ByKen McDonnell, writer at
Now Loading's sentimental Irishman. I can't stop playing Overwatch, please send help.
Ken McDonnell

Between the demented Japanese soldiers, the samurai, the giant bald lads with spears, the revived deceased players, the insane lead antagonists, the f**king bats and the Yokai beasties milling about the place, your work is cut out for you in . There's a lot of attacking and dodging required in this game, and you're gonna need a shed ton of Ki to do it!

'Nioh': The Way Of Ki

"Feel the mighty thrust of my KI!" [Credit: Koei Tecmo, Sony Interactive Entertainment]
"Feel the mighty thrust of my KI!" [Credit: Koei Tecmo, Sony Interactive Entertainment]

Mastering your Ki Gauge, observing the Ki Gauge of your enemies and understanding your own Ki Pulse is essential to dominating in Nioh. Without the knowledge of these systems you're sure to perish. Well... actually you'll die regardless of how well you manage your Ki, but theoretically it should happen a lot less with these tips in mind. Just remember that both your own Ki Gauge and that of your enemy are vital in this brutal game. Nioh punishes those who refuse to adapt to its systems. So, with that in mind, let's get down to it, samurai!

How To Manage Your Ki Gauge

KI-YAAAH! [Credit: Koei Tecmo, Sony Interactive Entertainment]
KI-YAAAH! [Credit: Koei Tecmo, Sony Interactive Entertainment]

Everything aside from walking depletes your Ki gauge. Running, rolling, blocking, attacking; the works. For those of you who've dabbled with the Souls series in the past, managing your Ki during battle will seem relatively familiar. You need to make sure you can land the right amount of attacks while still being able to dodge or run once your combo has been unleashed. You should be religiously observing your Ki during battle in order to understand how many attacks you can land before you've gotta retreat.

Also, don't let your Ki gauge be completely drained. If it turns red you'll be unable to attack, run or dodge. Additionally, if you're hit while the Ki gauge is red, William will be paralyzed for a second or two and you'll lose all control of him. Enemies love taking advantage of you when you're in this state (the bastards) so ensure this never happens.

You've probably also noticed that different weapons drain your Ki gauge at varying speeds. Heavy axes drain it a lot faster, while two short swords take their time. Simple. It'll be up to you to judge whether an enemy requires heavy axe wounds in the back or rapid slashes to the face. But there's another Ki gauge you need to keep an eye on.

Monitor Your Enemy's Ki

[Credit: Koei Tecmo, Sony Interactive Entertainment]
[Credit: Koei Tecmo, Sony Interactive Entertainment]

Your enemy has Ki, just like you. Also like you, they need it in order to attack and dodge. However, their's won't simply recover over time like William's (though some of the more difficult enemies can regain it). The more attacks they launch, the less Ki they'll have. Use this to your advantage. If you land an attack, their Ki gauge will drain, and if you completely drain it, enemies will either fall over or temporarily freeze. This will allow you to make certain judgment calls in battle.

For instance, you may know that an enemy is three hits away from death, but you can only get two hits in before they smack you in the gob. However, their Ki might be so low that you'll be able to land two attacks, stun them and then finish them off. Eyes on the Ki, people. Eyes on the Ki.

You Must Master The Ki Pulse

[Credit: Koei Tecmo, Sony Interactive Entertainment]
[Credit: Koei Tecmo, Sony Interactive Entertainment]

The final thing about Ki you must learn is the Ki Pulse. When William attacks in Nioh, a red bar covers the section of his Ki that the attack will drain. You have the opportunity to regain all of that Ki back in an instant.

Once you've stopped attacking, a blue bar will start progressing towards the right-hand side of the Ki gauge. If you tap R1 at any point during this progression, you'll regain all of the Ki to the left of the blue bar. However, if you wait until the blue bar completely fills the section the red bar covered, you'll regain every bit of Ki your attacks drained. A little animation will accompany this if you got it just right—it looks like a spirit form of William joins with his real body.

This is vital to dominating in Nioh. Without mastering the timing required to regain your Ki, bouts with Yokai will be a lot tougher, especially bosses. So watching your Ki bar during battle is truly essential.

So remember: Watch your Ki, monitor the Ki gauge of your enemies and recover as much of yours as possible with Ki Pulse. Make these three things a priority, and your battles in Nioh will go swimmingly. But, if you need a little more help, we have tons more guides for you to enjoy!

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