That’s the most fascinating thing about that game. It’s like it’s from an alternate reality where the Sega CD was a huge, influential, hit and games with shit-tons of FMV weren’t a '90s fad, but actually developed into a fully-formed and on-going approach to making games.
I’ve started playing Nioh. It’s like a counterpoint to Shadow of War. Both have their charm, but despite being third-person action games about a grizzled 30/40-something man who can’t die because of the spirit he’s partially possessed by, who is going around killing people with a sword and a bow, with heavy RPG elements, they are incredibly distinct, on both the macroscopic and microscopic gameplay levels.
Shadow of War is rip-roaring chaos, where even good plans tend to last double-digit seconds at most*, where you’re constantly experiencing (often horrible) surprises, and mostly it’s about second-to-second improvisation and adaptation, and the thrill of slapping stuff together to make something work. The combat is mostly about loosely controlling this utter maniac as he zips from orc to troll to orc decapitating, mind-controlling, freezing, burning, shooting and you’re responding to big flashy prompts. It’s frantic but the way the animations and auto-guidance works mean that there’s a bit of delay, a bit of breathing room, time to think. Especially as a lot of stuff slows time or the like.
Nioh is not like that. It is a game of precision and frustration. It is basically Demon’s Souls (not Dark Souls) reborn, except a little more cruel. Button-mashing is death (well, to a large extent). Every movement matters. Every button press could get your ass kicked. There is no slowing time, even when it really feels like there should be! You proceed carefully, oh so carefully, through the levels (well, most of the time). Surprises are generally your own fault. But the precision combat does feel very rewarding - albeit less so with the bosses - as most of them can one-shot you, and then you have to run back, past other monsters, it’s hard to really learn their patterns, so far at least.
- = Interestingly this is different to Shadow of Mordor. SoW has so much more foot-traffic, so many more orcs around generally, that a lot of plans which involved “clearing out” places or separating bosses from their allies just can’t work the same way, or rather, they can, but only for very short windows and only with extreme measures (not solid, careful, stealth-killing). I do miss that - but to be fair it’s more than made up for by the vastly better design of the vulnerabilities and strengths of said orcs/trolls - in SoM they were often tooth-grindingly frustrating, but here that’s very very rare, and usually you can see at least one reasonable approach to taking down an orc.