Use this guide to learn the tips and tricks necessary to defeat the second boss in Nioh, as well as discover the best items to take into the challenging battle.

Like the Dark Souls games that inspired it, Nioh is notable for its challenging, elaborate boss battles that push players to the limit. It’s clear right from the very first fight that Nioh‘s boss battles aren’t going to be a walk in the park, but the game’s second boss, found at the end of its first proper mission, is the first encounter that will really test players’ skill. For players struggling with Nioh‘s second boss, a large demon (called “yokai” in Nioh) named Onryoki, we’ve created this guide to make things a little easier.

Onryoki, a hulking beast that wouldn’t look out of place in Capcom’s Onimusha franchise, is the final boss in the first main mission of Nioh, and its found on a boat docked near the beach. It’s important that players don’t approach the boat until they are sufficiently prepared for the battle that lies ahead. If players happen to die during this boss fight or in most other boss fights, then their grave will be trapped in the boss battle arena.

What this means is that players can’t use their special Guardian Spirit abilities or recover their Amrita (XP) without trying to fight the boss again. Most of the time players will have to sacrifice their Amrita to recall their Guardian Spirit at a shrine, which functions similarly to Dark Souls bonfires, so that they can grind a few levels, farm for some loot, and try their hand at the boss fight again.

Nioh Guide: How to Beat the First Boss - Nioh Onryoki

So, before battling the Onryoki, players will want to make sure they’re truly ready for the fight. There are a few different items that will make the fight much easier, so players should take some time exploring the surrounding village, killing enemies in typical hack-and-slash action-RPG fashion, and then repeating the cycle until they are fully decked out.

Players will want to make sure they have bombs, rifle ammunition, arrows, and plenty of elixir. Before going into the battle, assign the elixir and the bombs to one of the d-pad shortcuts for easy access, and make sure William is at full health. When leveling William, it’s best at this stage in the game to spend points on improving his health, as the battle with Onryoki is more one of endurance than it is a game of maintaining Ki (Nioh‘s version of stamina).

As far as melee weapons go, players should stick with whatever they’re most comfortable with using at this stage in the game. The spear seems to be a well-rounded weapon in that it has decent range and is not as slow as some of the heavier weapons like hammers and axes, but as long as players are adept at moving out of the way of Onryoki’s attacks, their weapon of choice shouldn’t play that big of a role in this particular boss fight.

In the fight itself, players will notice that Onryoki has some similar attacks to the larger yokai they’ve encountered so far. These attacks include one where Onryoki attempts to smash players with both of his fists, and another where he does a sort of belly-flop. Onryoki is fairly slow, so the best bet is to bait him into attacking and then dodging out of the way.

Nioh Guide: How to Beat the First Boss - Onryoki

Once Onryoki misses an attack, it leaves him vulnerable to some strikes from William. To deal the most damage, hurry behind Onryoki and switch to a high stance. William will only be able to get a couple of hits in before Onryoki will attempt a spin attack with his two chains, so be sure to sprint to safety after inflicting some damage.

While it may be tempting to keep a lot of distance between William and Onryoki for the entire fight, Onryoki can throw the two large balls he has chained to his wrists to deal significant damage to William. Since the stage for this battle is fairly small, it’s especially difficult to dodge this attack. However, when William does happen to have some distance between himself and Onryoki after fleeing from one of his attacks, use the opportunity to blast Onryoki with as many rifle and bow shots as possible.

When shooting Onryoki, aim for its head for the chance to deal the most damage. Take a couple of shots and then move in close to the beast to try to keep it from utilizing its ball-throw attack, and instead stick to its usual melee strikes and grapples, which are easier to dodge.

Near the end of the fight, Onryoki will free itself from the iron balls chained to its wrists and pursue William with more speed and aggressiveness. While players will have to be more mindful about dodging out of the way of Onryoki’s attacks, the general strategy of getting in a few shots and rolling out of the way before Onryoki can land a hit of its own stays the same.

Nioh Review - Nioh box art

With enough persistence, players will conquer Onryoki and complete Nioh‘s first main story mission as a result. Anyone that is still having trouble fighting the boss should remember that, as we pointed out in our Nioh review, the game is designed to allow players to farm for better equipment and items, so even if these tips don’t do the trick, players can spend time fighting lower-tier enemies to upgrade William and try their hand at the battle again.

Nioh is available now, exclusively for PlayStation 4.

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