March 1555. We travel to Jusanzakura, more precisely: to the village of the cursed flowers. Of course, there are no yellowed rose petals or tea with an expiration date, but rather fantasy monsters. In Nioh 2 we take on the role of a warrior who is half samurai and half demon. The action takes place 50 years before the first series released in 2017, again it is about clashes between historical warlords and sometimes huge beasts.
Similar to the predecessor, the level of difficulty is very high – only experienced players should swing the katana or the glefe here. In the battles, we should choose the weapon that suits the monster and choose one of three combat stances and have sufficient healing potions and other extras. By the way, we make no secret of the fact that we only played the pre-release version of Nioh 2 for this article for a few hours and didn't get very far.
Most importantly for at least a bit of success: quick reflexes and the willingness to gradually find a successful tactic with almost every bigger monster. The game is reminiscent of Sekiro, but of course with special features. One of the more important in the battles: we have to pay attention to the endurance bar so as not to be immobile in front of an enemy. In addition, there is a greater focus on weapon selection – in Nioh 2 we spend a lot of time in the inventory and in the other menus.
There are a few changes compared to the predecessor. So the player does not compete as the Irish navigator William, but generates a female or male hero before the start of the campaign. Also new is the possibility to take the form of a demon, a so-called yokai, under certain conditions. It is fun because we can serve it particularly heartily – but even as Yokai we are anything but immortal.
Technically, Nioh 2 cuts a fine figure. Most of the time it is dark, the world seems harmonious and interesting. We find animations and controls successful. As in the predecessor, we can choose between several graphics modes and (in simple terms) choose between high and stable frame rates (60 fps) and slightly nicer effects.
We select the next area of application on the world map. (Image: Sony / Screenshot: Golem.de)
Nioh 2 will be released on March 13, 2020 for Playstation 4 at a price of around 60 euros. An implementation for Windows PC like the predecessor is likely, but has not yet been announced. Voice output is available in Japanese or English, German subtitles and screen texts are available. There is no classic multiplayer mode, but we can compete in a game online with other players. From the USK has the from Team ninja developed titles received a release from 16 years.
Even with the first opponent, beginners can be overwhelmed, the second is also a challenge for professionals: Nioh 2 does not have a steep learning curve, but none at all – without much experience with the predecessor and with other Soulslike games, you die here a thousand Deaths.
The improvements compared to the first part make sense. Above all, the larger effects of the posture on certain weapons and the shape of the yokai provide even more tactical options.
For experienced genre fans, Nioh 2 should be a feast. The controls are great, the combat system well thought out, there is an incredible amount of weapons, equipment and other extras to discover and try out. In a direct comparison, we like Sekiro better, because it is similarly demanding, but is more accessible in terms of general operation and offers a more interesting action.