Combat in Nioh is agile and brutal. Similarly to the Dark Souls series, there is an HP bar for your health or hitpoints and Ki bar that acts as stamina and governs your actions. You can increase your Stats by acquiring Amrita, which is earned by defeating enemies, by finding treasure, and by praying at newly discovered Shrines.
Dying causes uninvested Amrita to be left behind, and will cause William to lose his Guardian Spirit (which otherwise provides passives, magic and damage reduction).
Dying before recovering your Amrita means losing that Amrita for good, but restores your Guardian Spirit. Lost Amrita can also be reclaimed with a Summoner's Candle.
The radial icon on the bottom right of the screen are your Combat Stance options. Selecting a stance will change the orientation of your equipped weapon and change the attacks you can make. There are 3 different stances:
High Stance: attacks from this stance feature increased damage at the cost of heavy Ki consumption. High Stance emphasizes attack power and aggression. You're provided with heavy Attack and Break power, but you may be left wide open.
Mid Stance: attacks from this stance are balanced between defensive and offensive properties and may feature support skills like parries. By default it strengthens your guard. Mid Stance favors a defensive approach, and often involves wide, horizontal attacks which are good for crowd control.
- Every stance of every weapon comes with fast attack sequence and a slow attack sequence. These attacks are unique for every stance and weapon.
- Attacks cost Ki. When Ki is depleted, you can no longer attack or evade.
- Taking damage costs Ki. Enemies who take damage also lose Ki.
- Damage over time, like Poison and Burning does not deplete Ki.
- When Ki is depleted, players will pause to catch their breath (stunned), leaving them vulnerable to devastating attacks. Managing Ki and using Ki Pulse after comboing is crucial to surviving difficult encounters.
- Depleting an enemy's Ki will bring that enemy into a stunned state.
- After learning Grapple, you can perform Grapples on stunned enemies.
- Hitting an enemy that's stunned will cause that enemy to be knocked down.
- Players can perform a killing strike on knocked down enemies.
- Guardian Spirits provide boons and a minimum 20% reduction in damage.
- Ki is depleted via sprinting, blocking, dodging and attacking
- You can summon a Living Weapon when the Amrita Gauge is full.
- After attacking, you may perform a Ki Pulse to manage your Ki.
Ranged Weapons and Jutsus
- There are three types of Ranged Weapons: Bows, Rifles and Hand Cannons
- Each Ranged Weapon has standard ammunition and rare ammunition.
- Ammunition is limited and doesn't replenish until the mission is completed.
- In order to maximize their efficiency you need to hit enemy weak points.
- Weak points are identified by aiming and seeing the inner reticle turn red.
- Ranged Weapons are best used from stealth and can obliterate enemies.
- You can hotlink up to 16 items, spells and ninja skills for use in combat.
- Learn Onmyo Spells and Ninja Skills by investing in Magic and Dexterity.
- Unlocked Onmyo Spells and Ninja Skills replenish by praying at Shrines.
- Usable spells, ninja tools and items can be found throughout the game.
- Such items are limited and cannot be replenished until a mission is over.
Blocking and Dodging Tips
- Ki spent while blocking doesn't depend on the stance.
- Only mid stance regenerates Ki while blocking + moving.
- All stances recover the same amount of Ki while blocking + standing still.
- Dodging in High Stance cost 21 Ki.
- Dodging in Mid Stance costs 14 Ki.
- Dodging in Low Stance cost 7 Ki.
- You can't chain dodge in High Stance, and your singular dodge will be a slow roll.
- Mid stance allow you to dodge twice in a row, from a fast standing dodge, to a slower roll.
- In Low stance you can perform unlimited standing dodges, and side dodges make you spin.
- Sheathed stance works the same as Mid Stance (??).
When a warrior falls in battle, his Guardian Spirit disperses and their Amrita coalesces into a sword-mound. Should you touch it, the Guardian Spirit and Amrita will be restored to you. If you die before making it back to your mound, the Amrita in the mound is lost, but your Guardian Spirit will return to you.