The “Last Chance Trial” was a final demo before Nioh’s full release. In case it wasn’t obvious, I played the HELL out of it and enjoyed every second and did everything you possibly could once again. After I’d done that I decided I wanted to help as many people enjoy Nioh as possible. So I jumped online to help those who desperately sought it, being summoned as a visitor to aid my invoker. I helped 15-20 players conquer the demo… I even helped one or two people who had previously died by my side succeed! Many claps, bows and whistles were had by all and I felt pretty damn good about it. I might have helped them find a game they love too.
But Last Chance got itself into hot water by giving the wrong impression to some gamers. I thought the co-op functioned as it had in the Alpha and Beta stages of the game. The prior demos rule was that the player being summoned MUST have beaten the stage solo in order to help friends or public players but for Last Chance they wanted as many people to experience Nioh as possible so this rule was lifted. I did every mission solo because I thrived on the difficulty, challenge and mastery it expected the player to overcome. So I wasn’t aware of this change until the official release when people realised it had gone.
Some people had specifically bought Nioh with co-op in mind. Planning to play the campaign with a friend, but were stopped dead in their tracks. Naturally, this got traction pretty fast and both individuals and the gaming press were asking why this was the case. The response was… Interesting. They said they intended for Nioh to be a challenging game and was designed with a single player in mind. But what ultimately rattled the cage was saying co-op made the game too easy. They were worried that co-op turned the unrelenting, brutal world of Nioh into a happy-go-lucky, hack-and-slash adventure.
I’m not gonna sit here and say they didn’t have a point. Co-op DID make the game a LOT easier. But I think the fear is unjustified. There was nothing wrong with it. This change may not affect me personally, as I planned to play it completely solo first, but I simply can’t wrap my head around this mentality. One of the finest strengths of games is that you can experience them how you want to. The same game can be an entirely different entity to different people, and that’s a good thing! If the same game can offer separate experiences to satisfy different audiences, then it’s doing great. The removal seems unnecessary, like it was just to spite certain players.
Players suggested they could make the co-op harder by having stronger enemies, or reducing player HP, or buffing enemy health or a mixture of the many ways you could change it. But it seems a blind eye was turned to the idea. It’s just baffling to hear a developer describe the scenario of two new players, who have no idea what’s coming or what to look out for, as too easy. But it’s considered fine for one experienced player to carry the new player to victory? Surely not knowing what’s coming would even out the difficulty and make the second player feel less like dead weight. There’s room for both types of co-op, surely?
Partners could play at the same time with no knowledge of the stage and work through it together, while players who’d rather play alone but occasionally need a hand could rely on the goodwill of summons. But ultimately, the choices and direction of a game comes down to the developers. They chose to stick to their guns and as confusing as I find it, I respect their choice. I just feel sorry for those who can’t get into single-player games who feel they’ve been snared by the promise of the co-op in the Last Chance Trial. Granted, the devs NEVER outright stated the co-op would be the same, people wrongly assumed. But it’s still bizarre.
Fans and devs may have clashed over this topic but the fact (Well, opinion.) remains that Nioh is still a ridiculously good game and I’d recommend it in a heartbeat. A ridiculously good game I really, desperately, want to play more of but have been struggling to find time for. I’ve resorted to putting DVDs on top of the case so it doesn’t literally begin gathering dust. Naturally, it’s when the thing you’ve been waiting months for is finally released when everything comes up at once to stop you playing. *sigh* Aw, well. Slowly but surely. Much like the co-op buddies I herded safely across the finish line like a trusty sheepdog.