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Review: Nioh: Dragon of the North (PS4)

Action RPG
7.5

Good

Nioh took me a bit by surprise when it released earlier this year. Everything I knew about the game up to release didn’t quite prepare me for the massive game I was about to experience. It can take you close to 80 hours to clear the main campaign, and after that there is another 20 odd hours of endgame content.

So nobody would judge you if you forgot that three expansions are planned for what is already a massive game. Nioh: Dragon of the North is the first.

Heading back to Japan

The DLC sees the protagonist of the main game, William Adams, return to Japan to fight a new evil that is rising in the North of the country. The expansion takes place in a new area, the Tohoku region. It features a handful of new main missions, as well as a few new side quests. Clearing it can take you anywhere from five to ten hours, depending on how good you are, or what level your character is. A few new Yokai type enemies have been added, as well as new guardian spirits and a new weapon class called the Odachi, which is a massive sword.

I didn’t like the new weapon though, as I found it to be too slow for the new enemies, who can be blindingly fast, while still packing a serious punch. Team Ninja really upped the ante in terms of difficulty. As stated, the new enemies are quick, hit hard and are unpredictable to the point that beating them requires a bit of luck, patience, or both. The bosses are something else altogether and some of the most challenging I’ve experience in a long time. While they are fun and engaging, the health pools seemed infinite, and they can one shot kill you without you seeing it coming. I really struggled to beat these bosses, but fortunately, there’s always over powered allies who are willing to help.

While they are fun and engaging, the boss’s health pools seemed infinite, and they can one shot kill you without you seeing it coming

Hard to the core

If you are like me, a returning player to the world of Nioh, you might find the added content a bit too challenging. It felt a bit unbalanced, and sometimes overwhelming. Granted, I was a bit under leveled, but being able to clear the main game on one level, and then needing to grind in order to play the expansion is a bit tedious. The fact that the enemies are harder to beat because of their design, rather than their hitting power or health pools doesn’t help. Dragon of the North is meant for the hardcore that never stopped playing and kept leveling up in order to be as strong as possible.

It’s not really a bad thing though, as it shows some love and support for those who really like the game, but it can be a bit of a deterrent to those who might be interested in returning to the new content only to get walloped the moment you set foot in Northern Japan. Team Ninja is sitting with a bit of a tricky situation in trying to find the balance between what is accessible to returning players and what is challenging enough to the hardcore veterans.

Dragon of the North is meant for the hardcore that never stopped playing and kept leveling up in order to be as strong as possible.

Still good value

Considering the low price point of about R159 for the expansion, it is a lot of bang for your buck. The expansion also added PvP to the game, which is a free update and has been asked for by the fans. I tried it a bit, but got my ass handed to me each and every time. Nioh: Dragon of the North can be extremely frustrating if you’re not prepared for it, but if you really liked the main game, and did everything it had on offer, then this will definitely be for you.

Good

  • New story
  • New region
  • Added weapons and gear
  • Free PvP added

Bad

  • Region a bit bland
  • Game feels unbalanced
  • Can be very frustrating

Summary

Head back to Japan, Odachi in hand but be careful, these new enemies don't play fair.
7.5

Good

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