Monday, 13 July 2020

Nioh 2 ★★★★☆

‘Nioh 2’ is the follow-up to ‘Nioh’, a game that became a bit of a cult hit. It is probably the most interesting game to come out of the genre of souls-like games which hasn’t been developed by from software, the creator of ‘Dark Souls’. Of course, there are a lot of similarities to the ‘Dark Souls’ franchise, however, the game injects numerous amounts of its own ideas to liven things up. Some of these maybe don't work as well as they could, however, it does enough, and showcases enough quality, that it elevates itself above other souls-like games.

A lot of people are saying that they feel ‘Nioh 2’ is more of a ‘Nioh 1.5’ than a true sequel to the original game. I agree to a point – many of the mechanics are the same as in ‘Nioh’, and there are many recycled assets. However, so much new content has been added that I’d say that this could be forgiven. For starters, this time around you get to create and design your own protagonist (with an excellent character building menu), and you aren’t limited by having the named protagonist in the first game.

‘Nioh 2’ is actually a prequel and you play as a half-human, half Yokai (a mythical demon) being that lives in Japan and gets dragged into the turmoil and war that is going on in the feudal era at the time. There are many real-life figures from history involved, which I loved, but also some very fictional ones added in. And, of course, there are the Yokai that are taking over and infecting all of Japan. I would say the Yokai are probably one of the best parts of the game. There is loads of variety in enemy type this time around, and a lot of the bosses are much more interesting with intriguing mechanics to learn. One of your new skills is that you can absorb Yokai Cores which may drop from enemy Yokai. This lets you learn special Yokai abilities which can be pivotal in combat.

There is also, of course, A LOT of loot to be found, ranging in rarity and what skills they possess. There are also additional weapon types added in this game from the first which are the switchblade and the hatches. These add a lot of variety to an already extensive amount of weapons from Katanas to Tonfas.

I would say my biggest disappointment is still in the level design, which I felt also with the first game. Although there are some more interesting colour palettes, especially in many of the missions, there are so many reused assets that it sometimes felt like I had already played the levels multiple times in the first game.

The biggest factor in deciding whether this game is for you or not is really just the answer to one simple question – did you like ‘Nioh 1’? If you did, then you will adore ‘Nioh 2’ and the changes it makes. But if you didn’t like the first game or found it too difficult then this won't be for you. The game is very similar in so many ways and, if anything, the difficulty has been turned up a few notches – I have found myself really having to improve my ability and utilize every skill and weapon I'm given. The developers have really created one of the best souls like I have ever played – addictive, fluid in combat (more so than Dark Souls, actually), and there is much more to explore if you take the time.

Hannah Read

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