In development for more than a decade, Team Ninja and Koei Tecmo’s Nioh can be described as the best possible mix of the Souls series, Bloodborne, Onimusha, Ninja Gaiden and Dynasty Warriors. We recently played through the alpha version and we are pleasantly surprised at how good and intriguing the gameplay is. It’s easy to claim that Nioh is merely a clone and we can see why many players would see it that way. But there is no doubt that Nioh has a bright future ahead of it given its fast action gameplay and the lack of any Souls like game in the future.
So the big question is how well does the alpha version perform? Before we go ahead, we must remind you that this an alpha build so we must keep our expectations low. Furthermore, this alpha build is in no way a representation of the final build but we are quite impressed with what we have here. To begin with, Team Ninja have added two graphical options. One is the Action mode which promises better frame rate over resolution and the other is the Movie mode which prioritizes better resolution over frame rate. This is a rather unique approach for a console game and we are pleasantly surprised by this. Furthermore, we weren’t really expecting such a option in an alpha build which in turn makes this title intriguing to analyze.
During both modes, the game utilizes a dynamic resolution buffer. In Movie mode, a full 1920 X 1080p native resolution is achieved but it also drops down to approximately 1600 X 900p. In the cinematic mode, we are mostly looking for a 28 to 45 fps experience. In the action mode, resolution seems to vary from 1280 X 720p resolution to approximately 1600 X 900p. However, as expected the frame rate is a bit higher in this mode. The game’s frame rate varies between 35 to 60 in this mode.
Overall, for an alpha we are quite pleased where Nioh is heading. The difference between action and movie mode lies in volumetric and alpha effects. In many ways, Nioh could be setting a precedent of future games on consoles. This is a most wanted feature for many console gamers over the years and it’s great to see it in action. There is also a possibility that Nioh will be one of the games that will also launch on the rumored PlayStation 4 Neo given the scaleable options the game’s engine provides. Nioh running at a locked 1080p and 60fps on Neo certainly does not seem out of the ordinary however this is conjecture at this point.
The game does not have a release date yet so there is a ton of time for the developers to sharpen up things such as a better AA solution and texture quality. The experience will be much better if the Movie mode is able to render the game at a locked 1920 X 1080p with a 30 fps cap and the Action Mode locked at 1600 X 900p with 60fps in the final build. This certainly seems to be the target for the developers given the parameters we were able to record.
It will be interesting to see whether the game will get another test build, preferably in the form of a Beta in the future. For now we are just stoked to get more hands on the game in the future.