The first Nioh made a giant impression on avid gamers with its cool samurai backdrop and unrelenting problem. Nioh 2 isn’t altering up the formulation; it stays true to the insurmountable problem, however it is usually leaning extra into the yokai (Japanese spirit) components for extra memorable strikes to defeat the larger-than-life bosses. While at Tokyo Game Show, I went hands-on with the sport and attended a presentation to study extra about it. It shortly grew to become my favourite sport of the present.  

Producer Fumihiko Yasuda confirmed that Nioh 2 is a prequel going down barely earlier than the origInal. Set within the late 1500s, you play as your personal custom-made character who is a component yokai. “The big historical storyline is going to be that [Toyotomi] Hideyoshi, one of the greatest Japanese warlords, was actually two people – that includes you and Toukichiro, and you two will be Hideyoshi together and that sort of ties into the core of the story,” Yasuda explains. Toukichiro is one other fundamental character within the sport, and Yasuda stated he was primarily based on a historic determine, connecting the dots Hideyoshi at one level glided by an analogous identify. 

Outside of navigating being one half of the person often known as Japan’s “second great unifier,” you are also far more than only a samurai preventing evil this time round; you’ll change into a demon by darkness, due to your yokai ties. This means you’ll be able to shift right into a yokai kind and have particular assaults. In truth, any yokai you defeat will drop a soul core, providing you with the power to equip one in all their massive strikes. Yasuda stated the purpose with the primary sport was to make a Sengoku dying sport, this time across the crew needed to make a Sengoku and yokai dying sport. 

Also new to Nioh 2 is a spot known as the Dark Realm, which is the place yokai dwell. At sure factors, yokai will drag you down right here because the Dark Realm enhances their powers. This brings out a number of the harder enemies however defeating them usually rewards you with high quality objects. In truth, some chests can’t even be opened except you are taking them down first.

While there’s no straightforward mode, there are just a few methods to get assist. Just like the unique, Nioh 2 has co-op, however this time it’s increasing its real-time multiplayer to as much as three gamers. You may look to “Benevolent Graves.” Once activated, these enable A.I. variations of human gamers to seem in your sport for help. If you set one in all these graves down, it’s also possible to have an A.I. model of your character assist out one other random participant. 

This all sounds promising, however then I get to see it firsthand in a hands-on demo. Nioh 2 follows the identical philosophy as its predecessor: survey the world and defeat enemies to get higher gear so that you stand a greater likelihood at no matter massive unhealthy is awaiting you on the finish. Gear and weapons nonetheless present up cosmetically in your character, providing you with a brand new search for each event.

After looking round in my demo, I discover the twin hatchets, a brand new weapon within the sport, and so they shortly change into my go-to, as they really feel weightless and quick, however may do a very good quantity of injury. Plus, a number of the combos are simply plain cool to see in motion. You may discover a new yokai, much like Kodama, that gives assist. In this case, if you happen to discover the cute cat-like creature in a degree, it’s going to comply with you round and regens your meter to activate yokai strikes. 

As the demo progresses, I slowly get again in my Nioh groove, defeating tougher and tougher enemies. Stances are nonetheless vital, relying on the way you need to play: excessive for offense, mid for protection, and low for dodging, and it nonetheless comes all the way down to finding out assault patterns and ensuring you don’t put your self in a susceptible place. Players of the primary sport know there’s no worse feeling than operating out of stamina and sitting there unable to maneuver, seeing the incoming hit and figuring out there’s nothing you are able to do. And generally you are able to do so much proper and nonetheless fail, as I see first hand in my first massive boss battle towards a vicious horse-faced baddie with a giant cleaver. His extensive swings take up a lot area that lacking a dodge and getting swept up in a nasty combo is the simplest option to a game-over display, which occurs three extra occasions earlier than the timed demo expires.

And but, it’s essentially the most enjoyable I’ve had on the present. The adrenaline rush of slowly determining the way to take down an enormous boss that initially simply totally wipes the ground with you is plain. Each dying will get you a bit nearer to victory, as you study the patterns, make higher choices, and finally land a kind of counters or combos that stun an enemy. Nioh 2 doesn’t reinvent the wheel, however throwing in some cool yokai strikes to make use of towards these menacing foes makes the victories all of the sweeter.  

Nioh 2 launches in early 2020 for PlayStation 4.