Nioh is a terrific video game. It’s definitely in that weird genre of super difficult, but rewarding games that beat the crap out of you. Calling it just a samurai Souls game undersells everything it brings to the genre.
Nioh treats the Stamina bar a bit like Active Reload from the Gears of War series. Blow a bunch of stamina swinging at a dude – then wait a split second and hit
R1 to regain all of that stamina immediately. Early on, it becomes clear that you will need to be juggling this at all times – especially during intense fights.
To take it to another level, the enemies in Nioh can create temporary pools of stamina-regeneration-stopping Yokai realm. Then, if you nail a perfect Ki pulse the ground around you will clear any of those pools. The game is built around having you spinning several plates at the same time.
Bloodborne rewarded aggressive play by giving you back lost health if you kept swinging at enemies. This was a nice addition to the Souls formula, but Nioh’s stamina button feels much more active.
From Software’s Souls series has an endearing charm to them. Everything’s kinda janky, but the overall experience is top notch. The quality of Team Ninja’s Nioh is almost stunning. Moving around feels tight and deliberate. You can dodge in and out of encounters with confidence. The sort of thing that really matters in an intense action series.
One knock against Nioh is the lack of a large, interconnected world. Given the context of the story, it makes sense – but some of the isolated levels can be kinda boring.
Anyway, if you’re even remotely into the Soulslike genre, I highly recommend Nioh.