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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Strategic thinking and perseverance are encouraged, rewarded. Vaguely historical nature of the games could foster interest in old Japanese culture. But these games are designed to entertain primarily via depiction of spectacular and gruesome violence.
Positive Role Models
Protagonists of both games -- one based on an actual historical figure -- are meant to be seen as warrior heroes fighting for the greater good. But while they clearly possess honor and courage, they solve pretty much every problem by dealing out bloody death.
Ease of Play
Both are extremely challenging games with potential to frustrate even veteran players. Controls are intuitive and responsive, and ample tutorials lead players through the basics of various strategies and fighting styles. But enemies are relentless, unforgiving, likely to cause plenty of deaths and checkpoint restarts.
Violence & Scariness
Players use a variety of melee weapons -- swords, hammers, axes, etc. -- along with bows and arrows and ancient guns and cannons to slice, bludgeon, eviscerate, blow up, decapitate human and fantasy creatures in grisly third-person combat. Blood, gore, moans/screams accompany virtually every attack. Bodies, body parts, blood stains are found in most environments.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some female characters are depicted nearly nude from the waist up.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Nioh Collection is an action role-playing game for the PlayStation 5. The title anthologizes and remasters two PlayStation 4 games: Nioh and Nioh 2, including the downloadable content (DLC) previously released for both games. Both are action role-playing games set in ancient Japan with nearly constant third-person combat. Players wield period-appropriate melee and projectile weapons, fighting humans and monsters in blood-soaked battles filled with decapitations, eviscerations, and other types of gore. The protagonists are honorable and courageous characters fighting for the greater good, but their sole means of solving problems is by killing their enemies, and typically in wildly spectacular fashion. That said, the setting could encourage players to learn more about Japanese culture and history, and the games' relentless and extreme difficulty encourages players to be patient, practice, strategize, and persevere (assuming it doesn't turn them off from the experience).
Is It Any Good?
Getting the most out of these two games requires a willingness to weather a good deal of battering punishment along the way. The Nioh Collection doesn't alter the design or difficulty of either of its games, so if you tried and were turned off by the originals you'll likely feel the same about these two remasters. Button mashing is simply not effective. Not only must you master a variety of armaments and techniques, you must also know your enemies, their strengths and weaknesses, and how to anticipate their attacks and movements. Those who invest the required time and energy are likely to experience a growing sense of deep satisfaction as they defeat tougher enemies and bosses, while opening up new areas to explore. Then again, just as many players are, understandably, likely to give up out of aggravation before reaching this Zen gaming state.
What may help new players along, if only slightly, are some of the technical improvements (assuming you have a display that can take advantage of them). The quicker refresh rate means players have a slightly better real-time understanding of what's going on, so you can react a bit more quickly -- and these are games where every millisecond counts. Plus, the marginally lower latency of the PlayStation 5 wireless controller could occasionally mean the difference between life and death when it comes to reaction times. And when your hero eventually does die -- and this is unavoidable -- the PlayStation 5's speedier loading times mean you'll be back in the action quicker than ever before, giving you less time to dwell and fret about your previous deaths. The truth is, though, that these games are designed for a specific audience: players who relish a deep and hardy challenge. Getting both games -- plus all of their terrific world- and character-building DLC -- for the price of a single game is a great deal, providing well over 100 hours of entertainment for dedicated fans. If you haven't played them before and you're up for a serious test of your action gaming skills, The Nioh Collection is well worth a look.
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