Team Ninja is back with a brutal follow-up to 2017’s Nioh, taking lessons from its previous outing to deliver a wealth of new fan-requested features and refinements. Let's take a closer look.
As you set out once more into the world of Nioh, you’ll be doing so not as grizzled Irish sailor William Adams (the protagonist from 2017’s Nioh), but as your own custom avatar.
Nioh 2 features a deep character creation suite that allows you to fully customize your own character, defining every part of your appearance, from height, build, and gender, right down to how curly your fringe is.
You have more freedom than ever to roleplay the kind of character you want to be, whether moonlighting as a waifish, ninjutsu-wielding assassin or smashing your enemies as a hulking, axe-toting brute.
You’ll also be able to define the appearance of your demonic ‘Yokai’ form – but a little more on that later!
All your favourite weapons from Nioh, such as the katana, kusarigama, and spear, return in Nioh 2 with a near-limitless number of variants that can be looted from fallen enemies, discovered around the world, or forged by the blacksmith.
Alongside these however, there are new weapon types to wield, each with distinct move-sets and playstyles that suit different combat approaches.
This giant transforming hybrid of spear and scythe is both steady and powerful. Highly versatile, it boasts impressive reach when transformed to full length, devasting power in its scythe form, and when folded down is perfect for fast successive slices. With mastery, you can even switch between forms mid-attack.
Combining a variety of ranged attacks with fast flurry-like combos, the hatchets favour agile playstyles. Ranged attacks are ideal for interrupting and staggering enemies mid-combo or dealing damage while maintaining distance. Rapid combos meanwhile are perfect for wearing down an opponent’s Ki with slash-and-dash techniques.
Though added to Nioh as part of the DLC, this oversized katana will be new to many returning players. A surprisingly versatile weapon, combining big sweeping attacks, hefty thrusts, and even terrifying overhead flips. Its high stance is especially punishing, with big downward swipes, while the skill tree offers swift attacks like Twin Moons and Dawn’s Light.
Another weapon added as part of Nioh's extensive DLC, the Tonfa is a fast and punishing pugilistic weapon designed for brutal close-quarters exchanges and decimating opponent stamina. Its low stance is blisteringly fast in dispensing vollies of gut punches, while chaining Demon Dance and Pulverise Skills will leave enemies gasping.
As hinted at above, your new protagonist has something of a demonic side. Alongside your normal physical, ninjutsu, and Onmyo attacks, you can also wield superhuman Yokai powers.
The first of these is the devastating Burst Counter: an advanced riposte technique that, if timed right, can nullify the power of an enemy attack, and land massive Ki damage.
In addition to this, you can also adopt skills from fallen demon foes. Defeating more powerful Yokai can reward you with a ‘Soul Core’ – the beating heart of a Yokai’s essence – from which you can draw their abilities to use for yourself.
There are many Yokai abilities to collect throughout the game and you can switch between those you’ve already collected at Shrines. Assign up to two at any one time (which can be activated by holding the R2 button and pressing the Square or Triangle button) so, take time to experiment with what works best.
All these abilities are linked to your new ‘Anima’ gauge (the purple bar beneath your health), so their uses are limited, but with the ability to reduce enemies' maximum Ki, your inner demonic abilities can be a game changer.
While the Guardian Spirits of Nioh allowed William to wield a super-powered spirit weapon against his enemies, in Nioh 2, these guardians sync with your inner demon spirit and allow you to perform a ‘Yokai Shift’, taking on the full form of a demon – for a limited time.
When your Amrita Gauge is full (you’ll know because your Spirit Guardian symbol will start glowing) you can hit the Triangle and Circle buttons together to unleash a Yokai Shift.
All Yokai forms benefit from boosted attack and defence, but their playstyles vary considerably based on which Spirit Guardian you have equipped. Here are the three basic forms you'll encounter:
As the name suggests, this heavy-hitter is able to both dish out the damage and take it. Suited for blunt offensive.
Leaner, faster, and meaner, the Feral form relies on chaining together blistering combos while staying light on its feet.
For Nioh 2, developer Team Ninja has massively expanded the variety of enemies you’ll face, especially among the onerous and deadly Yokai.
With a wider, more varied range of foes comes the demand for greater flexibility in how you tackle each encounter: planning and strategy remain key, but the balance between your weapons, abilities, and your indispensable Yokai Abilities is more crucial than ever.
You can see a whole gamut of new fiends in the 2019 TGS trailer (left) or look below for a detailed look at three of our favourites additions.
A one-eyed, one-legged monstrosity, the Ippon-Datara takes the corrupted form of a swordsmith. Though they wield large hammers and odachi, they're also able to dispense powerful kicks.
Possessed of a vast body that is always semi-submerged, no-one knows the full true form of the Waira, but what is known are the two front claws, perfect for skewering unsuspecting mortals.
As you venture through the vibrant world of Nioh 2 you’ll discover a broad new variety of locations to explore.
The developers at Team Ninja have put special emphasis on level variety, both in terms of how those spaces are laid out and how they look. To this end, expect a wide range of levels, some flat and labyrinthine, while others are heavily tiered, relying on vertical motion – steps, ladders, trap doors, and more – to reach your end point.
Not only this, drawing on feedback from the first game, Team Ninja has also adopted a more vivid approach to colours in the game, drawing on Japan’s natural colour palette to paint the world more vividly.
Japanese culture and history have long been a core part of the games created by Team Ninja.
For Nioh, this meant transporting players to the embattled decades of the late Sengoku period. However, keen to add broader context to that conflict and period, Team Ninja has set Nioh 2 in the less febrile earlier part of that period, casting light on some of the events which provoked the unrest to come.
The complete base game featuring a brand-new, narrative led campaign in Team Ninja's brutal action RPG.