Earlier this month Koei Tecmo release an alpha demo of Team Ninja's third-person combat game Nioh to much acclaim. It was downloaded by over 850k people and survey results show that most really enjoyed it. However, its punishing difficulty was criticised by players in Asia, while westerners largely found the challenge appealing.

In Europe 34 per cent of players said the difficulty and game balance were very good, with another 34 per cent claiming it was just good. 13 per cent thought it was okay (or "normal"), while only 19 per cent didn't like it.

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Players in the Americas were even more keen on its sadistic challenges. 37 per cent thought it was very good, 35 thought it was good, and 13 found it normal. Only 14 per cent weren't in favour of it.

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In Asia, however, results drastically differed. There 25 per cent found the difficulty and game balance to be very bad with another 20 thinking it was bad. 21 thought it was normal, 22 found it good, and only 11 thought it was very good.

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Overall the game was received favourably, with 91 per cent of westerners saying it was either good or very good. Players in Asia were more split with 59 per cent liking it, 17 per cent disliking it, and 24 per cent in the middle.

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When looked at globally, that boils down to 83 per cent in favour, eight opposed, and 10 on the fence.

It's worth noting that we don't know exactly how many people were polled for this survey, so take these results with a grain of salt.

Looking at the data, the developer plans to implement a host of changes. These include new tutorials, a more responsive lock-on system, revised enemy behaviour, and better balance in the opening areas.

As someone who enjoyed the Nioh demo for its unrelenting challenge, it's a little worrying to see changes like "Revise enemy pursuit of the player" or "Add hints to guide players to boss areas" pop up, as one of Nioh's most devious surprises is that enemies will chase you indefinitely and you have no idea where to go. It made the game's fairly open-ended exploration properly tense and downright scary at times.

Then again, I can't argue with more shortcuts being a good thing, and an adjusted item drop rate sounds nice. Hopefully Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja won't neuter it too much as an overwhelming majority of players prefer the balance as is.

You can read the full change log Team Ninja is looking to implement below:

Tutorials

  • Implement a training stage for tutorials on basic controls and core game actions.

Action & Controls

  • Improve player & camera behavior during lock-on.
  • Change the conditions under which the player character becomes unresponsive when the Ki Gauge is empty.
  • Expand item shortcut slots.
  • Revise the objects which require holding a button and the response to the hold input.
  • Improve detection for the half-circle analog stick input.

Enemies

  • Adjust attack and defense parameters of enemies.
  • Revise enemy pursuit of the player.
  • Revise superarmor (stagger/no stagger) for each enemy and attack.
  • Adjust Revenant AI.

Level Design/Stages

  • Improve exploration elements such as shortcuts, etc.
  • Add hints to guide players to boss areas.
  • Revise the display of objects that block the view of the player character.
  • Adjust fire area damage.

UI

  • Improve layout and displayed information.
  • Adjust text size.
  • When making an offering at a shrine, allow the player to perform all actions at once.

Online

  • Improve online synchronisation.
  • Allow the host to use the Shrine menu during co-op play with a Visitor.
  • Adjust the rate at which enemy parameters increase during co-op play.

Other

  • Remove durability stat for weapons and armor.
  • Adjust the drop rate for equipment.
  • Add a new control type.
  • Implement a flow to allow players to exit a mission.
  • Fix other bugs.

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Jeffrey Matulef

Jeffrey Matulef

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Jeffrey Matulef is the best-dressed man in 1984. Based in Portland, OR he operates as Eurogamer's US news editor.

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