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Nioh dangles more DLC for playing its beta demo next week

"Mark of the Strong" awarded for completing a new stage

Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

A new stage and a chance to earn additional downloadable content are part of the Nioh beta demo coming to PlayStation 4 on Aug. 23, Koei Tecmo announced today at Gamescom 2016.

New weapons, magic, and Ninjutsu combat deepen the gameplay options, and a Training Dojo has been introduced to the beginning of the demo to help players familiarize themselves with katana swordfighting, the publisher said. Koei Tecmo says that fan feedback has been incorporated into the many gameplay changes made since an alpha demo held back in April.

The beta demo runs Aug. 23 to Sept. 4. Nioh is a PlayStation 4 exclusive.

The latest demo, announced back at E3 2016, follows an alpha demo back in April. The first stage of the demo will return players to the village of Usuki and give them another chance to fight for the Mark of the Conqueror DLC offered in April's alpha.

Those who already won it won't have to re-earn it; instead they begin the beta demo with a set of new weapons and more starting money. They also get to advance to the Nakatsu stage without having to clear Usuki again (though they may still play it).

In Nakatsu, Nioh protagonist William battles human and supernatural foes along a mountain path and inside a deep cave. Defeating the stage awards the new Mark of the Strong DLC, which unlocks when the game launches.

Then, players can return to either of the first two stages for the new Twilight mission, which replays those stages with tougher enemies and higher-value items.

Under development by Team Ninja, Nioh is expected to launch sometime later this year.