the test. Here William must move from closed arena to closed arena, facing off against increasingly difficult foes who’ll hound you until you die or you kill them all. It’s a pretty challenging mission, and players really have to master the game’s mechanics if they want to make it through on top.
On top of that, once players complete both missions, they’ll unlock the Twilight version of each mission, offering tougher enemies but even better loot. These will really test a player’s mettle, and only the strong will make it through in one piece.
The new beta also allows players to preview some of the game’s other features, such as crafting and refining items or selling them. Since this new Beta has removed the durability meter of weapons, which had all your weapons break after a small amount of use in the Alpha, players can now strengthen their favorite weapons and give them additional properties, buy new ones, or sell the one they don’t want. I didn’t really dabble in customization that much as I played, preferring the weaponry I found or earned in missions, but it’s a cool option and allows warriors to get rid of the unwanted stuff and use it to improve existing weaponry instead of just discarding it or trading it for Amrita.
With the beta being the last playable version of Nioh before the fill experience arrives, it’s a good sign of things to come. The game is extremely entertaining and the combat is excellent, and you really have to work to come out the victor. The variety in environments and scenarios promises a variety of gameplay, and the side missions and weapon diversity prove that there will be plenty to do when the game comes out. Once again, I cannot wait for this game to come out.