Nioh 2 Review: Nioh, published in 2017, can be considered as one of the most successful names among Soulslike games. Nioh, which is exclusively for Playstation 4, met with PC users after a while. In addition to its world of real names and places in the history of Japan, it was highly praised for its fighting system, which provided a completely different experience with each weapon.
When Team Ninja announced that he was going to play Nioh in E3 2018, we had a lot of questions in mind. In which period will the game pass? Are we going to play with William, who again seems to have come from Witcher? Will we be able to understand anything from the game’s story this time? How much can they improve the already successful fighting system? They said Nioh 2, but do they make small additions to the previous one and bring it like a DLC package? Welcome to our review, where we will answer these and similar questions.
Nioh 2 review
The first Nioh was in the 1600s, in the late Sengoku period. In this game, we are going back a little more to 1555. Nioh 2, which takes place in the calmer times of the Sengoku period, offers the opportunity to witness how the struggles started. Our main character, a child of a human father and yokai mother, is a samurai living by hunting bad yokais. The common name given to beings captured by spirits in Japanese culture, yokais are the enemy type we will see the most in the Nioh series. The story, in which we partnered with a merchant named Toukichiro and started to work as a mercenary, continues with the introduction of Oda Nobunaga, who wants to gather Japan under one roof in the following sections.
One of the weakest parts of the first Nioh can be called storytelling. It offers a very nice alternative world with its character staff consisting of real people almost all of them in history. However, it was really hard to understand what happened due to the disconnection between the intermediate scenes and the game. In mind, “We were just drinking tea, why am I chasing the creature in the rain?” creating questions like was one of the most criticized aspects of the game. In the second game, the story of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, known for the title of the great unifying of Japan, was processed in a very fluent and understandable way with the help of both intermediate videos and NPCs in the game. So yes, this time we can definitely follow the story!
The story takes place 50 years before the first game. A new name stands out in the story that started before the birth of our first character, William Adams; Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Hideyoshi, which has a very important place in the history of Japan, is mentioned as the common name of two different characters in the alternative world of Nioh 2. Our partner Toukichiro, with the character we created, gets the name Hideyoshi as the story unfolds. While trying to serve our Lord with our team, where we gather different types of people, we try to find the person responsible for what happened to our family.
The character creation screen of the game is quite detailed. Considering that the game has detailed armor and weapon changing option, we can seriously personalize the character we are playing. The gamers who said “I don’t want to create a character, I wish William” were also considered. If you have a Nioh log file on your console, it is also possible to play with the William look. In addition, through the Hidden Teahouse added later in the game, we can purchase the looks of the characters we see in the game.
What about the gameplay?
Aside from the first game, leave your worries aside. Nioh 2 has so much more than the first game. One of the biggest factors in Nioh’s success was his gameplay.
The game, which had a balance between Bloodborne and Ninja Gaiden, offered the player a lot of options with many different weapons and techniques. My biggest worry about Nioh 2 was the possibility that we would come across without putting too much on the first game. Although it has a successful system, we do not want what we are sitting on as the second game to be the first game presented with a different story. Team Ninja managed to frustrate my concerns about this.
If you have played the first game, you can get used to the second game very quickly. Attacks that change according to the way you hold the weapon, the “Ki” defenses used instead of stamina, and the skills you can learn more as you use still remain. We can say that we had a very satisfying skill tree in the first game, but with the new game, this tree has reached another level. There are 11 different weapon trees, ninja techniques, magic abilities to be developed as well as different skill trees for our samurai and yokai powers.
The biggest innovation to gameplay was the yokai powers in the “Shiftling” category. Thanks to these forces that reveal the yokai side of our character, we can prevent enemy attacks, collect the essence of the evil yokais and use them against them. And for a short time, we can transform into a yokai letting enemies taste their own power. With the “Yokai Shift”, which replaces the “Spirit Weapon” system in the previous game, you can have an almost unstoppable power by turning into one of 3 different types of yokai forms for a short time. The yokai form, which has different weapons and appearances according to the spirit you choose, is your biggest assistant in difficult battles. In addition, a feature similar to the gun system in Bloodborne, whit pressing R2-0 attack by stopping the attack of the enemy and attacking it, has also been added to the game.
We talked about taking the essence of the Yokai’s, let’s open that part a bit. The yokai which we kill can drop their essences from time to time. Just like equipment, we can equip these extracts and use the techniques of yokai. Especially in boss fights, it is very enjoyable to use the movements that upset you over your unaware opponents.
The number of items to be collected has increased significantly with the added new yokai powers. You lose yourself, with 11 types of weapons, dozens of versions of each weapon with 5 different rarity levels, the armor of different weights and features, set pieces, yokai extracts, in the game. There are a lot of things to collect in the game and so you can find yourself doing the grind. As for the items to be collected, it would not be wrong to say that the game is close to Diablo-style Action-RPG games rather than the Soulslike type. We can call it a loot paradise.
Is the game difficult?
One of the points complained about in Nioh was the difficulty of the game and it was very difficult to progress without the grind. It would be inevitable for you to have a very difficult time in the later parts of the game if you wanted to progress without doing side missions and only by doing the main missions. Nioh 2 has made some improvements in this regard. In some parts of the game, members of your team join you and you can progress together. In addition, a copy of the player’s character joins you as NPC with 2 to 5 “ochoco cups” that you will give to the tombs named “Benevolent Grave” left by other players. However, it helps until you defeat a certain number of enemies. They work especially well in the face of crowded groups or in the “Dark Realm” districts polluted by the yokais.
The game also has the option of playing co-ops for up to 3 people. Although I don’t have the opportunity to try the co-op option because the game has not been released yet, I can say that it has a system like the last game. In places where the power of a samurai is insufficient, you can summon other players for an “ochoko cup” and continue as three samurai.
We wrote so much, but is the game bad at all? Unfortunately, there is. The “facilitated gameplay” I mentioned above continues only to a certain extent. Later in the game, there are difficulties such as enemy placement, serious opposition to the opponents. Surrounded by enemies in the Dark Realm who deal high damage, excessive health and Ki. As such, episodes such as the absence of a yokai that you cannot find can remove dead players from the surrounding area, causing you to question your choices in life
Dark Realm is a new addition to the game. Our character’s mobility is severely restricted in these areas, which are contaminated by a powerful yokai or soul stones. The negative effects of the field disappear when we switch to the Shiftling form to move comfortably in these areas that we encounter in boss fights. However, it does not help much because we have limited time. That’s why it is necessary to develop talents. The Shiftling skill tree contains passive abilities that reduce the effects of the region. In the Omnyo part, it is possible to find spells that completely remove the effects.
One of the most important parts of the game is boss fights. While boss fights were generally balanced in the first game, the balance of difficulty completely disappeared with the DLC packs. I encountered a similar situation in this game. Although I was above the level recommended by the game, I had to deal with a boss with a high health bar that could finish me in three hits for about four hours. Since the artificial intelligence of the NPCs that we can call us is at a level to stand in the fire and watch the fight, the support they provide works to some extent. Another boss fight is getting harder than necessary due to problems like the camera losing itself due to the enemy being too big. Of course, we continued the game by saying “after all, dying is part of this game” But not everyone may be so patient. (Not me either, I had to take a break a game one day when I was stuck in the same place for four hours.)
I can say that the game satisfies me in terms of graphics. The intermediate scenes are already visually beautiful. It is possible to see the effects of the past years on the characters. It is obvious that it is dealing with character designs and environments. Especially when you see the cherry blossom trees in the unique gardens of Japan, you will understand why I am impressed.
Graphics are at a satisfactory level
The game has two different options for performance. It is possible to choose between visual beauty or fluency by choosing “Action Mode” or “Movie Mode” in the menu section. The “Action Mode” game allows you to see 60 FPS on both normal PS4 and PS4 Pro. While it displays a 1080p resolution on PS4 Pro, it offers a 720p dynamic resolution on normal Playstation 4. “Movie Mode” provides the opportunity to play at 30 FPS 1080p resolution on both consoles.
Although Movie Mode offers a smoother image, remember that you are playing a game where instant responses are very important. Although I played on a normal Playstation 4, I was not disturbed for most of the game. Only the videos promoted by the spirits that join our team seem to have been prepared with low FPS in a way that I can not understand.
In general, Nioh 2 is a game that has taken all the good parts of the first game and has added a lot of innovations to it. Even if it said “This is the same as the first game”, you continue playing without getting bored. Our progress by choosing a task on the map instead of an open world was also a point to have complained in the first game. It is necessary to admit that choosing a task is quite a logical method as time progresses throughout the story. You can get bored from time to time with the enemies that you encountered in the previous episode. You can be a little upset when the skeleton that scratches your armor, two episodes ago, passes the same spear in your head.
Nioh 2 is a game prepared with care in terms of design as well as its fast action structure
If you like Dark Souls – Bloodborne style games and enjoyed the first game, Nioh 2 will definitely please you. If you are not familiar with the Souls series but want a smooth action game, definitely give Nioh 2 a chance. I finished Nioh 2 a little quickly for this review, in 60 hours without too much adherence to side missions. Aside from the troubles I mentioned above, I also enjoyed the majority of this period. I even plan to play again with different weapons and techniques. The game hosts an adventure that will last at least 100-150 hours while exploring the hidden areas on the maps, chasing different weapons and armor, side missions and more challenging missions called “Twilight Missions”.
On the other hand, we know the Bloodborne. That’s why it can be hard to say it’s the best action game on Playstation 4. But with the innovations and fluid combat mechanics it brings, Nioh 2 is already on my list of the best games of the year.