Nioh: Complete Edition

Posted:  Sep 18, 2022
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Disclaimer: This is an initial impression of the game. Our review and recommended settings will be updated when we've completed a full and thorough analysis of how it performs on Steam Deck. Check back soon for our full analysis!


Nioh: Complete Edition is a souls-like game set in Japan where a lone traveler must fight his way through vicious and supernatural warriors to find what he seeks. Though, unlike other souls games, this one has a much heavier emphasis on randomized gear and grinding. Think Diablo meets Dark Souls and slap in a Japanese setting. And with 3 full expansions piled into this edition, Nioh is a difficult and grindy game that, in the end, feels like a massive accomplishment once beaten.

Nioh's performance on Steam Deck, however, is a bit of a mixed bag. I have read and seen many horror stories of how this game runs on Deck and, for the most part, I was able to figure it all out. Once figured out though, and the game is working, it runs incredibly well. The game sticks around a pretty stable 40 FPS, looks great, and while there are some random framerate spikes, they are largely not noticeable. But there are 2 main issues plaguing the game.

Let's start with the smaller one. When playing around with the settings, I realized that, for whatever reason, having shadow quality at low actually makes the game perform significantly worse in shadow heavy areas as opposed to the high setting. The game actually runs quite well with shadows at high, but I found more stability having them off and, on a portable screen, I personally liked it a bit lighter. As long as shadows aren't on low!

The biggest issue was the controls. All the controls worked fine for me except the quick attack button...which is a big one. After initial testing, I elected to make my own entire controller layout, but about 4 hours into on and off working on it, I realized I only needed to change 1 input and that fixed it. I have uploaded the layout with the name "SDHQ Steam Deck Nioh Layout", though there is literally only 1 button change (the X input is now emulating the letter J). Switching to the keyboard input for the button did fix it, though when I had restarted the game, the button deactivated again. I fixed this by changing the keyboard+mouse input to keyboard only and the quick attack button was still working even after I relaunched the game multiple times.

It is also worth noting Nioh uses a 3rd party launcher. This is ridiculously annoying, but thankfully, Nioh provides an option away from it. Just launch "Without Settings" and it will boot right into the game without going through the launcher (you can change settings in-game). There are also reports of video playback being broken, but with proton GE 7-33, I was able to watch the videos that didn't work with Proton 7.0-4. I did also notice some slowdown when coming out of sleep mode, but this recovers quick without worry. Overall, once you get it working, it runs like a charm and feels fantastic to play.



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As you can see, low shadows really hits the system hard while high shadows are significantly less taxing...for whatever reason. They are still slightly less table, but way more playable.


Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

While there was some changes under the hood, Nioh does have the ability to run and when it does, it runs like a damn charm!

Build Score

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Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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