Content of the article: "Looking back at the last decade, Nioh may be my “most sought after experience” in a video game"
(This post pertains primarily to Nioh's late end-game, taking all DLCs into account)
Nioh is not the kind of game that would stand out when most people think about their favorite games; this is true for me as well. When I think of my favorite games I think of meaningful narratives, touching stories, grandiose encounters and thrilling mysteries. Looking back at games like these (Rain World, Outer Wilds, Pyre, Undertale, Pathologic 2, God of War, Celeste, Bloodborne) a key difference about Nioh comes up, the feeling of beating a game. You did it, you reached the end of the journey. You solved all the puzzles, you visited all the locations, you unraveled everyone's story. People familiar with looter games know that Nioh is not that kind of game. The ending is just the first step in a never-ending gauntlet. The same people may recognize the rush of becoming ever stronger and acquiring ever stronger loot. That progression is definitely there in the late end-game of Nioh, but that's not why I look back so fondly at this game. My strongest memories from the game come from the intensity of those end-game encounters.
Once you acquire everything in the game, you may only grow marginally stronger, but the encounters only become harder. You learn to use everything and anything you can to gain an edge. You stack every spell, every art, every buff you got, you learn to rely on glass cannon builds and to make them viable, you learn to rely less and less on crutches. The end-game comes with tons of end-game exclusive perks as well, such as projectile deflection, tonfa guns, and several weird build perks, like "Stone damage +5000%". But at this point it's not about progression anymore; the early game, the cheesy main quest, scrounging areas, finding secrets, it all becomes a blurry memory (I won't talk shit about the DLC campaign though, it's actually a great arc with great characters!). Now it's all just seeking a thrill that you can't get anywhere else.
Video game combat can be serviceable, it can have depth, it can be challenging, it can be inviting, but the best it can aspire to is to be a thrill.
I guess the main takeaway here is I'm just patiently, eagerly waiting for a content-complete Nioh 2. We all know the rules here.
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