Nioh Weapon Types Guide: Choosing the Best Weapon to start with

Nioh is a game that's all about combat, and as a result it has exactly what you'd expect - a whole lot of different weapons you can use. With Nioh: Complete Edition now out on PC, a whole new group of players are discovering the interesting nuances of its detailed weapon types and weapon system. Weapons have different animations and properties, and even within the basic realm of melee some weapons will be vastly different than others. On top of all that some other weapons take on an entirely different form still, such as firearms. 

At the onset of William's adventure in Nioh, you'll be given the chance to choose your two starting weapons. You pick two because protagonist William will always have two equipped at any given time - so think of these picks as his main preferred weapons as he heads into the main story.

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Nioh Weapon Types & Stat Bonuses

These preferred weapon picks will impact your game but aren't forever; you'll find plenty of weapons out in the wild and be able to equip them as you wish, but one aspect of your pick will linger for the rest of your game: your choices will incur a stat bonus for your build of William.

The stat bonus will power William up, but also demonstrates which of the stats each weapon will scale best with when upgraded. As such it might be wise to pick carefully starting out... but we're thankfully here to assist.

Weapon Choice: Sword

Swords in Nioh are your versatile, everyman weapon. The katana is a deadly weapon that has three strong stances, and the weapon is pretty well balanced in terms of its speed range, damage and Ki (stamina) usage. Selecting the sword at the game's onset will give a +1 bonus to Heart.

Weapon Choice: Dual Swords

While less powerful than the sword, dual swords are incredibly fast moving. Their associated stat is Skill, which improves your ability with more complex weapons. You get a +1 bonus to skill for picking it. Dual Swords can lead to complex character builds in time, but are a tougher ask in the early game.

Weapon Choice: Spears

Spears are the weapons in Nioh with the best range, and as a direct result they're a pretty strong and easy to recommend early pick for keeping enemies at a safe distance to pick them off. Spears are slow, however, so you'll want to be careful how you use one - it can leave you open. You get a +1 bonus to body for picking it - that increases your health.

Weapon Choice: Axe

The axe is the strongest of Nioh's weapons, but they're also cumbersome. The fact they're slower to swing and have a shorter range make them quite difficult to use, though they are particularly useful against the first few bosses. Their associated stat is Stamina, and picking the axe increases that stat by +1. 

Weapon Choice: Kusarigama

Kusiragama are difficult to use weapons but they sure pay off - they're quick, allowing for a strong dodge-and-weave game against tougher enemies. Their associated stat is Dexterity, which gets a +1 bonus when you pick this weapon. Dex helps to increase your Ninjitsu, opening up new opportunities - but we'd only recommend picking this after some practice in the game.


Nioh Starting Weapons: Our picks for the Best Load Outs

With Nioh giving you the option to pick two weapons as the game begins, the bigger question thus becomes: What should you actually pick? Beyond our run-down above, we've also given some consideration to our top three combinations of the above for players. Pick any of these as your preferred weapon and your William will be off to a flying start in his Yokai-slaying mission.

  • Sword & Spear: Using a sword as your basic weapon will give you a balanced weapon that'll be good for almost any scenario as a basic starter. When you encounter more powerful enemies switch to the spear and focus on keeping them at bay and whittling them down slowly.
  • Spear & Axe: This is a great pairing for beginners. While you miss out on the bad-ass katana moments in combat, the stat bonuses mean that you'll have more health and be able to carry more gear. Use the spear at medium range and annihilate in close range with the axe.
  • Sword & Dual Swords: In this setup your sword should be your main go-to weapon for combat, but keep the dual swords in reserve for more difficult encounters. You should be able to block and dodge well with the sword, but if that fails switch to the dual swords and take advantage of their lower ki usage to rip into enemies at close range while dancing around their attacks.