General Advice

  • Make sure to go through the in-game options, there is a great deal of handy features and fine-tuning available. Keep an eye on the shortcut reminders at the bottom of the screen as well, so you don't miss things like mass-selling items.
  • Your starting weapon choices don't matter at all in the long run, you can use anything you find just as effectively. Later you can reset all your skills and levels by using Books of Reincarnation.
  • There are two types of Familiarity. One is for individual weapons and armor which increases their effectiveness as you have them equipped, the other is permanently accumulated from using a certain weapon type enough. The latter rewards you with Samurai skill points at certain intervals and unlocks some sub-missions relating to that weapon type, so trying out different weapon types can be a handy way to earn some extra skill points early on.
  • Some hidden Kodamas are a pain to spot and are far easier to find with the dedicated Kodama Sense ability from the Divination Talisman spell or from certain accessories/Guardian Spirits. You can check the number of them in a mission from the map or at a shrine from the Kodama Blessing menu. Remember that Kodama blessings don't carry over between regions.
  • Don't worry about Soul Matching and Reforging too much, it's more expensive than it's worth and only really starts becoming relevant once you reach Divine-level items in the DLC and higher difficulties.
  • Mission difficulty is best gauged from the number of red grave icons rather than the mission's level.
  • Gestures aren't just for co-op. Some enemies can be interacted with using gestures.


  • Blocking protects you 360 degrees around you and is overall very strong in Nioh. Just watch out for elemental damage.
  • Experiment with all three stances of your weapon(s) of choice, they all have their uses and unique abilities. They also affect your defenses, mid stance generally being the best for blocking and low stance for dodging.
  • The skill Flux which gives you bonus Ki if you switch stances during Ki Pulse can be hard to get used to, but is incredibly useful if you get the hang of it. Press the Ki Pulse button very slightly before the appropriate stance switch to have it work reliably.
  • Hitting weak spots such as humans' heads with a ranged weapon (indicated by the cursor center turning red) deals huge damage and instantly stuns yokai, making it a great way to start fights. A rifle or cannon is required to pierce helmets, though. You can zoom in by pressing the right stick (or whichever keyboard equivalent).
  • Don't neglect your consumables. Whetstones for example are plentiful and permanently increase your Familiarity with all your equipped melee and ranged weapons right away. Amrita-giving items can also be used mid-mission to instantly charge up your Living Weapon gauge.
  • Managing to stack two different elemental debuffs on an enemy afflicts them with Discord which ruins their speed and defenses, allowing you to wail on even bosses with impunity. This is most easily accomplished with using spells or items to inflict one, then activating Living Weapon for the other.

Skills & Attributes

  • Some skills such as Flux, Grapple and Sneak Attack are universal regardless of weapon type and a high unlock priority.
  • Buying multiple ranks of the same Ninjutsu or Onmyo spell allows you to equip multiple copies of it for extra charges, and later ranks of the same skill also require less capacity which opens up more space for other abilities.
  • Bonuses from attributes are front-loaded, so spreading things out initially before focusing on what your weapon or build wants can give you the most bang for your buck. Guardian Spirits have additional bonuses that unlock as you level up your Spirit, so a steady increase of the stat can be useful regardless of your build.
  • Some translations can be pretty vague or even misleading. For example the Living Water skills which "enable using Ki Pulses even when dodging" in fact automatically turns all your dodges into Ki Pulses with no separate input required which is extremely useful. Also the in-game term "Final Blow" refers to hitting a downed enemy that's run out of Ki, "Grapple" is the equivalent for a standing foe.
  • Even if you don't specialize in Onmyo magic or Ninjutsu, there are some powerful options there if you need help. For example Sloth Talismans will make most non-DLC boss fight much easier, and Quick-change scrolls let you survive lethal damage once. There are a number of useful passives and weapon buffs like poison and elemental damage there as well.