Following frustrations with Wo-Long, I decided to go back to Nioh and see if I'd been wearing rose-tinted glasses. I gotta say, Nioh holds up great, particularly in terms of level and environment design. It was never an outstanding looker, but comparing the first few levels of Nioh, with the first few levels of Wo-Long, the latter really comes out looking a whole lot worse: Nioh has the Tower of London, a fishing village, caves, and then a really cool temple in the pouring rain vs. Wo-Long's burning outpost after dark, desert outpost during the day, another outpost after dark. Plus, Nioh's performance on PS5 is flawless, despite looking just as good, if not better at times.
There's also a unique element to Nioh that seems to be missing in Wo-Long: the between-mission map screen. It really turns it into a game of two halves: one half is the action-combat meat of the game, but the map screen, feels like a separate management sim experience, where you break down, sell, or offer up all the goods you've found, reforge and refashion your best finds, sort your inventory. It's a really nice soothing contrast and it's very rewarding: if you spend time and do it right, it will make your life significantly easier when you head back into the fray.