gc-nz logo
Story image

Game review: Nioh 2 is a tough challenge

13 Mar 2020

Ever since 2009, gamers around the world were introduced to a new genre of gaming thanks to the release of Demon’s Souls. Demon’s Souls ushered an influx of other action RPG style games that focused on tight combat with very high difficulty curves. While these games are hard to play, they have become very popular over the years. 

Developer Team Ninja saw the huge potential in this new genre when they released the first Nioh game in 2017. Nioh was a pretty tough game to complete, but I managed to eventually platinum it. Now it’s 2020 and Team Ninja is at it again releasing Nioh 2 which is arguably much harder than the first game!

Despite being the second game in the Nioh series, Nioh 2 is actually a prequel as the events of this game take place several decades before the first. You get the chance to play as your own custom made (male or female) character named Hide and they help Oda Nobunaga in the war that happened before the previous game. 

Nioh 2 is quite similar to the first game as you are utterly useless at the beginning of the game. At the start, your stamina bar is quite low and you don’t have as many cool weapons and abilities. I must say, the first few hours of the game was punishing, but things get a little better once you earn more cool stuff to dish out on enemies. 
That being said, Team Ninja kind of changes the pace in Nioh 2 by making the game (in my opinion) significantly harder in many aspects compared to its predecessor. One of the biggest challenges in this sequel is the new addition of the ‘Dark Realm’. 

The Dark Realm are evil areas in the game that are black and white and they slow down your ki regeneration. You also cannot use shrines to save your game if they are inside of a Dark Realm area. In order to get rid of the Dark Realms, you will have to beat up the sub-boss generating the area to make them go away permanently. 

You simply cannot run away from enemies all of the time since you need to rid of Dark Realms in order to progress. It can be frustrating sometimes dealing with the Dark Realm mini bosses, but it is sure to challenge even veteran Nioh gamers like myself. 

Another new addition to Nioh 2 is the ‘Yokai Shift’. This is a new ability in the game that allows you to become a demon. It replaces the ‘living weapon’ feature in the first game and it’s quite useful. I mainly used the Yokai Shift against bosses as that’s when you need it the most!

When you kill Yokai, you can collect their cores in order to gain their attacks. Again, this is a pretty useful feature especially when you are up against the harder enemies that appear in the latter half of the game. 

One other new ability added to this game is the ‘Burst Counter’. This brand new mechanic allows you to counter enemy attacks when they glow red. You can do it to both demon and human enemies and it’s cool to use when you really need it. 

The last new things added to Nioh 2 are many new enemy types that are both big and small, as well as a new weapon called the Switchglaive. Many of the other weapons in the game are the same ones featured in the first one, so you have a good variety to choose from. 

While many things are new and different in Nioh 2, there are also many similarities to the first game. For one thing, both Nioh and Nioh 2 have similar looking graphics. The character models and environments pretty much look the same, although some of the levels are larger in scope. However, I will say Nioh 2 looks slightly better if you’re playing it on a PS4 Pro with a 4KTV. 

Other similarities are how the levels are structured. Every level has many shrines that act as your save points while at the very end awaits a very hard boss. You also don’t want to die too often in Nioh 2 because you will lose precious Amrita that is needed to increase your character’s stats.

That said; dying is something that is hard to avoid because the enemies and bosses seem more difficult in this game for some reason. I managed to get the platinum trophy in the first Nioh game, but Nioh 2 was still a very tough challenge for me. It took me several hours to just beat one boss in many occasions!

It goes without saying that Nioh 2 is only recommended to gamers that like these types of games. If you’re bad at Dark Souls, Bloodborne or Nioh, you may want to stay far away from Nioh 2 as it’s a very hard…

All in all, Nioh 2 is a very hard game although fans of the original will love the challenging gameplay. The bosses are way harder in this game for some reason, but they are all beatable if you have lots of skills and patience. 

Verdict: 8.5/10