With this guide, learn the recommended stances and strategies to defeat the challenging Hino-enma boss in Nioh‘s second mission, ‘Deep in the Shadows.’

It’s no secret that Nioh is a challenging game, filled with deadly enemies and elaborate boss battles that allow little room for mistakes. One of the toughest boss battles in Nioh is actually early on, found in the second main mission, “Deep in the Shadows,” where William has to fight a terrifying vampire-like yokai demon called Hino-enma. In fact, some players may have already battled this beast in the game’s pre-release demo.

Unlike the boss battle with Onryoki, the fight arena with Hino-enma is made more apparent. Players won’t get trapped in a boss fight they’re not prepared for by walking too close to where the battle takes place, but rather, they have to physically drop down into a large cavern with pods hanging from the ceiling. This makes the Hino-enma boss fight feel less cheap than Onryoki, and means players shouldn’t lose any Amrita by accidentally stumbling into a fight that’s beyond their capabilities.

The fight with Hino-enma can be rather frustrating because it demands that William constantly dash out of the way of her flurry of attacks. Considering this, players will want to level William’s Ki so that he has plenty of stamina going into the fight. Another way to prepare for the fight is to grind for equipment that has anti-paralysis properties, since Hino-enma has an attack that can paralyze William and leave him defenseless to her attacks.

Of course, players should also make sure they have plenty of healing items before going into the battle as well. And depending on if Team Ninja changes how co-op play works in Nioh, they may even think about summoning another player to help them in the fight. Rifle ammunition and arrows aren’t as important in the Hino-enma boss fight as they were in the Onryoki battle, so don’t worry too much about grinding for them.

Nioh Guide: How to Beat the Third Boss - Hino-enma smile

This is true even though Hino-enma often takes to the sky during the battle. While it may be tempting to try to shoot her while she’s hovering in the air, it takes away precious time that can be used dashing away from her attacks. While in the air, Hino-enma can throw blades at William, which should be blocked. She can also shoot a blast of purple lightning gas at him, which causes paralysis and can be dodged by sprinting out of the way. Her final main attack while in the air sees her spiral at full speed at William in an attempt to knock her down. The best bet to counter this is to have a medium stance and keep one’s guard up just in case she manages to nick William when he’s trying to get out of the way.

Speaking of stances, the best stance to have during the bulk of this fight is low stance. While low stance isn’t great for dealing damage, it does allow William to attack at a faster rate. More importantly, a low stance makes William more agile, giving him the speed necessary to roll out of the way of Hino-enma’s attacks both in the air and on the ground.

On the ground, Hino-enma is easier to deal with. She still has her spiraling charge at her disposal and her poison gas that needs to be avoided, but for the most part, she sticks to melee attacks, including a few with an umbrella. Keep some distance between Hino-enma and William, so that when she’s done with her attacks, it’s easy to zip in and land a few strikes in medium stance. However, it’s important that players don’t get too greedy. Like the Dark Souls games that inspired itNioh is often about landing strikes and getting away before enemies can respond, and that’s true for this boss fight with Hino-enma as well.

Nioh Guide: How to Beat the Third Boss - Hino-enma paralysis gas

The reason why players will want to keep some distance between themselves and Hino-enma is because of her most annoying attack. Every once in awhile, she will stumble forward with her arms outstretched, and if she manages to grab William, she will sink her teeth into his neck and drain his life. Not only does this do some devastating damage to William, it also heals Hino-enma. The fight with Hino-enma is frustrating enough, so players will want to take every precaution to make sure she doesn’t heal during the encounter.

Having enough stamina to continuously dodge Hino-enma’s attacks is key to this fight, so players having trouble should spend some time level-grinding if they need to raise William’s Ki. It may also be smart to prepare for the battle by making sure William has a Living Weapon ready to go to help him get out of a tight spot and do some significant damage to Hino-enma, but just be sure to use it while she’s on the ground.

With Hino-enma defeated, William is not out of the woods just yet. In fact, there are many other difficult boss fights that lie ahead for the Western samurai during his tumultuous trip to the Land of the Rising Sun. However, Hino-enma serves as one of the toughest bosses in the game, so her defeat is a significant step forward for any Nioh player skilled enough to beat her.

Nioh Review - Nioh box art

Exciting, challenging, and well-designed boss fights like the one with Hino-enma solidifies Nioh as a true return to form for Team Ninja. Moving forward, it will be interesting to see if the company’s future games, like the probable new Ninja Gaiden game, will retain this level of difficulty and quality.

Nioh is available now, exclusively for PlayStation 4.