Nioh 2 is the prequel to one of my favourite games of 2017, Nioh. The original game provided an exhilarating experience that kept me hooked into the wee hours of the morning. So, as you may have guessed, I’ve been anxiously looking forward to getting my hands on Nioh 2.
Much like its predecessor, Nioh 2 is a game that will not only test your patience but also your skill and endurance. While Nioh 2 shares many similarities with Nioh, it also sports refined gameplay mechanics, added weapons, and new features. In short, if you loved Nioh‘s rich post-medieval Japanese world, compelling gameplay, and at times insane difficulty—you will love Nioh 2 and everything new it brings to the table.
Nioh 2 Details
Platform(s): PlayStation 4
Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher(s): Sony Interactive Entertainment
Genre: Action role-playing
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: M (Mature 17+)
A prequel unlike any other
Nioh 2 takes place in a fictional 16th century Japan from the mid to late 1500s during the Warring States period. While the majority of the game takes place before Nioh, the later parts of Nioh 2‘s story take place after the final Battle at Osaka in the first game. And, to be honest, I found myself even more intrigued with Nioh 2‘s story than I did with Nioh‘s.
In Nioh, we assumed the role and followed the story of William Adam—the first western Samurai. However, in Nioh 2, we now play as a half-human, half-supernatural yokai warrior nicknamed Hide. Originating from the Mino Province, Hide spends his time as a mercenary battling yokai.
Your journey begins after a victorious battle against a ferocious yokai that causes your yokai powers to go haywire and become uncontrollable. This doesn’t last long as you meet and befriend a wandering Spirit Stone seller. The two form an alliance and set out to explore the land and the deadly Dark Realm.
Rock solid gameplay with new additions
Nioh 2‘s gameplay is built on the solid foundations of the first game. However, Nioh 2‘s gameplay has evolved to include gameplay mechanics, systems and features. One of the first things I noticed that was new in Nioh 2 was the ability to create and customize your character. You can even share your character creation with others via character codes.
Initially, combat in Nioh 2 feels the same. The Ki gauge returns and acts like your stamina for a variety of actions including attacks, blocks,running, and evading enemies. Moreover, the game retains the focus on using High, Mid, and Low stances to control the flow of encounters with your enemies. However, now even the “weakest” of enemies have unblockable attacks. This means that you now have to master the Burst Counter move, an essential tool in Nioh 2‘s gameplay, to overcome it.
There is no shortage of weapons when it comes to fighting your enemies. Some are returning like the katana, axe and spear. And, there are new additions such as the Switchglaive. It’s a huge scythe that can be folded to deliver some pretty swift attacks. Each weapon gives you points as you use them and have their own skill tree that allows you to unlock special moves, buffs and techniques. Moreover, you can equip either two melee or ranged weapons at a time. And, you can switch at any time—even during boss battles.
Two of my favourite new additions to gameplay are the ability to transform into a demon via Yokai Shift and the ability to call in Spirit Guardians to help fight. Both are linked together in that depending on what Guardian Spirit you have equipped determines what form you can transform into. These are unlocked as you progress throughout the game and come in three different forms, Brute, Feral and Phantom. Eventually, you gain the ability to equip two Spirit Guardians and can switch between them.
A dark and fantastic world
Visually, Nioh 2 seems like it’s a step up from the previous instalment. It might not be as pretty as say Sekiro, but it does the job nonetheless. Environments are varied and range from towering fortresses to decaying villages. Boss fights are epic and Team Ninja did a fantastic job of recreating post-medieval Japan.
Graphical wise, you have two options to choose from when playing. The first is a higher resolution 30 frames-per-second mode and the second is a lower resolution 60 frames-per-second mode. Personally, I prefer a higher frame rate, I spent the majority of my time playing Nioh 2 in the Action mode with 60 frames-per-second. Animations were silky smooth and the use of lighting can at times be breathtaking.
I did encounter some issues with the game’s in-game camera system. Sometimes it would just get in the way and as a result made some battles awkward. Luckily, it’s not something that happens that often.
True multiplayer co-op
Nioh 2 takes the multiplayer system from the first game and expands on it. Previously, you could only play mission by mission with friends who had already beaten the mission. I am happy to say that now, you can play Nioh 2 from start to finish with friends.
This was one of my gripes with Nioh and I am glad Team Ninja listened to fans and gave us a truly co-operative experience. And, to be honest, this is how I prefer to play Nioh 2—with friends.
Nioh 2 is an extremely tough, yet rewarding game
It goes without saying, Nioh 2 is not a game that everyone will enjoy. The game, at times, can be extremely overwhelming and frustrating to play. Even though I played Nioh back in 2017 and Nioh 2‘s gameplay is built upon it, I still faced some challenges. It took a while to familiarize myself again with the game’s deep combat system.
As challenging as Nioh 2 is, it’s just as rewarding. There is hours upon hours of gameplay packed into this game and an amazing amount of treasures to uncover. Combat is fast-paced and will keep you always on your toes.
If you enjoy games such as Bloodborne, Dark Souls, or Sekiro—you will love Nioh 2. On the other hand, if you aren’t familiar with any of these games and do not enjoy an extreme challenge, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
+ Extensive character customization abilities
+ Fulfilled multiplayer co-op mode
+ Enchanting and mesmerizing world
+ Fast-paced combat
+ Enhanced gameplay mechanics
– Some may find the level of difficulty of this game too much
– Story is a bit slow and drags on at times
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF NIOH 2
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5
Overall Rating 4.1/5 (82%)
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