Nioh 2 Review
So there I am, a battle scarred worn down warrior, face to face with a giant horse-like creature easily 5 times my size. In his right hand a massive cleaver larger than myself, easily capable of taking me out with just a few hits. I have a choice to make, do I go after him with my massive scythe or do I go after him with dual-wielding swords. I choose the scythe and I charge into battle, within 30 seconds I am dead. I come back and this time think, maybe the quicker attacks from my swords will work much better, I smile a little, this time it is better. I lasted a whole additional 15 seconds this time. I repeat and rethink, and repeat some more. Around two hours later, he lies in a heap on the ground. I stand up, wipe my eyes, and stretch. Heart racing and hands shaking I save my game. This was the end of the first mission in Nioh 2.
Similar to its predecessor, Nioh 2 is an action role-playing game. Players can create their own playable character, who was a yōkai spirit. Players are equipped with a variety of weapons such as odachi and kusarigama, and earn new skills as they progress in the game. When players defeat a hostile yōkai, some of them may drop a “Soul Cores”. They allow players to use yōkai abilities and transform into a yōkai after they are deposited in a shrine.
Set in the late 1500s, Nioh 2 is a prequel to Nioh. Players take the role of a character nicknamed Hide , a half-yōkai referred to as a “Shiftling” whose journey through the Sengoku Era begins when they comes across Tokichiro, a man seeking to make his mark in history, and Mumyo, a demon hunter of the Sohaya group. At the same time, Hide is also accosted by Kashin Koji a mysterious entity involved in Hide’s past who obstructs them at every opportunity. But I mean ultimately, the narrative isn’t what people come here for. Apparently there is an entire subset of sadomasacist gamers out there who actually enjoy suffering through rage-inducing battles and the loop of rinse wash and repeat in these “Souls-like” games.
I am not what you would consider a patient gamer. I don’t like having to strategize each and every move I plan on doing. I want to run in guns blazing (figuratively in this case, there are no guns) and take on anything and everything, well you 100% cannot do that in these games and expect to get anywhere really. Every death, you should be learning something. Perhaps it’s a combat pattern of the enemy, or the environment around you that you can use to your advantage, maybe it’s the tell tale mark of a powered up move a boss is delivering. You need to analyze all movements. It’s never been a style of game I’ve been drawn to, to be completely honest. However I did find the taste of victory here to be very sweet, when I could get there.
Graphically the game looks pretty darn good, nice level of polish on the environment, weather effects and lighting especially. Lots of customization to your character from hats, armor down to the weapons and they all give your hero a different look, which is nice. All of the enemies are these wonderfully grotesque creatures from Japanese lore, some are downright horrifying to look at. The game ran great for me on a base PS4, no lag, no slow downs, etc. Which is a godsend because if there was, it would be near impossible to be successful in this game.
The music in this game is done very well, giving it an epic feel to each stage. While not getting in your face like a doom-esque soundtrack it lends well to what is going on at any given point in the game. Seems very much like the score of a fantasy action movie overall and lends well to create an even more believable atmosphere that sucks you into the game.
Combat is satisfying and runs well, although it can take a bit of a learning curve with the stamina of your character and how each weapon works differently. It’s not as simple as equip and lets go, they each work VERY differently and can all be useful depending on your play style and the challenge at hand. Hits feel substantial (whether delivering or receiving) and carry a weight to it.
All in all this entry in the genre (Souls, Bloodborne, Seikro) is another great solid game. From the cinematics to the combat loop, for fans of this genre I’d say it’s a must buy. However for folks not into this style of game, I don’t really think much will be here to lure you in.