During a PSN sale the better part of a year ago, I picked up Nioh for half price. Despite a growing feeling that these tough action RPGs weren’t for me anymore, I went for it.
Nioh is an excellent game. I spent my first ten or so hours with the game getting into the atmosphere, messing with different weapon types and stances, dying, learning to ki pulse. I was reading about the game and even just about William Adams himself (the real guy, not the hanging out with spectral pink dogs one). In other words: I was really enjoying my time with Nioh. It was the rare game where I was stoked to hear that I had dozens and dozens of hours ahead of me from where I was.
Then I got to the story mission “The Ocean Roars Again.”
For the most part I was having a lot of fun, just like usual. Nioh is generally tough but fair. It’s fast and brutal, but it has patterns that -- in that Team Ninja and Dark Souls-y way -- are rewarding to figure out and super satisfying to play off of. This level takes place in a flooded village, filled with precarious walkways and lots of yokai. It was a satisfying lesson in fighting what first feel like unwieldy enemies in very tight quarters. I was dying and learning and coming back stronger than ever. It was great.
Then I got to Umi-bozu. Despite the fact that he has a name that is very fun to say and spell, I fucking hate Umi-bozu.
For starters he has a bad, dumb body:
It’s just a jelly blob with some glowing orifices. Stupid! It’s not fun to lose to something like that; it’s like losing to a baby character in Mario Kart.
I also hate how my weapon does jack shit damage against Umi-bozu, the worst blob ever. I was holding my own just fine for the rest of the game until now, including the level leading up to this jerk, but against The Man Himself? I’m doing a fraction of a pittance per hit over here. I generally use axes and spears. I tried a couple kinds of each weapon type, and I tried fire paper for my weapon (helped, but didn’t get me there). Meanwhile he’s got a dumb mouth laser attack that isn’t the worst to dodge but takes about 90% of my health if it gets me, and all sorts of crazy twists when he jumps onto the dock later in the fight.
Where you fight Umi-bozo might be the worst part, actually: a dark, wet dock with some holes in it. It’s really tough for me to remember where these wet, soggy holes are, if you know what I mean. Sometimes I’m doing really well against Umi-bozo and then my camera jerks around because it’s trying to follow William into a watery pit, because he’s dead. These are, by a wide margin, the worst Umi deaths.
Eventually I started running out my Ochoko Cups and hoping for a strong visitor to just whup Umi’s ass for me. I probably popped ten cups, and results were unanimous: none of the people I summoned were hitting Umi-bozu very hard either! Solo I could usually run Umi down to 30% or so. A couple of my co-op attempts were tantalizingly close, probably less than 5%. But no dice.
After dozens upon dozens of attempts, I’m deflated. So: are there any Nioh fans out there that can tell me what I’m doing wrong? I would love to get past Umi-bozu and get on with what I’ve otherwise found to be an outstanding game! Is there something I’m missing? Even though the level itself I found fine, do I need to quit out and level more elsewhere? Have any game-stopping boss stories of your own to share?