Get excited and get ready to die… a lot. NIOH 2 for PC is released today! And we’ve been lucky enough to have a go! This game is a definite must have for 2021.
Set in Sengoku era Japan, the story mixes historical events with the world of monsters and beasts. Taking inspiration from Toyotimi Hideyoshi, a peasant samurai who was one of the great unifiers of feudal Japan. The game splits this real life character in two; travelling merchant named ‘Tokichiro’ and the games half-yokai half-human protagonist, ‘Hide’. You play as a silent mercenary, hired to hunt down yokai (demons) and eventually joining forces with some of Japan’s most formidable warriors. Hide has the
unique ability to transform into a demon form to defeat the game’s terrifying beasts and monsters with the aid of a guardian spirit.
The story of this game is pretty cool, the fact it’s partly- historical really encourages you to uncover the rest of the story. I will say,
however, this is a 55 hour game (on average) and I still have a whole lot of story to uncover (being about 20 hours in) but I am genuinely excited to find out more.
The graphics in this game are awesome. Calling this game realistic would be wrong, yet all the little villages and forests you venture into are definitely grounded in reality. These little bits of reality compared to the fiery, dark and icy landscapes of the spirit realm really show off the graphic talent of the developers at Team Ninja. The contrast between light and dark is particularly striking in this game – the dark spirit world settings
are stunning and well considered. The way the light hits off weapons and armour especially in these settings is breath-taking – especially with your graphics settings all the way up.
The visual aspects of this game were always consistent for me, never clipping or having an effect on the fps at any point (which stayed at a happy 60 fps) and the cutscenes were almost like watching a movie; these were, however, capped at 30fps.
One thing I have come to expect from games like this is generic ‘threat’ or ‘boss’ themes that play when enemies are near. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of the aforementioned trope and found a dynamic and varied soundtrack in its place. The soundtrack is essential when a game is deliberately challenging. It can make or break when it comes to keeping you interested and involved, especially if the mechanics of a
game are repetitive in nature. The soundtrack of this game is great in keeping you engaged without becoming annoying.
You will die in this game. A lot. In fact it’s one of the main mechanics.
Being a Souls-like game, you access checkpoints throughout to progress and upon death are brought back to the last checkpoint and your progress is lost. There is always the risk of this becoming tedious or boring but Nioh 2 does a great job of keeping things interesting.
Each attempt you make to reach the next checkpoint can be so diverse it’s unreal. I think I died over 100 times in my first 4 hour stint at this game, however, each time was different, interesting and often unexpected.
I couldn’t review this game without mentioning the combat and loot systems. The combat in this game is unbelievably fun with each slash and hit being extremely smooth and gratifying. There is a lot to learn in terms of combat but if you are struggling, you are given the option to revisit the tutorial to practice every time you die.
There is also a mechanic that helps you regain stamina mid-battle, which is essential when facing bigger bosses as the right timing can mean success or failure. In fact, the combat system is generally high risk, high reward – which combined with having to learn the individual rhythms of each enemy makes this game so much fun.
There are also lots of weapon types to choose from, each with their own skill tree to upgrade. You can play this game over and over simply to try each of them out and see what feels best for you. You also have the option of multiple stances which let you customise your combat style whilst also being of vital necessity when facing a constant stream of different enemies.
Multiplayer in this game could be a lot of fun with the right player by your side however, I never got a chance to try this out at length. One of my favourite aspects of the solo gameplay was the option to resurrect dead players in the form of AI to either assist you or to challenge, something which can be unlocked by offering up loot for items at various shrines in the game.
The loot system itself can be a little frustrating as there is a seemingly endless ability to pick up loot with no limit or consequence to how much loot you collect. You can get rid of some of this at shrines as offerings and the rest at blacksmiths for money. However, this system didn’t majorly impact the gameplay itself.
The customisation in this game is unbelievable, I spent 45 minutes in the character menu alone adjusting everything from gender to eye shape. To mention but a few of the customisable options: Weapons, Stance, Guardian Spirits and Upgradeable Abilities. You could definitely replay this game all over again with a completely different gameplay experience every time.
In terms of issues with this game – I would be remiss not to mention the difficulty. It’s hard. Unbelievably so. Coming in as an outsider with no knowledge of the previous Nioh title can be daunting and could potentially discourage players who are not used to this style. Simple things like falling in water (which kills you instantly) can be incredibly frustrating after working so hard to get to the next checkpoint. However, there is a lot of
reward when you do finally reach each checkpoint and there are tonnes of hidden spirits and items to collect along the way.
This game is so much fun. You will die over and over and over… and over again. Each time, makes you try a little harder and consider new approaches to help you inch that much further. You definitely get your money’s worth with this game in terms of graphics, story and combat with the potential online capabilities being a big selling point for me. I loved playing this game and I even though I’ve died over 100 times at this point
can’t wait to dive back in. Each run and each play through of this game will be unique and challenging in a new way making this PC release a great game to come back to time and time again.
Available on Steam.
Nioh 2. Nioh 2. Nioh 2. Nioh 2.
Pros and Cons
Gameplay Can Be Slightly Repetitive
Combat is Hard
FPS Capped Cutscenes