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Nioh 2: Complete Edition Review

Nioh 2 is a fantastic sequel that frames the tough combat in a Sengoku-era story, integrated with real historical figures and Japanese mythology that takes RPG elements that distinguish stat and equipment-based character structures. The exciting, technical action of the original game returns but adds four new weapon types, yokai abilities that allow you to summon supernatural attacks, and an incredibly useful counter attack technician. If you like tough action and fine-tuned character builds, the Nioh sequel is one you can get without hesitation.

The production embraces the supernatural elements that make the original game so fascinating, increasing the variety and quantity of yokai. You don't play as William Adams anymore; instead you create a character. The story centers around you, a half-yokai warrior involved in the power struggle at the end of Japan's Sengoku period.

Nearly all of the yokai from the first game, including the giant-like Yoki, the raven-headed Tengu, and the one-eyed Oni, return in Nioh 2, and their ranks have expanded to include new monsters from Japanese folklore. Nure-onna, female-headed snakes, beat you with their tails or paralyze you with their gaze. Gaki, human spirits with swollen bellies crush you to quench their cursed hunger. The ape-like Enki wields human weapons but moves as chaotically as apes, making them deadly foes. The list continues, expanding the yokai roster to over 50 different genres, including several boss characters.

Fortunately, Nioh 2 offers a variety of in-depth tutorials that teach you how to effectively use the rich attack and defense options against enemies. The tutorials help you master the Ki-Pulse system, a two-button combo system, three attack postures, blocking, countering, and stamina recovery mechanics linked to many of the game's advanced techniques.

Ki management is one of the biggest obstacles new players have to overcome when entering war. Ki-Pulse is functionally similar to the Active Reload mechanic of Gears of War games because you have to press the Stop button at the end of an attack (with precise timing!) To restore your stamina gauge. The Ki-Pulse system, while looking erratic on paper, gives combat a great degree of complexity by encouraging you to return to neutral after an attack (or before expanding a combo by changing stances).

The Nioh 2 tutorial also introduces the Yokai Shift mechanic, an extension of the first game's Living Weapon power. In the original Nioh, a circular indicator next to your health bar fills up as you fight enemies and defeat them. You can tap the full gauge to channel a guardian spirit into your weapon, infuse basic magic in your attacks for a few minutes. The system works similarly to Nioh 2 except that your half yokai avatar adopts full demon mod instead.

This mod unlocks unique combos and special attacks depending on the guardian spirit chosen. There are three types: a stick-wielding animal, an agile ferocious demon with a short blade, and a gun-throwing ghost. The demon type also defines your counter type. The wild animal has a short-range parry ram that doubles as an attack, a hasty parry that functions as a panic escape in wild form, and a supportive combat system that can be used as an emergency shield for the ghost demon.

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