Review: Nioh: Bloodshed's End


Hopefully not the end for Nioh

It's the end of the road for Nioh. Sure, the live team might come out with a new difficulty in a few months, or minor balance tweaks might come, but for now, Koei Tecmo seems to be done with major content updates.

It had a really good run, especially for an action game -- a genre mostly left untouched after any given launch. It's had a good mix of free updates and paid DLC, culminating in a near year-long run with a "Complete Edition" in a few months.

The last add-on, Bloodshed's End, is a pretty good cap on everything.

Nioh: Bloodshed's End review

Nioh: Bloodshed's End
Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment (Worldwide) / Koei Tecmo (Japan)
Released: September 26, 2017
MSRP: $9.99 (DLC), $24.99 (Season Pass)

I'm a tad disappointed that there aren't really any big cutscenes or flair involved with these three DLCs, but they really hit where it counts. Fluff exposition aside, Bloodshed's End gives us more demons to fight and a few more locales, which is basically all I ever wanted.

While some have shared the opinion that a future Nioh entry could showcase more of the western world, I honestly think that Team Ninja could pump out meaningful Japanese landscapes ad nauseum. They manage to capture a haunting beauty with each individual level, so much so that even reskins or revisits feel justified.

This is probably the best pack yet when it comes to boss fights, as a ton of them are packed-in. Most err on the humanoid side, one (the final encounter) is a hybrid, another is fanservice incarnate, and there's also a giant demon bird thing. After the curtain falls there's enough of a resolution, and an appropriate amount of buildup for the last Japanese-lore heavy encounter. I have little nitpicks here and there regarding the framing of the DLC, but it does succeed in cementing itself as a natural continuation of the campaign.

The stacked difficulty modes were enough to keep me going for years down the road with repeated playthroughs, but The Abyss (read: a Bloody Place type arena mode) merely adds another checkbox to the list. With a surprisingly deep setup, you can traverse The Abyss in an open format, choosing the zone you want to hit next while battling bosses and trumped-up enemies. If you die inside you basically lose everything you've acquired (and all your XP/Amrita), though progress is recorded if you decide to leave after a boss.

It's a good compromise, especially when you add "defiled items" into the mix. These are unusable until you down a boss, and have an inherent risk-reward factor to them, as the further you go without leaving The Abyss, the stronger they get. There were more than a few runs where I got greedy with my drops, and went back to square one as a result -- and in those cases, it didn't feel cheap. That's a good feeling to have!

Say what you will about some of these ancillary modes not being included in Nioh as a baseline, but I've gotten more out of the game than almost anything released this year. To see Team Ninja add to it, a project that was already a hardcore action game that mostly does its own thing while building on its predecessors, has restored my faith in them as a developer. I can't wait to see what they're up to next.

[This review is based on a retail build by way of the Season Pass, purchased by the reviewer. The recommended level for Bloodshed's End starts at 217.]

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Nioh: Bloodshed's End reviewed by Chris Carter



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Chris Carter
Chris CarterReviews Director, Co-EIC   gamer profile

Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff! ------------------- T... more + disclosures



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