Review: Nioh: Defiant Honor (PS4)

Action RPG


Nioh: Defiant Honor is the latest piece of DLC which sees us going to Osaka to lay siege on its castle and picks up right where we left off with the Dragon of the North DLC.

A brutal and epic battle

The DLC is essentially two main story missions and a couple of sub missions. The first mission sees us fighting our way through the battlefield in front of Osaka Castle, and boy can it be overwhelming. There are volleys of arrows to dodge, massive British cannons to fire and seriously tough enemies to face in the trenches. The level is very well designed, and brings a serious element of danger with it.

The second mission sees you battling it out in the castle itself against a relentless horde of enemies, ranging from Yokai, soldiers and tough as nails generals of some sorts that serve as mini bosses for the mission. It might not seem like much, but both levels are long, varied and full of nooks and crannies to explore. You also get a couple of sub-missions that serve to flesh out the story and experience.

You also get a new weapon to help you along, which is called Tonfas, and unlike the Odachi from the Dragon of the North, I actually really like using these. Tonfas are essentially two wooden batons that are blindingly fast, and can easily put smaller enemies into a stagger, which is very handy. I found them responsive and fun to use, and it quickly became my weapon of choice in what became my grueling journey to the end of the short story that took me way longer than it should have.

A word of warning

As is the case with the Dragon of the North DLC, Defiant Honor is not for the faint-hearted. In fact, it’s becoming more and more apparent that the is purely intended for the hardcore fans of the game, and there’s nothing wrong about that. But for someone like me, who comes in and plays it because of the new release, this is going to be painful.

No game before it has made me swear at it so much, yet, because it plays so damn well, I just keep coming back for more.

Nioh expects you to grind in order to proceed. I’m so severely under powered playing this game that it borders on insanity. The recommended mission level for the first mission is 175, and I was 145 when I started, and was only level 151 when I finished the second mission with the help of stronger and far more dedicated players than me. It took me close to 20 hours to clear the two missions, that should not have taken me more than five hours, which is respectable for DLC.

But it’s not that it took me 20 hours on the two levels, it was because I had to leave a few times to go and grind some more, since I was running out of Elixir or ammunition. Which means I had to start both the main missions at least twice from scratch. This game will break you if you’re not careful, yet there is something oddly satisfying about struggling and swearing my way through this game.

It’s an abusive relationship

It’s really hard to describe how I feel about Nioh and it’s DLC. I really love playing this game. There’s something visceral about the experience that I don’t know how to explain. No game before it has made me swear at it so much, yet, because it plays so damn well, I just keep coming back for more. I’ve invested close to 150 hours, if not more into this game, yet, it’s clearly not enough, since I really struggle to keep up with the level progression. It feels a bit broken for me, but it works if you look at what the developers are trying to achieve.

There’s one more DLC that forms part of the Season Pass for Nioh, and I’m not sure when that releases, but I’m going to try and be a bit better prepared for it. Because Nioh damn well deserves it.


  • Great new setting
  • Fleshes out the story pretty well
  • Tonfas are a lot of fun


  • Only two new main missions
  • Brutally hard for the non hardcore fans


Defiant Honor adds more to the lore of Nioh, but it becomes more and more inaccessible to those who are not wholly invested in the game.


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