As we draw towards the end of 2017 and the big new releases on the horizon for the holiday season, let us not forget that 2017 started off with a bang thanks to Nioh – one of the best examples of a Dark Souls style of game not made by FromSoftware. With the third DLC, we not only get the conclusion to William’s story in the Sengoku Jidai, but also a new mode made for those dedicated enough to get this far.
At its outset I wasn’t entirely sure how strong the narrative for Nioh’s DLC would be and while the seeds were sown for an interesting conspiracy involving the Spanish reigniting the hunt for Amrita Stones, there isn’t a great payoff on that front. That said, the Yokai that have been missing for a while now return in full force with some of the most memorable encounters in Nioh’s repertoire and even some new normal enemies that pack a serious punch.
New levels make up the bulk of the DLC, as the allied forces storm the castle in Osaka during the summertime. Initially there are regular soldiers with a variety of ways to try and kill William, but this erupts into a more supernatural war, with Yokai so fierce that they need four arms and four swords to make life a nightmare.
Three new bosses round off the DLC, two of which take on a more monstrous appearance. While the first two are somewhat similar to those found in the base game, the final boss you encounter is relentless and a true test of your skills. While I would have like a better payoff with the narrative, I was happy enough with the last fight for it not to matter a great deal.
As for the side encounters, it’s the usual fare of gauntlets and side-content found in both the main game and the other DLC, however there is a special surprise fight that is sure to thrill fans of a certain long-running, yet now sadly dormant game franchise. To say any more would spoil things, but the gameplay style of both Nioh and this series marry together very well, making for a fitting encounter.
There doesn’t seem to be a third new weapon type for William to wield – the prior DLC added the Odachi and Tonfa respectively – as the developers have opted to not add to the arsenal for Bloodshed’s End. For those looking for the Naginata to make its debut, it sadly doesn’t get to enjoy centre stage.
Instead, via the latest patch available for the base game, they’ve decided to add more Guardian Spirits and skills to existing weapons instead. With tons of new skills, this does alleviate some of the disappointment and make older weapons more useful, but it does so at the cost of introducing new ways to play.
Also included in the DLC is the Abyss Mode. The idea behind it is similar to that of Rogue-lites, in that players are tasked to beat bosses on each floor and can obtain loot in the process. That is where similarities end however, as there are four planes of existence to clear before facing the boss, with each one cleared eliminating negative status ailments. One can also summon two friends to help as well, though their usefulness does vary.
For now, we’re done when it comes to the expanded content for Nioh. While the DLC on the whole is not as good as the base game, it has heralded some interesting narrative points and, in particular with Bloodshed’s End, some of the more memorable boss battles. This DLC makes for a fitting end to one of 2017’s earliest success stories.