After a first Nioh welcomed with open arms by the critics, Team Ninja is back with a second episode, available from March 13, exclusively on PS4. In the process, the team shelters William Adams, the hero of the previous installment, and offers the player to create his own samurai. This is obviously not the only novelty of Nioh 2: more enemies, more powers, and more environments, the title is presented as the sequel par excellence. And even if we have already tasted its sharp and sharp fights, Team Ninja easily manages to bring us back.
Nioh 2: Complete Edition on PC, how does it work?
Much like the first episode before it, Nioh 2 is touring the PC after its release on PS4 as a Complete Edition. A version that includes all the title's DLC released so far, namely The Disciple of Tengu, Darkness in the Capital, and The First Samurai. In addition to new objectives and narrative arcs, the whole new video game adds a new difficulty mode as well as a new weapon, enough to improve the already very generous lifespan of the base game, which remains almost unchanged compared to the PS4 version. It is on the technical adjustments that this Complete Edition stands out, with some new options: compatibility with HDR monitors and those that support 144hz, 4K, or even ultra-wide display (3440x1440 or 2560x1080). No DLSS or ray tracing in the program, but the possibility of going up to 120 fps. With an already very solid base as well as the three DLCs, Nioh 2: Complete Edition is a game that is both THE ORIGINAL TEST OF NIOH 2 (BY INDIA, 03/10/2020)
So, better than Sekiro or not?
Let's get that out of the way: no, Sekiro and Nioh 2 are not comparable. Aside from their overall proposition (a demanding action game set in medieval Japan), the two titles stand out in many ways. The gameplay approach is much more lively and stamina-based than in Sekiro, where there is no endurance. The level design approach is not the same either. In short, these are two very different games. Thus, the rating given to Nioh 2 was not compared to Sekiro, either for good or for bad. demanding and very dense, which will delight players looking for a challenge for dozens of hours.
Japan. The year 1555. Sengoku era. A strange message is left at your window. After a few stabs here and there, you discover its author: the eccentric Tokichiro. The latter is looking for a robust henchman to make his butter. He knows that powerful Spirit Stones, or Amrita, sell particularly well in times of war. Except that to do your business, you have to travel. So here you are, embarked by your friend in the heart of armed conflicts where the possession of the land and the famous stones are disputed.
Something that is obvious when you launch Nioh 2: the visual improvements since the first episode. The faces are much more expressive and convincing than in the past, which gives body and personality to all the characters encountered. And characters, there will be many on your way: warlords, lone fighters, or simple henchmen, Team Ninja has worked hard to make its universe more consistent, embracing Yokai folklore at the top of its lungs, these strange creatures from Japanese tales.
This good point is also accompanied by particularly neat cutscenes, accompanied by a very nice staging. Team Ninja thus partly erases what was lacking in the first episode: controlled levels linked by an anecdotal scenario. However, the writing of Nioh 2 does not do wonders, and we often wonder about our presence in this or that place or on behalf of one lord rather than another. The same goes for the visual performance of the title: if there is anything better compared to the previous title, Nioh 2 remains a graphically dated title. But nothing penalizing overall. These few pitfalls are quickly put aside to dive into the heart of the game: its combat system.
ALL DEMON (TER)
Because that’s what makes Nioh and henceforth Nioh 2 salt: its clashes. Team Ninja's approach to this can be summarized in three points. Each hit, dodge, parry consumes stamina (or “Ki” in the game); it is possible to quickly recharge the lost energy with a hit of R1 at the right time; each weapon can be used with three different stances (high, medium and low) which will affect the speed and power of the attacks, knowing that there is also one normal and heavy attack (via Square and Triangle) per stance. But Nioh 2 brings a fourth element to the scale: the Powers of Yokai. Thus, a new purple bar is introduced below the one dedicated to health and endurance. This is Yokai's Energy, which will consume as soon as the player calls upon his demonic powers. It fills up when you hit an enemy.
Yokai Powers are undoubtedly THE new feature of this Nioh 2. They bring diversity and a new tactical dimension to combat. This is what it all consists of: first, there is Counter Yokai, which allows you to inflict heavy Ki damage on an enemy (to be triggered when an opponent or even a boss is wrapped in a red aura); then, Soul Cores, which are all-powerful attacks that can be obtained from certain monsters in the game; and finally the transformation into Yokai, a devastating form where the damage is considerably increased and the player is invincible for a few moments.
Let’s take it all in all: the Yokai Powers are a huge success. A demonic counter is a great way to gain the upper hand over your opponent (when the enemy's Ki is flat, it is also possible to trigger a particularly effective finish move). As for the transformation and other demonic abilities, these are particularly interesting assets for wresting a good deal of health from the opponent or to insure damage, both at range and in melee. This can be vital when your enemy has only a few hit points left.
Rather 60 or 30 fps?
As in the previous game, Nioh 2 offers different video settings: an “action” mode (technical concessions for 60 images per second), “cinema” (30 fps stable), and “resolution” (graphic potential at its maximum for a lower framerate. constant). Let's say it right away, the 60 images per second seemed to us almost essential to react effectively to the attacks of the enemies. Especially insofar as the title does not lose much in the exchange on the graphic level.
CUSTOMIZATION AT GOGO
If Nioh 2 adds a variety of approaches thanks to the Powers of Yokai, this diversity is also expressed in the many parameters left to the player to customize the fights. Regarding demonic abilities - those with R2 and Square or Triangle - it is first possible to unlock dozens of them throughout the adventure, by defeating certain monsters or bosses. These will of course vary in their execution (throwing a creature for a short time, making a giant hammer appear, or even flaming tornadoes) but also in the minor bonuses applied to the player.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg. In addition to the Powers of Yokai, it is possible to choose your Protective Spirit, a kind of pet that symbolizes your inner strength. Besides a few minor bonuses, this choice will mostly determine the appearance of the Demonic Transformation. The Protective Spirits are in fact divided into three classes: the Brute, which strikes hard and takes hits well, the Feral, faster and more agile, and finally the Phantom, a specialist in ranged combat and magic. Especially since at some point in the game, it will be possible to carry two Protective Spirits and also four demonic attacks in all. Enough to provide a wide range of possibilities in combat.
And “I'm not done,” says Nioh 2, like the famous grandfather in the animated series Jackie Chan. There is even more: with this sequel, Team Ninja offers a much larger skill tree than in the past. This allows you to learn real techniques useful in combat (such as movements to lengthen a combo) or obtain bonuses, all depending on your favorite weapon (katana, spear, double ax, etc.). To do this, simply manipulate your favorite toy to acquire skill points, which must then be spent in a dedicated interface. It will also sometimes be necessary to do some side quests to unlock part of this interface. Nioh 2 offers dozens of improvements and a wide variety of approaches.
Well, where is William Adams?
Last point concerning the possibilities of customization: the presence of a character editor, particularly complete. It is thus possible to tweak many parameters to create with precision the samurai of your dreams (adjust the height of the eyes, the size of the forehead, the height of the eyebrows, etc.). And if you spend hours getting the perfect result, it won't be in vain: the cutscenes incorporate your own character.
FRIENDLY BUT ACCESSIBLE
All these improvements will not be too much: even if the regulars of the first episode will quickly find their mark, Nioh 2 remains a demanding game. But Team Ninja has slipped in some new things to make everything more accessible, without undermining the pleasure of players looking for a challenge. First point: the Benevolent Tombs. This is an asynchronous multiplayer mode where a player's ghost appears to lend a hand while being piloted by the computer. So you don't have to wait in line to find a charitable soul - you can quickly get a helping hand, whether it's during a level or against a boss. Although AI remains AI, and it will tend to go melee even for a monster that asks to distance itself.
PS Plus or not for the multi?
For Benevolent Tombs, Nioh 2's asynchronous multiplayer mode, you don't need to have PS Plus. However, you need a subscription to be able to lend a hand to another samurai online or receive help from a real gamer. Moreover, Nioh 2 offers a multi-mode of up to three people at the same time. Ideal for getting out of certain messes.
Good artificial intelligence or not, the Benevolent Tombs have the merit of not having too much impact on the difficulty of the title. The AI typically regenerates once or twice per spawn, but lasts long enough to facilitate some encounters. Team Ninja has also managed to find the perfect balance between occasional help and a demanding title. Especially since the player can, if he wishes, often appeal to this new feature. The use of the Benevolent Tombs is in fact subject to a few Ochoko Cups, an item that is easily found in the Kodama Shop, another novelty of Nioh 2. In the stall, these are the offerings made to the Shrines, equivalent to the campfires in Souls, which serve as currency. It will thus be possible to easily refuel Elixir to restore health, arrows, or explosive bombs. Enough to arm yourself as you should face Nioh 2, a title that is certainly more accessible but which, as mentioned earlier, is still as tough as ever.
Nioh 2: Complete Edition Review, the conclusion
With Nioh 2, Team Ninja signs a very successful sequel. Both better staged and very generous in content, the title manages to give personality to a license that lacked it while strengthening the basic formula. Yokai's abilities, which unleash powers in the middle of battle, bring diversity and a new technical dimension to combat, where judicious timing and attention to the opponent's stamina can hit the mark. In addition, Team Ninja does not leave out newcomers, incorporating tips to facilitate progression. But the title remains as formidable as ever. Nioh 2 thus manages to find a rare balance: that of a demanding and accessible action game, where fans will enjoy as much (if not more) than in the first title.
For more information, I would recommend that you take the time to visit the Nioh 2 official website for all details about this game.