Dragon of the North is the first story DLC for the critically-acclaimed Nioh. Although Dragon of the North is a good addition to the overall experience package, it’s not a great one. For those who thought Nioh was a tad too easy will definitely love the difficulty spike in Dragon of the North. This DLC is hard, and it features one of the hardest final boss fights I have ever experienced.
Dragon of the North takes place after the events of the main story, as the title suggests William heads to the north of Japan, more precisely the Oshu region. When William receives word his friend Hanzo has gone missing, while investigating rumors that Masamune Date is collecting spirit stones to wage war on Japan, he hurries to save his friend and stop Date from repeating the same mistakes as his predecessors. The story doesn’t add much to the overall mythos of Nioh, but any new content is always worth it. The problem with the story in Dragon of the North is it’s almost a carbon copy of the main story just told in less time.
Dragon of the North doesn’t change the formula of Nioh, and that’s not a bad thing. Nioh is one of the best crafted titles on the PS4, so changing something that works so well would be a mistake. What Dragon of the North does do is expand on what’s already there. The first big addition is a new weapon. The Odachi is a giant Japanese samurai sword best compared to a scottish Claymore. The Odachi is a great new weapon that has a wide radius of attach. It’s great when facing multiple enemies, but its weakness lies in its slow attack, leaving the player open to enemy attacks.
Other additions come in the form of new Guardian Spirits, one of which is extremely over-powered, new character skins for William, and some cool new locations. There are three new locations to visit in Dragon of the North. Two story missions took me to an awesome new castle ground to explore and a snowy village located in a mountain pass. The other is a side mission that also features a snowy village where new challenges and traps awaited.
The locations themselves are nice, but I wish there were more than just the three. In hindsight, Dragon of the North is actually a short DLC, but due to its high difficulty it feels much longer. So let’s talk about the difficulty of Dragon of the North. Compared to the core game, Dragon of the North takes the difficulty to a whole new level. It’s not simply because of the bosses but the new enemies. It wouldn’t be DLC without any new enemies, though there are realistically only two new enemies I did face off against new variations of older enemies.
The two new enemies are just the worst. They’re hard to kill and boast crazy strength and speed. The first of these looks like a simple soldier, but then a long tentacle with a human face will spring out of the soldier’s head. It’s a difficult enemy to kill and easily killed me in two or three hits. The other is a giant skeletal warrior with rags over its body. This enemy is incredibly fast and will combo five to six attacks together. It will also run and leap great distances to gain ground on William. Both of these enemies are just terrifying to fight.
Let’s talk about the bosses. The bosses in Dragon of the North are insanely hard. It’s as if Team Ninja decided that the core titles bosses were too easy and decided to up the difficulty from ten to twenty. I had a really rough time with the Dragon of the North’s bosses, but I was able to exploit the one weakness that each boss has, much like I did with every boss in Nioh, that is until I reached the final boss. The final boss in Dragon of the North is, in my opinion, the hardest boss I have ever fought in a video game.
The final boss quite simply just doesn’t have a weakness. It felt like I was facing Ruby weapon with only Cait Sith, or Yamcha facing off against a full-power Beerus. Its insane how hard this fight is. After spending over 250 health elixirs, I turned to the internet for help only to find out that others were feeling and experiencing the exact same thing I was, and some people were winning by sheer luck or using an overpowered magic build. I know I may sound like a noob, but this boss is simply designed for the most hardcore of hardcore players and, in my opinion, needs to be weakened with a patch.
Dragon of the North is a good addition for fans looking for more content in Nioh, but it could have been great. The sheer difficulty of Dragon of the North will turn off a lot of players and some may simply quite Nioh all together if they even manage to reach the final boss. The inclusion of new locations and a cool new weapon just aren’t enough to make this Dragon of the North DLC stand out.