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Nioh 2 Review - Very Friendly for New Players

Nioh 2 Review - Very Friendly for New Players

Of all the souls and souls-like games that have tormented me in the past few years, Nioh, worked on by Team Ninja, is present as an interesting souls-like game but doesn't leave a significant impression on me. The game is easy to forget if not played in a few weeks.

Nioh 2 Review - Very Friendly for New Players

Apart from that, Nioh as a Samurai souls-like game that is suitable for the Weeaboo is still able to provide a meaningful challenge and commensurate with other similar games; they are both frustrating and even stressful, but give a certain pride when completing a stage or after successfully eliminating various difficult bosses.

On March 12, 2020, Team Ninja released Nioh 2 which is the prequel of the first Nioh. After trying to complete the entire main content, I was quite amazed by the deeper depth of the series of combat games offered, and certainly easier than the first.

Nioh 2 can also be said to be present as a game where players who have never even played soul games at all will tend to be easier to adapt in this game than the first game. However, it takes a long time for the new player to master the whole combat elements offered in this game.

This does not mean Nioh 2 is present flawlessly, there are some things that you should probably know in advance so that later it can be taken into consideration whether Nioh 2 is worth it to be played immediately or not.

The fictionalized legend of Toyotomi Hideyoshi

As I mentioned at the beginning, Nioh 2 was the prequel of the first game, so the story itself occurred before William Adams, the character from Nioh first came to the fictional version of Japan which was full of Spirit Stones and Yokai (as devils or devils in Japan). More precisely, the whole story focuses on one of Japan's late Sengoku era historical figures, Hideyoshi Toyotomi.

Unlike the first game that presents William as a fixed character, Nioh 2 comes with a fairly in-depth custom character feature. So in this game you can just make a character according to your imagination, even your dream waifu, or maybe it can be a channel for your creativity to present eccentric characters.

The story opens with you a Shiftling, a human who can use abilities and even turns into Yokai, who is saved by Tokichiro (real name before changing to Hideyoshi) with a Spirit Stone when you are unable to control the strength of Yokai you have.

Tokichiro, who was only a merchant at the time, had the ambition to raise his caste, even to dominate Japan by utilizing the power of the Spirit Stone. He was even willing to be a maid to gain the trust of the people he served, one of which was Oda Nobunaga. In this game, you will accompany Tokichiro's journey in realizing his ambition.

Not only Oda Nobunaga, but you will surely also meet other historical figures of the Sengoku era, such as Akechi Mitsuhide, Takenaka Hanbei, Azai Nagamasa, even some figures from previous games such as Tadakatsu Honda and Hattori Hanzo.

Combat elements that are more aggressive and deep

In general, Nioh has a fairly fast fighting pace by utilizing a variety of attacks that are divided into 3 Combat Stance, as well as Flux or Ki Pulse features that can restore a portion of Ki (the term for stamina) instantly. And in Nioh 2, the pace is accelerated by a variety of improvements to the combat element.

Nioh 2 Review - Combat elements

Starting from the addition of new weapons and old weapons that also get a variety of abilities and variations of new attacks, Onmyodo and Ninjutsu are more expansive, changes to the status of characters who now have more attachment to Guardian Spirit and many more.

But the most striking new thing in Nioh 2 is that you can take advantage of abilities or even turn into Yokai, like the Burst Counter feature which in my opinion is a bright idea, to steal and use the Yokai abilities that you encounter in the game. Along with this, there is also the Anima mechanism needed to do Burst Counter or use Yokai capabilities.

The presence of the Yokai features makes the combat on Nioh 2 feel quite fresh and personally matches my playstyle who likes to play barbarians. However, not only are we encouraged to play aggressively, but there are also various new and old Yokai who are now also made more deadly. So you who have played the first Nioh will still get a pretty fresh experience from Nioh 2.

We will try to describe the various reforms and improvements of these combat elements through the following points.

Weapons are a little more varied

One thing offered in Nioh is so many variations of weapons and armor that are present in it. In Nioh 2, there are nine types of weapons, each of which has its advantages and disadvantages. Two of the nine weapons are new weapons, namely Switchglaive and dual-wielding Hatchets. For the record, Tonfa and Odachi were already present through the first Nioh DLC if you first saw it on Nioh 2.

Switchglaive is a weapon that can change shape starting at each Stance. Switchglaive will become Scythe on High Stance, become Glaive (spear with a machete blade) on Mid Stance, and will be folded on Low Stance. Unlike other weapons, Switchglaive has a combo attack when moving Stance, so this weapon gives you some situational choices when fighting.

Dual-wielding Hatchets are two axes that you will use in your hands. Slightly similar to the type of weapon that uses two hands, this weapon also has a variety of attacks that are quite fast. What's special about this dual wielding Hatchet is that you can throw it at the enemy, so this weapon is quite deadly at close range and medium range.

Not only these two new weapons, but various other weapons also experienced various overhaul with the presence of various abilities and new attacks that could be launched. I who only understand using Swords (Katana), Dual Swords and Spears in the first Nioh still made familiar when using it again in Nioh 2, but now with more attack options.

One other thing that is quite prominent is the presence of two new types of elements in the form of Yokai Weapons and Blessed Weapons. As the name implies, Yokai Weapons has a Corruption element that deals more with Ki damage to human-type enemies, as well as Blessed Weapons with an Impurity element that deals more with Ki Damage to Yokai-type enemies.

Furthermore, Yokai Weapons have a charge that must be filled first by defeating existing enemies. The effect of the Yokai Weapons will be activated automatically when the charge is fulfilled, where you will also listen to the Yokai's voice speaking to your character. Meanwhile, the Blessed Weapon is as active as other element weapons.

Yokai power that makes playing easy

As a Shiftling figure explained earlier, your character has the power to use abilities and even turn into Yokai. There are three types of Yokai Shift or Demon Form, namely Brute, Feral, and Phantom.
Brute Demon uses weapons that resemble large mace and a series of melee attacks that are quite deadly. Then Feral Demon uses two knives and can move and launch attacks quickly. Whereas the Phantom uses a double-edged sword and can launch attacks over long distances.

Nioh 2 Review - Yokai power

This Yokai Shift feature replaces the Living Weapon feature that was present at the first Nioh, but has the same function, namely launching deadly elemental attacks, or maybe like me who uses it at a critical time to avoid death. Changing to Demon Form does not require Anima, but requires your Amrita Gauge to be fully charged first, similar to Living Weapon.

But one thing that seems to me to make the game easy is the Burst Counter element. As the name suggests, Burst Counter has a function to parry enemies that attack you with Burst attacks (usually marked by the appearance of red light). If you succeed in doing Burst Counter, the enemy Ki that attacks you will be drastically reduced, even broken.

Each Demon Form has a different Burst Counter activation; Brute Demon will make a small attack and must hit the enemy who is doing a Burst attack, Feral Demon will do some sort of dodge and must be done with the right timing, then the Phantom Demon will do some kind of guard and must be done at the right time too. Using Burst Counter will consume less Anima.

You who have played the first Nioh may understand very well the difficulty of doing ordinary parry. Either because the timing window was very short, hockey-hockey or indeed I was wary. This Burst Counter feature is arguably high-risk high reward and certainly really suits me who tend to have an offensive tendency to play.

Then what's quite interesting is that now you can also use stealing and use the Yokai abilities that you defeated. To use the Yokai ability, you need to get the random Soul Cores they dropped and place it on your Spirit Guardian. I will explain this in the next point.

Revamp Guardian Spirit and the presence of Soul Cores

One significant change occurred in the matter of character status, namely the presence of the Courage status which replaces the Spirit status. In the first Nioh, Spirit is used to strengthen and unlock additional attributes in the Guardian Spirit that you use. Courage status in Nioh 2 will affect your character's Ki regeneration.

In Nioh 2 the bonus attributes on the new Guardian Spirit are opened by combining the sum of the two statuses. Indirectly, this makes you have to choose the Guardian Spirit that suits your character's build to get the maximum attribute bonus. During the game I rarely changed Guardian Spirit because there were only a few that were suitable for building my character. Feels a little disappointing indeed.
Instead, you can now use the strength of the Yokai through your Guardian Spirit. To use the ability of a Yokai, you first need to get Soul Cores from the related Yokai and install it on the Guardian Spirit that you are using. Using the Yokai ability will consume quite a lot of Anima.

Guardian Spirit can store up to three Soul Cores, but each Soul Cores has a different Attunement Cost, where the stronger the ability, the greater the cost required. Each Guardian Spirit also has a different Attunement capacity.

I quite rarely use the ability of Yokai, because I prefer to use my Anima to do Burst Counter. The use of Yokai's ability is more likely to be used by me situational, such as when cornered aka panic, or combined with certain Onmyodo abilities for example.

New location, new threat

You who have already played the first game might understand that Nioh has a game element similar to Blizzard's Diablo game, which presents the game area in the stage or dungeon packaging, as well as so many loot weapons or armor falling from defeated enemies.

Nioh 2 Review - Revamp Guardian Spirit

Nioh 2 is certainly no different from its predecessor, but now there are more variations in areas with brighter tones. Not to forget, the World Map menu itself now comes in 3D, and has a little interactive element in it.

In addition to being present with various new locations, Nioh 2 certainly also presents a variety of human-type enemies as well as new Yokai types that are arguably more aggressive than its predecessor. But there are also various enemies from the previous game, but now with a variety of new attacks.

You who have played the first Nioh certainly know the Yokai Realm area that can give your character a debuff when stepping on it. In Nioh 2, there is a Yokai Realm version that is arguably more dangerous, the Dark Realm.

Unlike the Yokai Realm which only covers a small area, the Dark Realm has a very wide range of areas and cannot be purified directly with Ki Pulse. The debuff itself is not too different from Yokai Realm, but the visual will turn gray and your character will emit his Demon horn when entering the Dark Realm. Do not miss, the enemies that are in it also become stronger.

To purify the Dark Realm, you need to find its main source which is the more deadly Yokai. After defeating the Yokai, the surroundings will return to normal, and the various Yokai who are in the Dark Realm will immediately lose all of their Ki.

The various bosses that you face can also create their Dark Realm amid battle. Usually they do this when their cell phone has decreased by a few percent, but there are also other conditions. You need to drain the boss's Ki until it runs out to turn off the Dark Realm, or you can also wait for the Dark Realm to disappear by itself, but it tends to take quite a long time.

Lively online interactions

Nioh 2 presents a feature called Benevolent Grave which can also be said to make the game easier. You who have played the first Nioh may be familiar with the Revenant Grave, where the 'soul' of another player who dies somewhere will attack you if he touches his 'grave', but with the reward of equipment worn by that player if he defeats it.

Benevolent Grave is arguably similar to the Phantom Summon feature in the Dark Souls game, where other player characters will be present as NPCs and will help you in battle until time runs out or until the HP runs out. I say this makes the game easier because these NPCs can be used as enemy helpers or bosses, and we just attack enemies from behind.

But you who want to play co-op with friends directly do not need to worry, because the Torii Gate feature that was present at the first Nioh is also back at Nioh 2. You can also use the Torii Gate to help other random players directly.

Using the Benevolent Grave or summoning help directly via the Shrine requires an Ochoko Cup. Ochoko Cup can be obtained by defeating various Revenants from the Revenant Grave, from other players who use your Benevolent Grave automatically, and helping other players through the Torii Gate.

Some other new things

Congratulations on improving the combat elements that are Nioh 2's main dish, some other new things are quite helpful for the game. Some of them are quite significant such as Sudama, Kodama Bazaar, Scampuss, and Remodel features on Blacksmith.

In the first Nioh, you will periodically find Kodama hiding in an area, where if collected can give your character certain bonuses. In Nioh 2, there are Sudama which are also scattered in various places. If you meet Sudama while exploring, he will ask for an item from you, if the Sudama is happy with the item you are giving, the Sudama will give you an equivalent or even better item, but if he is not happy, he will issue lightning to grab you.

Still related to the cute little creatures Kodama and Sudama, now there are Kodama Bazaar features. As the name suggests, Kodama has several items that you can buy via Shrine, and these items will continue to change at each stage. Buying these items requires currency rice, which you can get through Offering your unused equipment.

When exploring an area, you will also meet creatures resembling fat cats named Scampuss. You just have to stroke the creature and it will follow you. As long as I pay attention, this Scampuss will help attack and stagger enemies around you, and the effect is even stronger when he enters the Dark Realm.

Blacksmith itself has not changed much, but there is a new feature called Remodel. Where the function itself is to change the existing bonus scaling on your weapon. This is certainly suitable for you who for example have a certain build but the type of weapon does not match the scaling status of your build.

Nioh 2 Review - Some other new things

For example, say your character has a Strength build, but wants to use Switchglaive which incidentally comes from Magic scaling bonus. With remodel, you can change the Switchglaive scaling bonus from Magic to Strength. This feature certainly opens up a variety of new build possibilities that are even more varied.

Hut, but not just any Hut

One other new thing is the Hut feature or hut. But not just any hut, there are some important features or features that you can access to the hut. From accessing lore on Nioh 2, to receiving prizes from other players who use your Benevolent Grave.

You can reread Yokai information that you defeated such as weaknesses and background, then information on human characters that you meet or even fight against for you who want to know a little role of these characters in their original history. You can also watch various game cutscene in this shack.

You can also change the look of your character if you buy skins via Hidden Teahouse. But the most interesting thing is you can remodel the appearance of your character through the custom character menu. So you who feel less suited to the appearance of your character during the game, can remodel it directly through the Hut without the need to repeat the game.

You can also decorate your hut with various hanging scrolls and teacups. You can get the tea glass during battle, but you must first appraise it in Hidden Teahouse. The glasses of tea will provide different bonuses when displayed in your hut. You can also change the theme of your hut as the main story goes by. What is unfortunate is how insignificant the customization of the hut.

Besides, you can also make storing your own set of equipment for various situations, so you do not need to manually change the equipment. If you have finished the main story, a new menu will open where you can even save your own character build sets.

Friendly for new players, minimal challenges for old players

Souls and souls-like games in general do not beat around the bush in a direct battle with the boss within the first few minutes of the game. Nioh 2 is also the case, where this is certainly a good point because it wants to accentuate the distinctive style of its soul game.

Nioh 2 was present more easily than its predecessor because of the presence of various new features that the author has suggested previously. New players will probably still have difficulty at the beginning of the game, but we can be sure they won't take long to at least understand the game patterns presented in Nioh 2.

Personally, as a player who has played the first Nioh, Nioh 2 does not provide challenges that give a meaningful impression, especially the bosses he presents. Make no mistake, I like some of the boss designs that are presented, but almost all of the bosses in Nioh 2 can be defeated without dying more than once.

For example, I was hoping for a bit of resistance that made the crowd happy but gave me invaluable satisfaction when I won it, such as Genichiro Ashina at Sekiro, Orphan of Kos in Bloodborne, or Sister Friede in Dark Souls 3. And unfortunately, Nioh 2 didn't present any memorable boss battles for me.

Our role that feels less significant in the story

Presenting a custom character seems to have quite an impact on the significance of the role of our main characters in the story. In this case, our character seems to have no purpose and only be a follower or even a bouncer to others.

As explained earlier, the story focuses on the character of Tokichiro aka Hideyoshi who tried to rise to caste and even become the ruler of Japan. In the process, our character just follows him without thinking of the pros and cons, as if our character is bound to be priceless reciprocity because he had been saved once by Tokichiro at the beginning of the game.

Nioh 2 Review - the ability of Team Ninja

Trope partners like this are quite common, wherein in this case our character becomes a bouncer and Tokichiro as the brain that continues to look for opportunities to move up the rank. However, in this case our character is shown as having no specific purpose, other than following all the things Tokichiro wants to do.

This is coupled with our character who is present as the Silent Protagonist, where at each cutscene he only gives facial responses that are arguably quite common. It doesn't give any meaningful characteristics or significance other than being a side character, at least in the first 3/4 of the game.
The main story certainly can focus on other characters, but at least give a more relevant significance as the main character in the story. William's character, which felt bland in the first Nioh, still gave significant significance to his role during the game.

Appreciation of the ability of Team Ninja

Although it is indeed lacking in terms of stories and challenges for me, there are certainly several things in Nioh 2 that should be appreciated. In this case, Team Ninja is still able to show its ability to present figures that spoil the eyes.

Team Ninja is quite well known as one of the developers who always presents handsome and beautiful characters. You might have played their other games like Team Ninja, Dead or Alive, to Dissidia Final Fantasy NT. And all of these games present characters that are pleasing to the eye.
In the first Nioh alone there were so many character designs that were indeed pleasing to the eye, one of the best, in my opinion, was Fuku, an Onmyoji with thicc thighs. And in Nioh 2, there was a character named Okuni who also stole my heart.

Not only the human characters, but the designs of the Yokai itself also look cooler in Nioh 2. One of the writers I like is boss Kasha, who seems certain to be a favorite among furry lovers.

Conclusion

In the end, Nioh 2 was still able to even succeed in presenting a series of combat elements which in my opinion were the best when compared to other souls-like games. And in the prequel, various changes and enhancements to existing features are made to be friendly for new players, especially those who want to jump into the world of souls.

Even though the game itself will feel easy for old players, Nioh 2 is still able to present a variety of stages which certainly can still provide a variety of challenges that are different and more aggressive than the first game.

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