Nioh 2 – Review

Release Date
March 12, 2020
Sony Interactive Entertainment, Koei Tecmo
Team Ninja
Reviewed on
Review copy provided by
Sony Interactive Entertainment

Stronger, faster, harder. Nioh is back at it again. The Souls-like game that took the world by storm by adding new gameplay elements and making a Souls-like game feel a lot more like an RPG. If the first game captured your interest, then I would dare say Nioh 2 will do the same. Let’s slice and dice this game and see what it’s all about.

Nioh 2 is the sequel in name to the success hit that was Nioh but is actually a prequel to the story events in the first game. Set in 1555 Japan, you play as the new customizable protagonist who is half yokai and half-human. You are a mercenary who witnessed the death of your own mother. Armed with a glowing dagger that you inherited from your mother, the protagonist goes on a journey meeting allies along the way.

Most of the game elements from Nioh 1 are present here but of course, they just didn’t stop there. They added a whole lot of new features that are waiting to be discovered. For those who haven’t played the first game, here are the few key elements that were brought back from the first game.

Firstly, you can level up your character by gathering amrita from slain enemies. Each attribute is tied to a certain aspect of the game, may it be the weapons you are using, how effective an armor is for you or how fast you can recover your Ki which is your stamina in this game.

Where Nioh 1 only had 3 main disciplines, which was Samurai, Ninjutsu and Onyo Magic, Nioh 2 adds a fourth discipline which is your Shiftling form. Each of these disciplines have a corresponding skill tree that you can develop to earn passive and active skills tied to each discipline. You can also gain active and passive skills for each of the weapon that you can wield.

You can also wield different weapons and equip varying armor types just like the first game. You can still also visibly see the changes on your character.

The Kodama shrine is also back with a few additions. For example, there is now a Kodama bazaar that gets activated within shrines in a mission area. This bazaar lets you trade divine rice to purchase your day to day item needs like the Elixir and arrows. You can get some divine rice by offering up your unwanted items to the Kodama.

The kodama shrine is basically your resting point in the game. It allows you to fully heal up and replenish your items if you have any in the storehouse. You can also use the shrine to choose a new guardian or summon visitors.

Now let’s talk about some of the new additions and improvements to the game. Nioh 2 now allows you to equip two guardians. Making a more inventive way to use them to suit your playstyle. The guardians can then also be equipped with Soul Cores that allows you to unleash skills against the enemies. Soul Cores are items that can be dropped from defeating Yokai enemies.

Summoning visitors has now also been expanded to allow you to summon 2 visitors at once. This could only mean that Nioh 2 is that difficult that you will need to have to call 2 friends or strangers to help you defeat bosses. Other than summoning visitors, you can also get the aid of AI players as well. Where Nioh 1 had revenants, Nioh 2 now has Benevolent graves. Benevolent graves are helpful AI that will help you in your quest for a certain amount of time. Once they have filled up their amrita gauge, they will disappear and leave behind a Righteous Jasper. Benevolent graves require a certain number of Ochoko cups which is also used for summoning visitors.

A Righteous Jasper is a new item introduced in Nioh 2 where you can leave a benevolent grave of your character. You will have to be mindful of where you put your benevolent grave though as it will copy your current level and equipment. So if you want other players to use your character, it might as well put them where players can need them the most. You will want people to use your character as leaving behind a benevolent grave nets you rewards like amrita and items if it completes its mission with other players.

There are 9 different weapons in total in the game which includes the sword, the dual hatchets, the switchglaive, the tonfa, the odachi which is a large samurai sword, dual swords, spear, axe, and lastly the kusarigama which is a unique weapon that has a hook and a ball on each end of a chain.

With all these many different styles and combinations, you won’t run out of combos and skills to learn. Whether you’d like to be aggressive or stealthy, there’s always a weapon that will suit you best. Most of the skills can be unlocked from the start but some are gated by missions that you need to complete before you can activate a certain ability or skill. The best thing about the skill tree this time around is that you will unlock skill points for a specific weapon or discipline based on how often you used that weapon or skill. So if you keep using the samurai sword all the time, you will only get skill points towards that skill tree. Don’t worry though if you ever messed up a skill tree you can just go to the dojo and reset them, you can even opt to reset just a single skill tree instead of using a book of reincarnation that will end up resetting even your level.

This is just a few of what Nioh 2 has to offer but there surely is a lot to do and explore. I can go on and on and tell you all about the cool new features and what came back but it would be more enjoyable if you play it yourself.

My only gripe about the game is that they could sure use to improve the AI characters that you can summon so that they can actually help you out in fights rather than dying in the first minute they encounter an enemy. I would have hoped the AI characters know how to drink an elixir to heal themselves but it seems like they left that part out so that people won’t abuse it maybe. Otherwise, this game is perfect.

If you’ve been looking to quench your thirst for a game that is challenging and would be fun to play with your friends this Nioh 2 is surely there to help you out. Overall, I believe that Nioh 2 has satisfied my thirst for git gud adventures and it’s definitely a game worth playing.

Nioh 2 – Review
Score Definition
Almost perfect if not for the nitty-gritty. If it’s quite there but not enough to push the boundaries, it’s still an awesome game.
Very challenging gameplay
More visitors!
Kodama cuteness!
AI doesn't even know how to drink elixirs