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In 2024, will Nioh devs’ Rise of the Ronin finally have what it takes to challenge the FromSoft throne?

Team Ninja has come a long way. After stumbling its way into the modern era of action RPGs following years of success with Ninja Gaiden, the Japanese studio finally struck gold with Nioh, a game very much built on the same design ethos that drives FromSoftware’s work.

It was a Souls-like in so many ways, but it entered the ring with a bundle of bold mechanics, and unique design ideas. Nioh’s identity wouldn’t be solidified until its sequel, when its makers finally felt confident enough to discard elements that didn’t make sense, and build upon what set Nioh apart from other Souls-likes.

Say what you will about the lasting power of Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty, but it was a competent follow-up to Nioh that wasn’t afraid of experimenting with new ideas – which ended up making the sub-genre more accessible. It also found new ways to create a world worth exploring, despite it not being open-world.

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