Nioh 2 Review:
First things first, Nioh 2 almost broke me. A someone who’s been playing video games since the NES ear, this game reminded me of the frustration I felt when playing games like Ghost & Goblins and Ninja Gaiden. Frustrating and deep, Nioh 2 will grind you down before you even know what hit you. Saying that the game is hard is an understatement. Before we jump into the review, I do have to say that I have not played too many Souls-like games with only Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice grabbing my attention. I’m not fond of games that ask you to ram your head against a wall but I did play the first Nioh and thought that the sequel would give me the same feeling. So, is Nioh 2 any good? Well, read on to find out.
You basically ditch the first protagonist of the game and move on to Hide. Half-human and half-demon (Yokai), Hide exists in a time before the events of the first game making Niho 2 a sort of prequel to the first game as well as a proper sequel with the end of the game taking place after the first game. The story is also set during the Sengoku Era of Japan and the game reflects the design and art style of that particular era. The main villain of this game is a character called Kashin Koji who has a deep connection to the protagonist. To reveal any more would be spoiling the game so we’d suggest you dive straight in and get playing. Just like the first game, the action plays a front and centre role with the story taking a bit of a backseat.
Where do I even begin with the insane gameplay of Nioh 2? Like the first game, Nioh 2 is a third-person game. As mentioned above, you play as Hide who has a variety of attacks at his disposable. Like the Souls games, you have the choice of different weapons, each with their own unique attacks and style. You also have a Ki (stamina) meter that will be your best friend and worst enemy. If you’ve ever played a Souls game, this Ki bar will really test your patience. This is why, personally, I much preferred a game like Sekiro over any Souls games. The lack of a stamina bar in that game just made for a smoother, more seamless experience.
It’s inclusion here though does not take away from the fact that you have to approach every enemy with a different strategy and weapon. You can also transform into a demonic form which deals a ton of damage but also drains your special meter. You also have access to a full skill tree where you can purchase new moves and abilities as you get further into the game. If you’ve played the first game, you’ll feel right at home with Nioh 2.
The game also allows you to tag in an AI companion that will help you in the battle against some of the tougher enemies and even bosses. Speaking of bosses, I’m at a loss for words when it comes to Nioh 2’s boss fights. I was almost treating out my hair when I first came across the game’s first main boss, Mezuki. I must have died some 20 times before I figured out how to defeat him and my worries just got worse from there on out.
The combat is violent but very pensive and thoughtful as you have to plan every encounter and use all the weapons you have at your disposal. If you think you can ‘Devil May Cry’ your way through this game, then you’re sadly mistaken. Nioh 2 forces you to learn its systems and intricacies before beating you over the head with it.
This game is not fun! It’s not a happy-go-lucky game, far from that. Nioh 2 is punishing but also very rewarding as you will let out the loudest Battle Cry when you defeat one of the game’s many bosses. That feeling of relief and exhilaration is what Nioh 2 is all about. It’s not a fun game, per se but it is a thinking man’s action game where every weapon, choice, attack matters way more and mistakes are generally punished unforgivingly. Nioh 2 is just that, an unforgiving game. There is no difficult choice in the game. You play the game as it is. It does get a little frustrating but the reward is in mastering all the systems and combat the game has to offer.
If you enjoy games like Dark Souls and Bloodborne, you’ll love Nioh 2, but if you’re like me and prefer a more relaxing game instead of wanting to drill a hole in my skull every time I died (and it was A LOT) then Nioh 2 is definitely not your jam.
SKOAR - 6/10
Developer: Team Ninja
Publisher: Koei Tecmo, Sony
Platform: PlayStation 4
Played on: PlayStation 4
Price: Rs 3,999
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