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‘Nioh perfect’: Sequel game 'Nioh 2' offers great character builds and fast combat mechanics

Leave it to Team Ninja to up the ante with Nioh 2, which brings an elevated Souls game experience

From Software’s Dark Souls and its successors, have carved a bloody little niche for themselves called masocore: games that pride themselves over their brutal difficulty and sell like hot cakes. They also end up taking awards home, like with Sekiro. Showing that people just love punishment. Though, before From Software, Team Ninja was the reigning tough game champ, and with 2017’s Nioh, they proved they still got it and more. Now they are ready to make our fingers ache with Nioh 2.

Screenshot from Nioh 2

Screenshot from Nioh 2  

Nioh is an action adventure set in an alternate history Japan of 1555, overrun by supernatural monsters known as Yokai. Where the first game had a Geralt of Rivia-like protagonist, you now play a mysterious half-human, half-Yokai warrior.

Truth be told, while Nioh 2 does spin quite a good tale, I frequently found myself lost in feudal lord names. Somehow it still has not quite reached the passive storytelling chops of Dark Souls but does a decent job.

Nioh 2
  • Developer: Team Ninja
  • Publisher: Sony Interactive Entertainment
  • Price: ₹3999 for PS4

Detailed builds

The character creator is mind blowing and gender fluid, with a lot of intricacy packed into creating the character that best represents you. Rather than locking the races down to oriental, you can set your skin colour and race appropriately.

Nioh’s fighting system is weapons-based, all with own movesets. Your selected weapons, along with magic and your selected yokai spirit, define your character letting you tune and tweak your build as you get more powerful, the more familiar you are with your steel.

The swordplay is fast and furious with a definitive rhythm and flow; there are three stances across two switchable melee and ranged weapons. Managing your Ki is, well, key; this is the stamina drain from combat that can be recouped by pulsing it at the right time. The Yokai throw up constant negative fields, which can only be dispelled with a pulse. It all may seem overwhelming, but there is a beautiful depth.

Screenshot from Nioh 2

Screenshot from Nioh 2  

As with all Souls games, Nioh 2 is tough. Grunts and giant Yokais have brutal one-hit kill moves for insta-kills. You will die a lot, but take dying, not as a sign of failure but as a gameplay mechanic. The new Burst Counter is a great addition to combat, which triggers a Yokai killer move. The timing is critical, you are open to a killer blow if you miss. Yokai attacks are varied, but if you die, you have to run all the way back to reclaim the power from the spot at which you died.

Rewards, galore

Much like Diablo III, the game throws loot at you, all segregated with appropriate rarity colours. While this may seem like a good thing, most of the drops are non-consequential rolls, making most of your precious gaming time spent at the menu screens, breaking down weapons for materials or selling them. Inventory management is crucial in any game, but Nioh can go overboard sometimes. Though, if you are diligent, you can convert several mediocre weapons into some really good ones.

Screenshot from Nioh 2

Screenshot from Nioh 2  

The levels are mostly picturesque yet deadly. While the levels are not as drab as the first game, they can get quite twisted and labyrinthine. In fact, stopping to admire the beautiful scenery can be fatal. No one in the industry does beauty better than Team Ninja and it reflects in the character models, which almost border on K-pop singer-like aesthetics. Making tweaking your period fashion a lot more fun than your average Souls game.

Nioh 2 feels like what Nioh should have been; it is just more of the same for the fans that love the game, which is not a bad thing. The combat mechanics are fast, and once you master it, they look incredible. The game, highly recommended, is the right amount of challenging, but expect to die a lot.

The writer is a tech and gaming enthusiast who hopes to one day finish his sci-fi novel

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Printable version | Apr 8, 2020 9:12:32 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/gamespot-nioh-2-team-ninja-sony-interactive/article31082634.ece

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