This year, Koei Tecmo had two big games to announce; Attack on Titan, and Nioh. If both of these sound familiar to you, it’s because they should. Attack on Titan is a game based on an anime, based on a manga, and has been becoming pretty popular, largely due to the amount of gore in the series. Likewise, Nioh is essentially what happens when you take the Dark Souls series and soak it in Japanese culture, and I mean that in the entirely best of ways. It first became popular earlier this year when they released the Alpha demo. I’ll be going over both of these briefly below.
While Attack on Titan has lovely cell-shaded graphics and a hefty amount of features, it is most certainly not something I’d consider to be a pick-up-and-play game. Levels are long, with missions and quests appearing somewhat sporadically, having little effect on the overall level. And while basic movement controls are somewhat simple, controls switch radically when switching to combat mode, and taking on enemies requires you to change back and forth quite constantly, making it difficult to remember what you’re supposed to be pressing and when. Furthermore, successfully attacking enemies requires not only hitting them in a precise spot, but doing so while targeting that spot, and not hitting them elsewhere. In fact, not targeting a spot before hitting it will have little to no effect at all, other than damaging your weapon. Which brings me to another issue: resources for repairing your weapon or refueling your boost line are somewhat few and far between. For those of you that enjoy a challenge, this game is totally for you, but unless they do some scaling back on the precision required, casual gamers might wanna take this one on easy mode. Difficulties aside, the game has its merits. The cast from the anime is all present and accounted for, and your AI partners do a decent job at helping you out. Each character has special abilities, and the voice acting isn’t as ridiculously over the top, as other anime-based games tend to be. All in all, if you’re a fan of the series, check it out, just be warned that there’s a rather steep learning curve.
Continuing on the theme of punishing learning curves, Nioh, like the other games of it’s type, is very difficult at first. I played the demo when it first came out, and even still I spent the first 10 minutes being slaughtered by the same enemy repeatedly while I tried various strategies to get around him. Just like its peers though, there’s something incredibly satisfying about finally killing something that has a history of viciously murdering you. As to be expected, the graphics are top notch, and combat is fairly fluid. Unlike its counterparts however, Nioh has some pretty cool ways of making combat interesting that deviate away from just blocking and parrying., in the form of special attacks, ninja abilities, and sub weapons. What really takes the cake though is the guardian spirit aspect, which can power you up in a variety of ways, and come in useful against mini-bosses and full bosses. And while I’ve never been a big fan of Dark Souls or Demon Souls or Bloodborne, this game has me both intrigued and slightly hooked.
All in all, Koei Tecmo has some decent games coming out. They might not both exactly be my particular cup of tea, but they still look fun for those that are interested, and neither of them have flaws that can’t be overlooked. I look forward to seeing what else they put out this year, and playing both of these when they finally release.