Nioh - extremely rewarding once you figure it out
Touted as the hellish lovechild of the Ninja Gaiden and Dark Souls series, Team Ninja's latest action RPG unashamedly borrows from two of the most famously difficult games ever made.
Nioh (PS4) 9/10
Nioh tells a highly embellished tale of western samurai William Adams, a real-life historical figure who arrived on Japanese shores sometime in the 17th century. The folklore-heavy plot is not particularly well told, although it does provide some memorable moments. Nioh's bread and butter is its incredibly deep and outrageously complex combat system.
The move list in Nioh is far more complicated than anything Dark Souls has to offer. Nioh offers a complex skill tree offering many unlockable manoeuvres that give each weapon a huge depth and great flexibility.
Prepare to be mashing the R1 button to oblivion throughout the course of Nioh, as it serves two extremely important purposes. One, it serves as a way to trigger a very unique mechanic called 'Ki Pulse'. Ki is your stamina and unlike other action RPG games, your stamina expends at a rather alarming rate. To recharge your meter faster, you need to press the R1 button following an attack to trigger a Ki Pulse.
It takes some getting used to but it is a critical feature, especially if you wish to have any hope of beating this maddeningly difficult game. R1 also doubles as a way to change your stance. There's high, medium, low, and sheathed stances, all of which modify the amount of Ki you spend and the direction or strength of your attacks. If the actual gameplay itself wasn't difficult enough, you also have to deal with the convoluted item management system, which is the only real major gripe I have with Nioh.
Although Team Ninja toned the equipment system down a little bit after the first beta, items still drop like hotcakes, and while selling them for Amrita currency to level-up is nice, you're going to sift through a lot of junk too.
Nioh would greatly benefit from a western style RPG 'trash" system, where you can easily mark items as junk and sell in bulk upon reaching a vendor. Nioh is an absolutely fabulous Action RPG, but not one for the faint of heart. It is possibly even more difficult than From's legendary Dark Souls games and that should be an indicator of just how frustrating this game can be.
Saying that, once you have it 'figured out', it is one of the most rewarding games I have played in recent memory.