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Ni-Oh

Koei Tecmo's 10-year old Akira Kurosawa project is resurrected.

Arriving after more than a decade in development, Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja resurrected ‘Ni-Oh’ at Tokyo Game Show 2015 as a PlayStation 4 exclusive, offering a tantalising glimpse at the 3rd-person action RPG with hard-as-nails gameplay.

Originally announced as ‘Oni’ in 2004, a companion game to an un-filmed Akira Kurosawa script, and slated as a launch title for the PlayStation 3, the game was shelved when the film was scrapped in 2005, and likely lost in the shuffle when Koei and Tecmo merged in 2009. Nothing was heard of it again until 2012, with a singular tweet saying “production is underway”, and finally it seems that production has born some fruit.

Taking cues (or rather, imitating directly, it seems) from Dark Souls and Bloodborne, with their punishing but satisfying gameplay, and harking back to Capcom’s Onimusha series in style and setting, Ni-Oh looks to be a refreshing change from the saturation of zombies and future tech dominating the market of late.

This isn’t going to be a relaxing game. Much like Bloodborne and the Souls series, it will probably split audiences; if you like a challenge and are happy to put the hours in repeating sections until perfected, Ni-Oh could earn a slot in your 2016 calendar, but if you prefer your action games more leisurely, this may not be for you.

Every now and then though, wielding a samurai sword is just what you need – given Team Ninja’s mixed output (Ninja Gaiden suffered as the series wore on), hopefully Ni-Oh will be more Samurai Jack than Franken Samurai…