Title: Nioh 2
Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Koei Tecmo, Sony
Genre: Action RPG
Available On: PlayStation
Official Site: Team Ninja
Release Date: March 12, 2020
Where to Buy: PlayStation
There have been many games that take inspiration from, or just seem like, Dark Souls in the current generation of Gaming. Some, in the case of Lords of the Fallen, turned out mediocre and forcing you to think of Dark Souls when playing only hindered that experience. Some, Like The Surge, managed to give a unique souls-like experience that just hits shy of the mark of greatness. Nioh managed to be so fantastic it took any preconceived ideas about the game and threw it out the window. Nioh is Nioh. To call it just a souls-like would be misleading. You could throw in Onimusha(our review of warlords), Muramasa, Ninja Gaiden, and plenty of other games I can’t pronounce but love. Whilst the demo made big impressions, they needed to do more than just look pretty for half an hour at a time. Needless to say, Nioh 2 had a lot to live up to.
Who are you in Nioh 2?
The most immediate change that you experience in Nioh 2 is that of your main character. Unlike Nioh, where you play as William Bonney, In Nioh 2 you play as your own created character nicknamed Hide. It has a fairly in-depth character creator with a ton of different styles and you can even customize your yokai form. I, on the other hand, decided to add three frog tattoos to my chest and call it a day. On to the game itself.
The game itself functions as a prequel. It opens in the Mino province, where Hide is hired as a mercenary to hunt down Yokai, a spirit from Japanese folklore. In a tough battle against a powerful Yokai, Hide loses control of himself, unleashing a yokai power. Luckily Tokichiro, a wandering merchant helps Hide regain control. Tokichiro hires you as protection and seeks their next buyer. There is a lot more to this narrative like what is Hide’s real name, how does this tie in and what do Dosan’s words mean but this is the base premise. This moves us onto the most important part of Nioh 2, its gameplay.
How does it play?
The similarities to Dark Souls are undeniable but it is, ultimately, its own beast(yokai?). It is far more complex than Dark Souls‘ combat. You have your traditional heavy attack, light attack, and block but it has so much more. Its parry system is dependant on skills unlocked and can differ from weapon and stance. Speaking of stances, this is possibly my favorite mechanic Nioh has. There is a heavy, medium and light stance for each weapon, each with their own pros and cons. This adds a fascinating level of strategy to each encounter. You must watch your opponent’s stance and change yours accordingly. If you really want to succeed in Nioh, this is necessary.
Make no mistake going in, Nioh 2 is a challenging experience. It doesn’t just do this to emulate Dark Souls or artificially inflate playtime. Nioh 2 has its difficulty at its core. It is a grueling, yet incredibly rewarding experience. Its gameplay is tough and often overwhelming but learning what makes it tick is incredibly satisfying. This is pushed even further with its combo system
Nioh 2‘s combo system feels like a relic of an older from an older time but it is better for it. Part of its leveling system is in the skills category. Each weapon and skill type has its own unique skill tree and you earn points based on their use. If you use the odachi more, it will afford you more points to learn combos for it. You can learn incredible jumps, parries, and combos. This can then be assigned to your Hotbar or to a combo type to use in the future. Sometimes, when you feel stuck, it is best to customize combos, ninja skills and Onmyo magic for a better result.
There is a huge amount of customization to be had in both the equipment and the level system. As well as its skill trees, it has a more straight forward Level system. In this, you may spend Amrita earned form kills and items to upgrade one of 8 skills. This defines your main build. Strength for Odachi, Courage for Tonfa, Magic for uhh Magic? etc. You should build your character based on your preferred weapon but you will likely get the chance to experience every weapon fully by the end of the game.
How long is it?
Speaking of the end of the game, Nioh 2 will keep you entertained for a long time. If you want to make your way through Nioh 2, it should take you about 50 hours but there is much more to be had for completionists or those new to the genre. What is more important is Nioh 2 will stay with you far longer than the length of the game. The feeling of fist-pumping glory from beating that one boss or the way the story unfolds should stay in your head until the next Nioh.
Nioh 2 is everything that made the first Nioh title work so well. It’s wonderfully sharp (in multiple ways) and offers one of the most rewarding experiences so far this year.
What are you playing? Have you played the original? Are you interested in Nioh 2?
- Exhilarating gameplay
- Fitting Music
- Great Visuals
- Interesting Narrative
- Great Polish