So it has finally come. Nioh, the even more Japanese version of Dark Souls, has made it to the PC in all its gory glory. Snap judgments aside (its similarity to Dark Souls may be overstated), many people have been waiting a long time for this port to come. Will those people be disappointed? Is this a terrible PC port to rival Batman: Arkham Knight? Or is this a step in a distinctly more positive direction? The first thing to mention is that the game itself is just as good as it was on the console. If you want to get a good impression of the game, you should check out our review of the original release here. With that out of the way, we can get into the meat of this port.
Firstly, the controls. Well, as you might expect, they’re fine, assuming that you’re using a gamepad. For those who don’t know, you can find my threads talking about the fact that the PC port pretty famously does not support a keyboard and mouse. While it has been made pretty clear that it’s recommended to use a gamepad, it is also technically possible to play the game with the keyboard. The reason we say ‘technically possible’ is because while you can actually access all the controls on the keyboard, it turns the game into an impossible mess. All of the controls are ‘mapped’ to the letter buttons on the keyboard, even the camera and attack controls. We say mapped with the air quotes because according to research (specifically Reddit), those porting the games didn’t even set any controls for the keyboard, so lord knows where those bindings came from. Apart from the unbound and unusable keyboard controls, you also can’t rebind the keys. If you’re super set on trying to play the game with a keyboard and mouse, you can probably do so with some third party rebinding software. Either that or wait for the possibility of keyboard support from the devs down the line.
Now that we’ve covered the controls in detail, it’s time to talk benchmarking. We were running the game on a PC that met the requirements but slightly missed the recommended specs, so it should be a good baseline for any gaming PCs that were made over the past few years. We found that the game ran at a pretty consistent 60fps on high settings as long as you have all the bells and whistles turned off: ambient occlusion, dynamic reflections, etc. Even with all these turned on, we managed to run that game at a mostly consistent 30 fps, only dropping during the huge moments and boss battles. Graphically, the game looks pretty good on the highest settings. Nioh has never been much of a graphical spectacle, especially when compared to some more stunning games. However, the PC port does manage to hold its own against the graphics of the console version, and that’s the important thing. Having said that, there have been some reports of serious frame-rate issues when running at 4K, even on high-end graphics cards. To help stem some of those issues, it probably would have been nice to have the main graphics options available during the game instead of having them relegated to the exterior launcher at start-up.
Another important factor is the modding. Well, obviously it is possible that there will be more in the way of mods in the future, right now there don’t seem to be any and no official support for them either. You can find trainers out there if you look hard enough, but that’s about it. Readers should remember to take this all with a pinch of salt. It is entirely possible (if unlikely) that over the coming weeks or months, official support will be announced and mods will flood the web. However, you should bear in mind that if you plan to play a heavily modded game, you will be very disappointed.
The final question here is: “Is the port of Nioh good?”. And the answer is basically: “Yes,” with maybe a few caveats. Firstly, while the performance is generally good, there have been some issues at the higher end. Secondly, the game has no current sign of showing a modding scene yet. Finally, there is currently no decent way to play the game with a keyboard and mouse if that is your preference.
There are overriding factors that should be noted for people who are considering getting this port, however. If you’re a PC gamer, obviously this is the only way you’re going to be able to play the game. While it may have a few issues, the port is mostly solid and has a lot more going for it than some of the worst ports out there. On top of that, while there is no real modding as of yet, there is always the option of cheat engines and trainers for those who want them on PC, as well as a myriad of other third party softwares that can potentially customize the experience.
Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Koei Tecmo
Platforms: PC, PS4
Release Date: 8th February 2017 (PS4), 7th November 2017 (PC)