- Total Score - 9.6/109.6/10
Team Ninja opts for the bigger is better approach. More mechanics, weapons,story and a bunch of insane bosses make Nioh 2 an action delight.
Developer –Team Ninja
Publisher – Koei Tecmo
Platforms – PS4, PS5, PC
Nioh was a great game when it was released in 2017. It’s blend of type character action and punishing difficulty created a unique action experience.
Team Ninja took elements inspired by Dark Souls, and it’s own legendary series Ninja Gaiden. It had a robust loot system, a superb blend of fantasy an history.
Nioh 2 opts for a style of sequel you’d expect from classic action games of the PS2 era.
It was a time of many classic action games had sequels that took the existing formula, and made sure to not ruin a good thing.
Nioh takes place several decades prior to the previous title. Instead of William, you play as a new protagonist of your own creation, and quickly are introduced to the concept of being a hybrid. Part human, part Yokai.
This story element is also the games biggest evolution from the previous title, being part Yokai leads to the biggest gameplay departures.
Gone are the living weapons from the original, in their place is the ability to transform into three distinct Yokai forms. Each one has several unique abilities and combo strings.
The Yokai form also dictates the next biggest gameplay change, the Yokai counter.
Each form allows you to counter Yokai’s normally unblockable attacks. These parries are all different, one acting more as an interrupt, and another more of a direct counter.
Like the original game, these additions aren’t just added for excitement and flair, but they are crucial to making any real progress as Nioh 2 ramps up the difficulty quite a bit.
The other significant gameplay addition, is the ability to capture Yokai souls. Every single Yokai in this game, from the adorable Kodama’s and every single boss, can be captured and used as new abilities.
This new system, the Yokai forms all fold into everything from the previous game such as Guardian Spirits, Ki bursts, weapon stances and more to create an incredible layer of depth.
As a returning veteran, the new gameplay mechanics help establish a new learning curve, and it was a much welcome layer of depth to a combat system I’d grown comfortable with.
New players I feel might have a hard time, because the sheer amount of mechanics Nioh 2 throws at you can be a bit intimidating. Nioh 2 does feature an excellent index, and it tries in several ways to explain it’s mechanics to players, but it certainly isn’t afraid to take the training gloves off and punish you if you don’t pay attention.
Outside of these changes, Nioh 2’s story is told in familiar fashion, you move around a map of Feudal Japan and advance through main and side missions told through several chapters. Your custom character does not speak, and as a mouth piece named Tochikiro. Tochikiro is an Amrita merchant who befriends you, an the pair of you roll around with historical figures such as Nobunaga, and experience the rise and fall of his empire.
Although most of the story takes place 50 years before the first, Nioh 2 is not a prequel. To say anything more would give too much away, but rest assured this story is all encompassing and features plenty of callbacks to the original game in smart ways.
Nioh 2 also features improved visuals, and despite reusing some gear and stages, more than makes up for it with tons of brand new stages, bosses and loot everywhere.
Quality of life features are abound. The much maligned coop experience of Nioh is vastly improved. Right out of the gate playing with friends is made much easier, and the coop has even been expanded to three players.
If you don’t have friend around, special graves will allow you to summon NPC’s based on other players to assist during stages. Nioh 2 also features excellent inventory management, filters and runs great on a base or Pro model.
Sometimes sequel innovate in drastic measures, and sometimes they can lose sight of what made the original great.
Nioh 2 may seem like an expansion upon first glance.
Dig any deeper and it’s easy to see the bevy of new gameplay features, a great an expansive new campaign, and tons of quality of life updates truly help Nioh 2 stand above it’s predecessor.
Editors note ** PC and PS5 versions including all DLC were released February 2021. This blurb covers those sections.
Nioh 2 finally returns to PC and it’s a delight. Even on modest PC’s the game runs fantastic, and PC support has been stellar. Ultrawide support, high framerates and a ton of options let players tailor the experience.
Even better, Nvidia DLSS 2.0 support is included, and it makes the image quality increase greatly while still running smooth. On PS5 Nioh 2 runs the 4K mode at a locked 60 frames or action mode at 120.
All the DLC and post release content is included, and overall this collection takes a great game and truly pushes it to new heights. Nioh 2 is incredible, and no matter what platform you play on, it ‘s the best action game by a mile.