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A Dog travelogue (Nioh)

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Hello fellow Questers! Arf!  This first post is going to practically be a novel, so bear with.


I'm going to run a regular log of my trials and troubles with the masterwork Maso-core samurai epic, Nioh!


Watch this space for my thoughts, strategies, and feelings as I claw and scramble my way through Japan AD1600, with William Adams, Great Britain's first emissary to Japan and, as the game would have us believe, expert demon-slayer.


Here I'll begin the thread with my experiences with the game over the past 3 days, totalling about 5-6 hours of play.


The game begins with the main man, William, locked in the Tower of London, for reasons as yet unexplained (or I missed the explanation).  His Celtic guardian spirit, Saoirse (that's pronounced "Seer-sha", or so I've read) points out a loose wall, and a jailbreak begins.  After punching out one guard and stealing his sword, I make a troubled and stealthy crawl through the forboding and infamous prison, eventually finding a spear and and axe along the way.  I favor the sword and the axe as castle guards become more heavily armored and skilled the more I climb through.


During my climb, I overhear sinister plotting by a Mr. Edward Kelley to perpetuate the war between Great Britain and Spain, and his plans to win the war with the eastern mystic power of Amrita.  Amrita, I've read, is the Hindu/buddhist equivalent to the Greeks Ambrosia, "food of the Gods", which keeps their divinities divine.


At the top of a dockside lookout, a huge hulking brute, Derrick the Executioner  After dancing around the bull-charging hatchetman a few times, Kelley intervenes by running a red crystal spear through Derrick, and reviving his corpse as a demon.  A more serious fight begins, and after a bouple of attempts at it, William wins, but Kelley takes Saoirse prisoner with a cage of amber and onyx (or so it looks ) and scarpers off to Japan.  William immediately signs on to a joint British / Dutch expedition to Japan, with five ships setting sail from Rotterdam.


At this point in the game, while William reads Marco Polo travelogues about the Far East, I char-gen, by picking out my William's preferred weapons and new guardian spirit.  The options are single Katana, Dual Katana, Spear, Axe, and Kusarigama (a small hand sickle with a long weighted chain on the handle).   I choose the katana and the spear as my specialties, though any player can equip any of the five weapons at any time.  Only two at a time however, and the specialty weapons get bonuses the others do not.  Here also As Williams imagines himself in a classic Japanese Dojo, I train in the basics of the rest of the game: Stance switching, Ki Pulsing, bowmanship and expelling Yokai Realm portals with Ki.


Five months and 4 wrecked ships later (this part of the story is TRUE, by the way, Adams' fleet of 5 whittled to one with half a dozen crew at Death's Door), William Adams arrives in Japan.  Here the game truly begins.  The first mission is to weave William through a burning, ransacked village at dusk   Armed bandits and suspicious town guards are all very hostile, and can kill in 3 to 4 good hits, but the good news is, they die as easily as I do.  The occasional shambling corpse demon scrambles towards me on all fours, and vomits poison into my face if they catch me.  I die a good dozen times just attempting to reach the second roadside shrine, the only safe havens in each mission area.


When I reach the burning village, I have my first encounter with an Oni.  These brutal horned red-skinned ogres can cast about Yokai Realm portals, stamina-sapping miasma that can only be dispelled over time or with a Ki Pulse. A Ki Pulse is a timed hit of the R1 button as the ki (this games stamina for attacks and dodges, etc.) swirls around you.  Hit the button at the right time, and like a Gears of War Active Reload, you get a portion of your spent ki back, and if timed perfectly (And I mean PERFECTLY), dispells Yokai portals.


When I reach the end of the village, I reach the first true boss, Onryoki.  Onryoki are giant ogres, bigger even than Oni, a gestalt of grudges and hate from several dead men.  this one in particular, carries two huge chained iron balls to toss around the hold of a ship I find him in.


He's killed me, like, 20 times over the past couple gameplay hours.  No shame admitting that.  I will however, outline what I learned in those 20-someodd deaths.


Firstly, he's got one or two attacks with little to no windup, so always keep your distance until he has attacked, or, when he's winding up for one.  I sprint to his back each time he makes a long windup, and poke him with strong attacks before sprinting away again. I find attacking during his windups gives the most time to evade his reprisal.  He whips around pretty fast sometimes, and with little to no telegraphing, so assume a counter is coming and hit-and-run.


When he loses a quarter of his health bar, his chains shatter, and the weights fly free.  Here he becomes much more dangerous.  He's faster, has a killing grab move, and a lot of splash-damage moves that wait for you to get too close.  the best way to kill him is to wait for him to grab one of the weights, and hit him on the side or back as you run past him.  He'll be attempting to throw the ball at you, but if you sprint diagonally towards him, he should miss and you can get a quick sting to his back along the way, and hope he doesn't bellyflop or sumo slap you when you get close, as he'll sometimes do. 


A word on stances:  Holding R1 and hitting a face button changes your stance.  I used high and medium stances on Onryoki when times were optimal, and switched to a low stance when his Yokai Realms were out.  Each stance lets you trade speed and ki consumption for power.  High has the least speed and thie highest damage as well as the highest ki use, and low stance has the lowest strength and wear, but the highest speed.  Certain moves are only usable in certain stances, and even your normal hits will adopt new mechanics in each stance.


After the big lummox falls, at long last, I meet the famed ninja, Hattori Hanzo (yes, THAT Hattori Hanzo, the one Kill Bill named a famous swordsmith after.  In reality, he was one of the Tokugawa family allies, and head of the famous Iga ninja clan).  With the first true boss finally felled, I'm taken to the ninja's home base, where I find a forge, a shop, and a shrine.  I level up from 6 to 13 I've accumulated so much Amrita in my tries and fails at this first mission!


Well, finally done with my story.. didn't mean for it to be this long... hope I'll get some traffic and give some assistance to fellow samurai.  I know Eal was looking to give this game a shot, too, and Yangus is a Bloodborne player, so I know two of you out there are at least somewhat interested. :D

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