I am a big fan of Dark Souls. The combat, hard, tough but fair, makes it one of the most enjoyable gaming experiences out there. When the first Nioh Team Ninja released a few years ago, I was a little skeptical after playing the beta, but I ended up liking it because it turned out to be much more than a Souls clone. When we first reviewed Nioh 2 almost a year ago, we thought it was a great sequel based on the already excellent gameplay of its predecessor. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the chance to delve into the game then, but the PC version more than makes up for that.
Nioh 2 tackles its story a little differently than its predecessor, being more of a prelude than a sequel. You play as a character simply called Hide, a half-human, half-Yokai who moves with unique abilities. You always meet a historical character along the way, and there’s a nice second half, but I haven’t made sure of that yet.
This time the secondary characters lead the story.
The gameplay shone brightest in the first Nioh, and shines in the sequel as well, taking the same core that made Dark Souls successful and expanding it exponentially to the point where it becomes its own thing. Weapon positions return as the game’s biggest mechanic. Each of the six weapon classes gets three different moves and you can further customize them based on the skill trees you earn. The gameplay offers impressive variety.
If you never played the original Nioh, or if you’ve already forgotten or repressed your injuries, Nioh 2 will be unforgivably brutal, especially at the beginning of the game. It’s that level of brutality that made me think, “Yeah, I’m playing a Team Ninja game” and reminded me of the good old days (and bordering on sadism) when Ninja Gaiden ruled the world. That difficulty really disappears over time with normal enemies, but the bosses will absolutely destroy you time and time again, punishing every little mistake you make and forcing you to rethink your strategy.
I really enjoyed my time with Nioh 2. The level design is excellent, and the quality of the bosses is even better than in the original, but the same eccentric difficulty curve is still present. The level structure and the outside world have provided a great variety of levels, while there is also plenty of side content and an easy way to replay missions, shred material and fight against your favorite bosses. If you enjoyed the first part, you’ll really enjoy this, and if not, it’s no different here. Although I am disappointed that the same cumbersome inventory and loot system still works unchanged.
I’m not going to lie… This man has taken a lot more from me than I care to admit.
Being a Swifling means the biggest changes. You can change into one of three different forms of Yokai when your spirit meter is full: they function almost like living weapons. In addition, every Yokai base you encounter drops a Spirit Core. Apply it to your character, and you’ll be able to perform special attacks. The game, which was already very varied, reaches a whole new level. Even better, you don’t have to be in the Yokai game to succeed. If you want a more traditional game, like the game of souls, you can always play it as a game.
The complete edition of Nioh 2 comes with all the CSDs introduced in the year since the original release. Some of the extra armor and weapon kits are good, but the meat comes in the story content. The full edition of Nioh 2 includes the expansions Tengu’s Apprentice, Darkness in the Capital and First Samurai, each with its own location and end boss. All in all, there is a ton of content, and the replay value is also incredibly solid due to the insane amount of builds you can offer.
On the RTX 2060 and Ryzen 5 3600X units, you could easily get over 60 frames per second at 3440×1440 resolution in most cases. The only places where the frame rate dropped significantly were the infested areas of Yokai, which contained a lot of particle effects. Interestingly enough, I had a similar drop at 1080p, and while there were a few collisions here and there, they were very minor and far apart. The biggest problem, however, is the occasional stuttering and framestitching issues that can sometimes be annoying when moving around the environment. Fortunately, the combat performance is as stable as you would think, with support for up to 120 frames per second if your PC can handle it.
Battles between bosses abound…. and often violent.
It’s a game with an imaginative feel, and it holds up well with well-designed locations and visual effects. Support for ultra-wide 21:9 monitors is a particular plus. In my experience, it worked well throughout the game and made Nioh 2 look a little better than before. Although, as many of you already know, ultra-wide screens, such as cropping and some menus, revert to 16:9 when activated. Finally, there are a few questions: Playstation buttons always appear when you connect your Xbox controller, and a strange bug causes your mouse cursor to appear behind your character on the screen.
The output of Nioh 2 may not be perfect, but it’s still worth checking out. The terrain is beautiful, the battles are still intense, and the boss fights keep you on the edge of your seat most of the time. I died more times than I’d like to admit, but I enjoyed every minute of it.
|This PC port offers a higher frame rate and extra-wide support.||The wide variety of games presented here sets Nioh 2 apart from other Dark Souls-inspired clones.|
|Great sound design with fantastic end-boss themes and a solid voiceover that drives the story along pleasantly.||Nioh 2 may not be a perfect PC conversion, but it’s certainly enough. It’s still a Nioh game, and that can never be a bad thing.|
Nioh 2 Complete Edition is available now for PC, PlayStation 4 and 5.
Viewed on PC.
A copy of the complete edition of Nioh 2 has been made available by the publisher.
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Frequently asked questions
Is Nio 2 better than Sekiro?
Nioh 2’s loot system is much better than Sekiro’s Shadows Die Twice. For starters, you can’t change weapons or armor in Sekiro. Nioh 2 offers many options to customize your equipment. Finding items like soul cores improves the experience and your character.
What’s in the full version of Nioh?
Prepare for adventure with five powerful Nioh weapons, the Nioh Armor Set and three brand new hairstyle sets: Kabuto the Dragon Visitor, Kabuto the Good Fox and Kabuto the Lucky Tanuki. To play this game on PS5, you may need to update your system with the latest system software.
Is the Nio 2 too complicated?
Nio 2 is just an unforgiving game. There are no hard choices to be made. You play the game as it is. It’s a little frustrating, but the reward is mastering all the systems and combat the game has to offer.
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