A Frat House for Tiny Spirits

Monday, March 13, 2017

Nioh was a game that I picked up on whim. Once every year or so I get a compulsion to sit down and binge play the old Onimusha trilogy (because Screw Dawn of Dreams and its trying to be a more technical RPG). Looking at the screenshots and gameplay from Nioh, I thought it might fulfill that desire and add a new game to my repertoire. At least until Capcom gets its butt in gear and gives us a PS4 port of the trilogy.

I'll confess that I didn't get very far. I learned too late that Nioh is much more like Dark Souls than Onimusha. I am not very good at Dark Souls, though I don't really think many people are. The majority of Dark Souls players are just good at enduring the game. I'm not; it's hard to deal with every single fight having the same high stress boss-like atmosphere. For filthy casuals like me, it makes progress nearly impossible, and in the case of Nioh there's no difficulty setting to change and remedy the situation. 

Still, I tried to make the most of my experience and shifted my focus to looking in every corner and crevice for Kodama spirits. In Nioh, these kind little Japanese spirits resemble pea pod people with tiny hats. They make their homes in the golden Kodama shrines which you use to save your game and upgrade your stats and gear. The more Kodama you find, the more festive and noisy the shrine becomes, like a little frat party. A teensy, adorable, pea-pod baby frat party.

I wasn't able to make significant progress with the principle goals of the game and went entirely off the rails from the game's actual story, but I found a worthwhile goal in rescuing the little spirits. It's kind of like the Banjo-Kazooie missions where you look for Jinjos, or the Teensies in Rayman Legends only darker, scarier, and not a platformer. 

There was something I was supposed to do involving trying to stop a war and are assisted by other, powerful Shinto spirits and save the world or some such thing, but let's be real here for a minute: what is more important than the search for the greatest Kodama kegger? Have we learned nothing from National Lampoon? What I'm trying to say is sometimes it's worthwhile to concentrate on the little things in games. And sometimes you just need to get little green pod people together for the party of a lifetime!