Nioh 2 Articles RSS Feed | Nioh 2 RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Nioh 2 Soul Core Guide: Everything You Need to Know Wed, 17 Feb 2021 17:20:33 -0500 John Schutt

Whenever you kill any yokai in Nioh 2, there’s a chance it will drop a red, heart-looking item called a Soul Core. These give you the ability to channel that demon’s powers as attacks and provide additional bonuses based on your stats and a random roll.

Bosses always drop these items, though the boss yokai don't need to be end-of-level enemies. As you progress in the campaign and side missions, you’ll face these enemies as mid-level fights.

It's also worth pointing out that you will never receive one of these items from a human enemy or an enemy that is at least partly human. Several bosses are part human, part supernatural monster, and they’ll drop a Mortal variant, which can be used at a shrine to improve yokai versions to a higher level.

Soul Core Basics

Once you have at least one Soul Core and have progressed past the first several missions, you are able to control what abilities you can equip. 

Though you'll only have one Guardian Spirit initially, you’ll quickly unlock the ability to equip two, letting you use up to four yokai abilities at a time. Additionally, you’ll gain access to a third Soul Core slot for each companion farther along in the main story, increasing your options to six powers.

Each Soul Core has an Attunement cost to equip. Each Guardian Spirit, in turn, has an Attunement meter with a set number of slots that limit the kinds of combinations you can pull off. 

Because Soul Cores are tied to a Guardian Spirit, you can only use up to three of them at a time. You'll need to swap Spirits mid-combat if you want to use the other set. Your yokai shift and yokai abilities are relatively unconnected, meaning being Feral or Brute has no bearing on how costly a Soul Core is to equip or how effective it is to use.

You can carry as many Soul Cores with you as you please during a mission but die and fail to recover your Spirit and Amrita and the Cores go with them. Resting at a Shrine instantly unlocks all carried Cores, and you can equip them directly from the unlock screen or through a menu at shrines.

Soul Cores all come with an Attack and Defense stat, granting you a minor benefit to both. The real bonus is in the abilities they can roll.

The Yatsu-no-Kami version, for instance, grants increased damage against poisoned enemies, plus at least three other bonuses. I was so powerful that it received several significant nerfs after launch and remains one of the most powerful in the game late into a first playthrough.

Lastly, using the yokai ability associated with one of these items costs Anima, the purple bar below your Ki meter. Picking one up, by contrast, restores the bar and, once you have a specific Shiftling ability, grants a large chunk of healing as well.

It can be wise to leave one sitting in the middle of a heated battle, then pick it up at an opportune moment to restore your health and ready your yokai abilities again.

Additional Soul Core Use

Nioh 2 is all about progression through leveling and loot, and you will come across Cores early in the game you won’t want to give up. There’s only one way to bring one up to your current level, but there are a few ways to ensure it stays on pace with your growing power.

Soul Match and Soul Fusion

The Soul Match mechanic gives you the ability to improve yokai weapons (those that deal Corruption damage) by infusing the weapon with a Soul Core. Choose the weapon as the base and the Core as the Material. Doing so allows you to upgrade your favorite Corruption damage weapon without sacrificing another piece of equipment.

Soul Fusion requires a Mortal Soul Core or two of the same Core, and you can do it any time you’re resting at a shrine. Again, Mortal variants drop primarily from human bosses, but they are also a rare drop from One-Eyed Imp yokai and the Magara Naotaka boss.

Inside the Manage Soul Core menu, you’ll see the option for Soul Fusion. The process is similar to Soul Match, increasing the core's level and power using one as a base and the other as the material.

Any abilities the Core possesses will improve, but its attack and defense scores will not. In this way, you’ll be able to keep using a well-rolled Core you got early in your playthrough. Don’t expect to use it forever, though. Eventually, it will be outclassed.

Resting Rites

In the Manage Soul Core menu, you’ll see an option called Resting Rites. This menu allows you to dismantle Soul Cores for Spirit Fragments and a chance at a rare yokai crafting material. You use Soul Fragments to increase your Shiftling level, augmenting your yokai shift and resistances to yokai abilities.

You might notice specific item requirements when crafting new weapons and armor that don’t seem to have an easy source. In most cases, that’s because these materials can only be obtained by dismantling Soul Cores during Resting Rites. Even then, you only have a chance of receiving the keyed material.

Be careful when in the Resting Rites menu, too, as it only takes two clicks to dismantle a Core, and you don’t want to be spamming through the menus and accidentally destroying your best DPS option.

Those are the basics when it comes to Soul Cores. The systems actually get significantly more granular once you start making a build, and you’ll be farming bosses over and over for the right combination of abilities and bonuses. You’ll also come to know which yokai abilities best fit your playstyle and how to optimize their use in combos and boss fights.

Nioh 2 Burst Counter Guide: How to Use Feral, Phantom, and Brute Counters Wed, 10 Feb 2021 10:39:48 -0500 John Schutt

The Nioh 2 Burst Counter is a powerful counterattack that relies on your character’s yokai nature to interrupt enemy attacks and drain their Ki, Nioh’s version of Stamina from Souls games. Performing a Burst Counter takes practice and quick reflexes. You’ll also need to know the benefits and limitations of the three different yokai shift types: Feral, Phantom, and Brute.

This Nioh 2 guide will tell you all there is to know about how to best use Burst Counter. It can’t teach you the timing of each attack, sadly. You’ll need to learn that by doing.

How to Perform a Burst Counter in Nioh 2

There are two factors that determine whether you can Burst Counter an enemy.

First, you’ll see a red glow around them during a counterable attack. Just as the attack is about to connect, you need to hit the enemy with the yokai shift-powered Burst Counter.

To use the ability, activate your yokai state. Your character will grow the glowing horns you selected at the beginning of the game. Then, while holding the shift button, press the Use button.

Every use of Burst Counter uses a small amount of Anima, the purple bar beneath your Health and Ki bars. Performing one provides Anima as well. If you fail, you'll lose Anima and likely a large chunk of your health.

The Different Types of Burst Counters

Depending on which yokai shift you have, both the timing and the distance of the move will be different. You can check which yokai shift you’re using in the Guardian Spirit menu.

  • Feral will be a blue symbol
  • Phantom will be a purple symbol
  • Brute will be a deep red symbol

After a specific mission early in the campaign, you’ll unlock the ability to equip two Spirits at once. This will give you the option to have two of either the same or different yokai shifts.

Here’s a summary of shifts and their counter attacks.

Feral Counter

Feral is the most forgiving burst counter, closing the distance and acting as a dodge.

The dodge goes farther than you might expect and doesn’t rely on Ki, so if you’re in a bind and out of Ki, it’s a good get out of jail free card. You will be immobile for a few moments, so don’t rely on Feral too much.

Phantom Counter

Phantom is good as well, with plenty of active frames, but you have to be right up next to the enemy. A Phantom counter hardly moves at all.

The counter comes out almost instantly and is the fastest of the three options.

Brute Counter

Brute counter takes the most effort, as it has a significant wind-up. You’ll take a short step forward and give your foe a swipe with your demon-arm. The swipe has armor, meaning you’ll tank any damage you incur.

Because the Brute counter registers as an actual attack, it can stagger some enemies out of their attacks. If you don’t mind the finicky timing, Brute can do a lot of work.

All Nioh 2 Enemies Have Different Timings

Remember, every enemy in the game has a different counter timing. Certain enemies have multiple Burst attacks as well, meaning you’ll need to know multiple attack timings.

Some yokai will delay their attacks, but the counter window will never change. Once you know when to Burst counter, you’ll always know.

That's all there is to learning the Nioh 2 Burst Counter. Whether you rely on one counter type or use Feral, Phantom, and Brute interchangeably, you'll have an edge against the game's tough enemies once you've mastered the move. 

Nioh 2 Purple Kodama: It Seems as Though it Wants Something Guide Wed, 10 Feb 2021 10:53:41 -0500 John Schutt

In your travels through Nioh 2, you’ll encounter little green Kodama spirits, but you’ll also run across more demonic purple Kodama spirits called Sudama. If you speak to them, a prompt will say, “It seems as though it wants something.” As with many things in the Nioh series, what that something is isn't immediately clear. 

This Nioh 2 guide will cover what the Sudama wants and some of the nuances associated with them.

Giving the Purple Kodama What It Wants, Including Smelly Round Things

The Sudama want your items, weapons, armor, and Soul Cores. In addition, if it asks for a "smelly round thing," it's looking for either a Dung Ball or Noble Dung ball item. 

When you encounter a purple Kodama:

  • Open your inventory
  • Select any piece of equipment, item, Soul Core, or Dung Ball if it wants a smelly round thing
  • Open the item options menu
  • Select the Drop command

The Sudama will do a little dance, pick up your gift, and give you another item in return.

The easiest way to farm smelly round Dung Balls is by killing Tesso yokai, the farting rat demons. You'll find these enemies starting in mission 9, Bird in a Cage, in the "Shadow" section of the campaign. Once you get to these later missions, find the closest Tesso to a shrine, kill it, run back to the shrine, and reset the world. The Tesso will reappear and you can farm it endlessly.

What You'll Get From the Sudama

That’s the short version. There’s some nuance to account for, however. Your reward from the purple Kodama depends on a few factors.

First, the Sudama will give you a new item at your gift’s level and will take into account its abilities and rarity. 

If give a Level 35 Rare Sword to the Sudama, you have a chance of getting the same qualities in return, with abilities or upgraded stats. You’ll always get the same type of item you dropped: weapons for weapons, items and upgrade materials for the same, and so on. 

Giving a Sudama a Soul Core has similar results, though you aren’t guaranteed the same level core. Either way, you could receive a random Soul Core, or you might get a re-rolled version of whichever Soul Core type you drop. This applies to any Soul Core you have, including the powerful boss cores. If you’re in the market for new abilities on your favorite yokai ability, Sudama are your ticket.

If you give Dung Balls of either type to Sudama, they'll give you a random assortment of consumable or upgrade items. These can be Summoner's Candles, Books of Reincarnation, Epic-quality crafting materials, and so on.

One final note: once you make it deeper into the game, giant Sudama will begin to spawn. These large purple Kodamas will accept two items and will give as many items in return. 

That’s the gist of it for Nioh 2 purple Kodama when it seems as though it wants something or it's looking for a smelly round thing: find one, give it weapons, items, Soul Cores, etc., get something back for your trouble. Simple, and in a loot game with seemingly limitless options, a godsend.

Nioh 2 — The Complete Edition on PC Gets More Than Just 4K and 120FPS Thu, 14 Jan 2021 17:35:06 -0500 GS_Staff

Nioh 2 — The Complete Edition on PC is coming packed with a bevy of features and options that would make any enthusiast gush. Though we already knew it would support 4K ultra-HD, HDR, 60fps and 120fps options, and 144hz refresh rates, there's quite a bit more PC players will be able to take advantage of on the platform. 

As outlined by Koei Tecmo in a video shared earlier today over on IGN (embedded below; thanks, IGN), Nioh 2 — The Complete Edition on PC will feature: 

  • Fullscreen and windowless modes
  • Resolution rendering
  • Mouse and keyboard customization
  • Gamepad compatibility
  • Ultra wide-screen support

Of course, it will also allow for the range of graphical customizability typically found in PC titles and many other PC ports, including the ability to tweak shadows, turn motion blur on and off, and choose between various graphics quality options and screen resolutions. 

Releasing on February 5, 2021, via Steam, The Complete Edition is an upgraded version of the action RPG that was released on the PlayStation 4 back in March 2020. It features the base game, plus three DLC expansions. It is currently up for pre order over on Valve's storefront

Nioh 2 — The Complete Edition will also release for the PlayStation 5 on the same day, though its title is a tad different: Nioh 2 Remastered — The Complete Edition. Console players will be able to also buy remastered versions of Nioh and Nioh 2 separately or as a collection through The Nioh Collection then as well. There's no word on if that bundle will be coming to PC.

In our review of the game, we said "Nioh 2 takes everything great about the first game and dials it up. Despite a few returning gremlins, this is an instant hit for fans of the series." 

The Nioh Collection Brings Nioh, Nioh 2, All DLC to PlayStation 5 Fri, 13 Nov 2020 14:25:29 -0500 Josh Broadwell

Nioh 2 is coming to PlayStation 5 in more ways than one, Team Ninja announced. Following Nioh 2's final DLC expansion on December 17, Team Ninja will release remastered versions of both Nioh games on PlayStation 5 and then The Nioh Collection on February 5, 2021.

Nioh 2: The First Samurai finishes the hero's story by taking them back to the land of their mother's fairy tales. The First Samurai clears up a number of Nioh 2's remaining mysteries left lingering after Darkness in the Capital, including "Otakemaru’s past [and] the secret of Sohayamaru."

Those who want to wait until February 2021 can get all of Nioh 2's DLC in one place. Team Ninja has a number of Nioh collections planned:

  • Nioh 2 – The Complete Edition (PlayStation 4, Steam)
  • Nioh Remastered – The Complete Edition (PlayStation 5)
  • Nioh 2 Remastered – The Complete Edition (PlayStation 5)
  • The Nioh Collection (available on PlayStation 5 and Steam)

As the name suggests, both Complete Edition versions of Nioh and Nioh 2 for PlayStation 5 include all DLC released for both games, and both support 4K visuals and up to 120fps.

The Nioh Collection bundles both of those and their DLC together in one package. 

Pre-orders for all the above open on November 20, though Team Ninja hasn't announced a price point for any of them yet.

Those who purchase Nioh 2 — The Complete Edition for PlayStation 4 can get a free upgrade to the PS5 version, while owners of the base Nioh 2 on PS4 get a free upgrade to Nioh 2 Remastered on PS5 with all DLC they already own.

[Source: PlayStation Blog]

Explore the Secrets of a Yokai-Filled Past in Nioh 2's Darkness In The Capital Thu, 24 Sep 2020 11:58:43 -0400 Josh Broadwell

The second part of Nioh 2's DLC expansion launches October 15. It's called Darkness In The Capital, and it transports players back in time to unravel the mysteries of a Kyoto besieged by spirits.

Things kick off in Darkness In The Capital when the hero travels to a Kyoto shrine housing an old box called the Sohayamaru. The Sohayamaru activates somehow and sends the protagonist to the Heian period (794 C.E - 1185 C.E.).

As expected, there will be plenty of powerful Yokai to contend with, which will be fodder for players who team up with "the most preeminent demon slayer and the strongest sorcerer in history," among other allies. 

Along with new Yokai, Darkness In The Capital introduces new bosses, skills, Guardian Spirits, Ninjutsu, Onmyo Magic, and Soul Cores. There's also a new armor set and a new weapon designed for close-quarters combat, though Team Ninja is leaving the specifics a secret for now.

The second Nioh 2 expansion comes not long after The Tengu's Disciple, adding even more of what made Nioh 2 such an improvement on its predecessor/sequel.  Both expansions are available as separate purchases or bundled together as part of Nioh 2's expansion pass.

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Nioh 2 news as it develops.

[Source: PlayStation Blog]

Sony Announces Days of Play 2020 Deals and Discounts Fri, 22 May 2020 12:36:41 -0400 Josh Broadwell

It's almost summer, and that means Sony's Days of Play is back again. While it doesn't seem as if there's a Days of Play PS4 console this year, Days of Play 2020 still offers plenty of deals on games, gear, and PS Plus and PS Now subscriptions.

The U.S. Days of Play deals start June 3 and run through June 17, both at participating retailers and online. Here's some of what you can expect.

Game Sales Price
Nioh 2
MLB The Show 20
Predator: Hunting Grounds
Death Stranding
Days Gone
MediEvil  $19.99
Blood & Truth
Everybody's Golf VR
Astro Bot Rescue Mission
Farpoint $9.99
The Last of Us Remastered
12-month PS Plus subscription  30% off
12-month PS Now subscription  30% off
3-month PS Now subscription  20% off
Select Gold wireless headsets  $69.99
Platinum wireless headset  $129.99


The announcement also says more PlayStation Hits than just The Last of Us Remastered will be on sale, but it doesn't list any yet. The PlayStation Store will also be "offering awesome deals for blockbuster games" and more discounts on PS Plus and PS Now once Days of Play starts on June 3.

The full announcement is on the PlayStation Blog if you're interested. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Days of Play news as it develops.

Nioh 2 Patch 1.09 Kicks Off Season of Nioh 2 Updates Fri, 15 May 2020 15:01:10 -0400 Josh Broadwell

Nioh 2 launched just a few months ago, but Team Ninja is far from done with the bigger, shinier, and better Nioh sequel. Today's Nioh 2 patch 1.09 introduces the first big Nioh 2 update and photo mode, and Team Ninja says there's much more to come over the summer.

Nioh 2 patch 1.09 brings Photo Mode to Nioh 2. There's a ton of customization options here, including gradation, image exposure, filters, and lighting adjustments, not unlike Ghost of Tsushima's photo mode we recently learned about (but you can't pet the yokai in Nioh 2).

The patch also makes nine new quests available, which Team NInja says are Sub-missions and Twilight missions.

And that's just the start. Team Ninja has three Nioh 2 DLC packs described as both "sizable" and "badass" planned. These include things like new yokai, bosses, and Guardian Spirits, new difficulty levels and equipment, and end-game content as well. The first Nioh 2 DLC pack, called "The Tengu's Disciple," is set to release on July 30, and according to Team Ninja, there's even more to it than what we learned today.

The full announcement is on the PlayStation Blog. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more Nioh 2 news as it slices and dices our way, and check out our collection of Nioh 2 guides if you're just getting started or need some tips before the new content drops.

Nioh 2 Review: Embrace Your Inner Demon Mon, 13 Apr 2020 13:25:31 -0400 John Schutt

Nioh 2 is, in many ways, precisely what fans of the original wanted. It's more complex with technically challenging combat and insane boss fights, weapons and skills are more varied, and there are plenty of new ways to build an overpowered character in the endgame. 

Team Ninja has imbued their follow-up to Nioh with new weapons and boss mechanics, an overhauled skill system designed to give players more control over where and how they massacre the game's hordes of demons, and a more robust and interesting story campaign, which leaves behind one of the most generic stories and main characters in modern memory.

There are a few gripes critics of the series are sure to latch onto, of course. The level design is still somewhat uninspired. Boss and enemy variety is lacking in a lot of places, and the need for constant inventory management hasn't gone anywhere.

But Nioh 2 improves on the original in every way that matters.

Nioh 2 Review: Embrace Your Inner Demon

In short, Souls games wish they had combat this good. 

Souls and Souls-like games that aren't Nioh have serviceable combat, sometimes even great combat. None of them come close to what Team Ninja's masterpieces have to offer.

The technical complexity of even one weapon group puts entire games to shame, and with impressive build variety to back it up, no one player will have the same experience as another.

Even if two people create the same character — a shuriken-centric ninjutsu build, for instance — their playstyle and how they approach their skills are likely to be entirely different.

That could be said of two straight sword users in Dark Souls 3, but only to a certain degree. The only differentiating factor to weaponry in a classic Souls game is the character's stats and upgrade level of the sword itself. In Nioh 2, no two weapons are even remotely alike, even within the same class. There are too many perks, abilities, and damage modifiers to count.

Moment to moment combat is also on an entirely different level. Thanks to three separate stances, each with their own movesets and active and passive skills keyed to those stances, players have the freedom to devise unique combo strings and playstyles. You'll spend time learning which weapon best suits how you want to approach the game, and which work best against which enemies.

The game also rewards mastery, both in the player and in the mechanics. The more familiar you grow with a certain weapon or pair of weapons, the more skills you unlock for it, and the more familiar you become with its moves and utility. Even the humble katana demands a lot from the player and incentivizes putting time into learning its ins and outs. 

On their own, the weapons and skills in Nioh 2 would be enough for almost any developer. For this sequel, Team Ninja went even farther, adding in a whole subset of abilities keyed to a mechanic known as "yokai shift." The main character is a half-demon, and as such, has access to demonic powers and skills that up the combat complexity even further.

At its simplest, yokai shift allows the player to parry what Nioh 2 calls a burst attack, a powerful move enemies use when wreathed in a red and black aura. There are three shift types available: Feral, Phantom, and Brute. The parry type is dependant on which type of yokai shift you have equipped, and there is some minor utility unique to each of them. 

The kicker is in the new "Soul Core" mechanic. Each yokai enemy can drop a soul core unique to them, and like the standard weapons, each soul core has unique buffs and benefits you won't find on others. Soul cores also enable players to use yokai abilities at the cost of anima, a new energy bar.

It's a lot, I know, and you'll need to master all of it if you want to make it out alive. Not that you will. 

Nioh 2 is even more unforgiving than its predecessor, and a single mistake will send you back to the shrine, the series's version of the bonfire. Luckily for you, even the safety of the shrine offers plenty to do, and most of it revolves around loot.

A Million and One Weapons

The Nioh series takes more than a few cues from Borderlands in its reward systems. There are (initially) four rarity levels, and the rarer an item, the more abilities and perks it will provide. 

Equipment is similarly subdivided between three separate types: weapons, armor, and accessories. Weapon abilities are primarily damage based, or at least provide benefits that enable you to deal more damage.

There are five armor slots — head, chest, arms, legs, feet — and each of them comes with their selection of possible abilities. Accessories usually come with more passive upgrades, usually geared toward survival or discovery.

You'll spend a good portion of your time out of combat sorting through the torrent of loot the game showers you with, and to be honest, most of it's worthless. 

That's where the Borderlands comparison comes in, for good and for ill. Nioh 2's pacing is usually pretty good, moving you from one arena to the next with just enough time in between to breathe.

If you find yourself inundated with garbage weapons and armor, though, there's a real incentive to get rid of most of it, if only for your sanity. You can do this either at a shrine or at the blacksmith for upgrade materials, experience, or money. The problem comes when you find a piece of gear you like, only to see it buried in a mound of useless trash. 

Nioh 2 is ostensibly a game about fast, satisfying combat. Spending hours managing a menu screen is the last thing you should have to worry about, but because of the loot system, it's an unfortunate necessity. 

Some players enjoy the number-crunchy parts of a game like this, as you can't make some of the most powerful builds without spending a lot of time farming and digging through your inventory. I've no doubt, however, that an equal number are turned off by it.

A Story to Kill For

Nioh wasn't really about the story, even though it uses Japan's Warring States period as a solid, compelling backdrop. The first game suffered greatly from its reliance on a bland main character who, for whatever reason, grew to be a demigod in the course of just a few years.

Nioh 2 puts William on the backburner and puts players in control of a silent protagonist native to the country. Their extraordinary abilities make more sense, too, because they're half-demon, and they have the potential to grow far more than a spirit-guided human. Time flows differently in the sequel as well, as events begin long before Willian ever sets foot on Japanese soil.

Nioh 2 is the story of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, their rise to power and eventual fall from grace. It's also a bit of historical revisionism, as there are plenty of shadowy characters working behind the scenes to influence historical events.

The story itself is relatively straightforward, though many players not familiar with Japanese history will likely be confused as to who is doing what, why, and for what reasons. The "proper noun" problem is present, as the game throws a lot of names, terms, and jargon at players and expects them to just follow along. Add to that a heavy reliance on written journal entries to fill in the gaps, and those attempting to dig into the lore of Nioh 2 will have a lot of reading to do. 

All that said, despite the silent protagonist, I found myself far more invested in the story this time around. The characters are much more nuanced, the events that shape them more understandable, and the situations they find themselves in more relatable.

The themes are easier to understand this time around, as well. Friendship, loyalty, death, and determination despite the odds are core to the storytelling in Nioh 2, as well as the ideas of sacrifice and pride. The question the game ultimately asks is, "What price are you willing to pay for your ideals?" and though it offers no concrete answer, it nonetheless puts players in a position to think about what that question means.

Nioh 2 Review — The Bottom Line


  • An evolution on an already impressive combat system
  • Greatly improved story
  • More build variety and ability to show off your skills as a player
  • Endless loot grind is no different from the first game
  • Enemy and location variety is lacking
  • Flat and uninteresting level design 

Nioh 2 is essentially more Nioh, but better. Fans of the series will find plenty to enjoy here, and newcomers won't feel like they had to play the first game to appreciate what it has to offer.

I was impressed by the improvements to the story and Team Ninja's commitment to maintaining what worked in the first game and building on what didn't. I should mention that the music is as good as it was in the first game, and I know I enjoyed the boss fights more as well, even if some did drive me up the wall.

Enemy and level reuse was a small problem, with inventory management and loot amount returning gremlins, but, for me at least, they weren't dealbreakers. Nioh 2's strength will always be in its combat and how each new encounter tests a player's skill. In that, at least, there is consistency.

[Note: This review is based on a retail copy of Nioh 2 that the reviewer purchased.]

Nioh 2 Best Guardian Spirits Mon, 23 Mar 2020 14:24:55 -0400 Sergey_3847

Guardian Spirits are essential entities in Nioh 2. They can significantly boost the performance of your build if chosen correctly. There are over 20 Guardian Spirits in the game, which you can unlock by completing various missions. This guide will highlight five of the best Guardian Spirits for the early, mid, and late stages of the game, as well as their locations.

In the very beginning, you are able to choose one of the three starter Guardian Spirits, and then you can add or change to other spirits as you unlock them. Obviously, spirits need to correspond to your build. 


Guardian Spirit Ame-no-Mitori

  • Attack: x1.00
  • Defense: x1.05
  • Type: Feral

Ame-no-Mitori is the best of the three starting Guardian Spirits. The other two give you Fire Resistance and Boost Life, but Ame-no-Mitori increases your Ki recovery rate, and that's very important regardless of the build you're using in the early stages of the game.

This Spirit Guide also increases your running speed and divine rice drop rate. But the best effect is the Lightning Damage boost by 20%, which is significant in case you're using the Lightning Build.

The best armor set for this type of build would be Master Archer, which is a part of a Golden Boy set that uses Sozasamonji Matsukurago dual swords and Master Archer's Bow.

If you choose another Guardian Spirit at the start of the game, but still want to find and use Ame-no-Mitori, then you can get it by completing The Point of No Return quest at the end of Act 3 of the main story mission.

Tengen Kujaku

Guardian Spirit Tengen Kujaku

  • Attack: x1.05
  • Defense: x0.97
  • Type: Phantom

Tengen Kujaku is probably the best Guardian Spirit of all non-starting spirits in Nioh 2. It has an incredibly high Anima Bonus damage stat and elemental attack boost. This is by far the most powerful spirit, which will fit almost all attack-based builds.

You can get Tengen Kujaku after killing Oda Nobunaga boss during The Demon King's Blade mission.

The best possible set for this type of build is The Crime of Patricide, which is based on the Genryu armor. This set uses the Udoto sword as its main weapon, which scales with Heart. The set can be obtained by beating Saito Yoshitatsu boss during The Hollow Fortress mission.


Guardian Spirit Usura-Hicho

  • Attack: x0.90
  • Defense: x1.15
  • Type: Phantom

Not interested in offensive builds? Well, your best choice would be Usura-Hicho, a life recovery Guardian Spirit.

Its main power is the Purification effect, which restores your health. It fits the Shrine Maiden's armor the best, which is a part of the Servant of the Gods set. This set can be obtained by completing The Viper's Sanctum mission.

But don't think that this spirit has no offensive power. On the contrary; it has the same Anima Bonus damage, as Tengen Kujaku, and Active Skill Ki Damage, which adds to your total attack power.

You can get the Usura-Hicho spirit by completing The Viper and the Butterfly mission.

Atlas Bear

Guardian Spirit Atlas Bear

  • Attack: x1.15
  • Defense: x0.82
  • Type: Brute

How about combining both the massive attack of Tengen Kujaku and the life recovery effect of Usura-Hicho? The Atlas Bear spirit does exactly that. It has an increased melee damage stat and life drain effect when using grapple. You can get this spirit by completing The Warrior mission.

This Guardian Spirit pairs really well with the massive Sohaya armor, which is part of the Yokai Annihilator set. The only way to get this armor is to farm Sohaya Ninja enemies that spawn near the cave at the shrine. You will need a lot of Luck to be able to get the smithing text.


Guardian Spirit Itokuri

  • Attack: x1.02
  • Defense: x1.00
  • Type: Feral

The endgame is probably the easiest part of Nioh 2, as you have everything you need except a few rare items. This means that the best endgame Guardian Spirit is Itokuri.

It will help you farm for those unique items that you couldn't get before due to its Luck +40 effect and increased item drop rate. This combo will definitely allow you to get everything that you need for new game plus of Nioh 2.

As for other bonuses and effects, Itokuri offers Anima Charge bonus and Paralysis Accumulation effect. Both are very useful even in the latter stages of the game.

Itokuri can be obtained by beating Matsunaga Hisahide boss during the Master of the Three Evils mission.


These are the best Guardian Spirits in Nioh 2. For more Nioh 2 guides, check out the list below:

Nioh 2 Best Weapons Tier List Mon, 23 Mar 2020 13:40:03 -0400 Sergey_3847

There are a lot of great weapons in Nioh 2. But of course, the best weapon is the one that fits your personal build the best. However, it's entirely possible to highlight a number of weapons objectively better than the rest. 

Each weapon in the list below offers a unique feature that you may not find in any other weapon in the game, and that's why they're so valuable. We also provide you with the locations of the smithing texts and recipes for each weapon, so you can easily track them down and add them to your build

Tier-S Weapons

Seething Dragon

Seething Dragon

Seething Dragon is a great mid-range weapon that is far more special than you might think. It's the only weapon in the game that has a fixed faster Ki recovery bonus, and one of the few that has Imbue Corruption.

The smithing text for crafting this switchglaive can be found as a drop from two bosses:

  • Saito Yoshitatsu (The Point of No Return mission)
  • Imagawa Yoshimoto (Imagawa Diehard mission)

Seething Dragon also scales with Onmyo Magic skills. Here are the recommended ones for this weapon:

  • Barrier Talisman
  • Thunderstorm Shot Talisman
  • Incantation Mastery
  • Whirling Blade
Firefly Blade

Firefly Blade

Firefly Blade, a Japanese Odachi greatsword, can be an excellent alternative to scythes and switchglaives. It has the same reach, but the damage output is higher. The only downside is that you can't use magic skills like in the case of  Seething Dragon.

The distinct feature of the Firefly Blade is its Amrita Absorption ability, which recovers your health. Combine it with Yoshiie's Birthright gear, and you will be practically ubeatable.

You can craft this weapon using the following recipe:

  • 1x Tamahagane
  • 1x Lacquer
  • 1x Spirit Stone Arm
  • 1x Kappa Shell

Tier-A Weapons

Earthfall Kusarigama

Earthfall Kusarigama

The speed and range of the Earthfall Kusarigama is perfect for Dexterity builds. Its main effect is Imbue Purity, which inflicts extra Ki damage to your enemies depending on the level of their Purity resistance.

Since Earthfall Kusarigama is compatible with Ninjutsu, and Dexterity scaling performs exceptionally well for Ninjutsu in Nioh 2, it makes this weapon the best Dexterity weapon in the game as of now.

This Kusarigama can be crafted using the following recipe:

  • 2x Ingot
  • 2x Leather Cord
  • 2x Kappa Shell
  • 1x Petrified Eye
Barbarian's Hatchets

Barbarian's Hatchets

Although this incredibly fast pair of hatchets can deal a lot of damage when thrown, its main selling point is the unique and undeniably useful increased item drop rate effect.

If you're looking to not only kill your enemies but also make sure that they drop good loot, then Barbarian's Hatchets would be the best choice in that case.

These hatchets can be crafted with the help of this recipe:

  • 3x Leather Cord
  • 3x Wood
  • 1x Poison Pearl
  • 1x Bladed Horn
White Bone Spirit Tonfa

White Bone Spirit Tonfa

If you're looking to enter the dark realm of Yokai spirits, then this would be the best weapon choice. White Bone Spirit Tonfa has increased damage against Yokai enemies.

Obviously, this is a highly specialized weapon, which you can only use against one type of enemy. But there is no better weapon if you want to unlock Yokai skills and weapons.

A smithing text for White Bone Spirit Tonfa is dropped by Imagawa Yoshimoto boss during The Hidden Monsters of Okehazama mission.

Tier-B Weapons

Onimaru Kunitsuna

Onimaru Kunitsuna

All new players should start with simple swords. Onimaru Kunitsuna is one of the five great swords in Nioh 2, which has an increased attack effect when consuming Amrita.

This is an excellent weapon with a great balance of stats. You can obtain it by completing one of The Way of the Ninja missions beginning from the Adept stage or higher, which becomes available after you reach Level 27.

Little Crow / Quickdraw

Little Crow Quickdraw

Skill and maneuverability are the two main effects of this dual sword weapon. If you've started with a normal sword, and want to switch to something more sophisticated, then Little Crow & Quickdraw is a great choice.

This amazing pair of swords can be crafted using the following recipe:

  • 5x Tamahagane
  • 1x Wood
  • 1x Lacquer
  • 1x Karasu Tengu Feather
Mataza's Long Spear

Mataza's Long Spear

Usually, spear is a safe choice due to its range, which can keep you at a distance while you're poking your enemies to death. Mataza's Long Spear is unique in this regard, as it has increased thrust damage, which can be found in only three other weapons.

The extra thrust damage can really hurt your opponents, and at the same time, it keep you at a safe distance from their own attacks.

The smithing text for Mataza's Long Spear can be found as a drop from the Maeda Toshiie boss during the Mataza of the Spear mission.


These were the best weapons in Nioh 2. For more related guides, check out our growing hub page.

How to Reset Skills and Respec in Nioh 2 Thu, 19 Mar 2020 13:24:57 -0400 Sergey_3847

Building your character in Nioh 2 may not always go the way you envision it. Maybe the build you've targeted hasn't performed as well as you'd expect. In that case, you might want to change things. This guide will show you how to reset skills and respec your character in Nioh 2.

Resetting skills and respeccing is available quite early in the game, and all you need to do is find a single item. 

Step 1: Unlock Book of Reincarnation

The Book of Reincarnation is your holy grail if you're looking to reset your skills. You can get this item in several ways. 

The simplest way of unlocking the Book of Reincarnation is to buy it from a blacksmith, which becomes available after you complete your first couple of missions in Nioh 2.

The cost of your first Book of Reincarnation is 10,000 gold. If you want to buy a second one for your next respec, then it will cost you 30,000 gold. So make sure that you're using it wisely.

The book can also be unlocked after completing The Point of No Return mission or by purchasing it at the Hidden Teahouse for Glory (clan rank points).

But these two methods come in handy only in the later parts of the game, so opt for the blacksmith instead.

Step 2: Reset Your Skills and Respec

When you obtain the Book of Reincarnation, this is how you use it:

  1. Go to the starting point on the map.
  2. Choose Hut.
  3. Select Store House.
  4. Open your inventory.
  5. Select the Book of Reincarnation.

Once used, your skills will fully reset, and you can redistribute all your Amrita once again at the Shrine.


That's how you can reset your skills and respec your character in Nioh 2. Be sure to come back soon for more related guides at GameSkinny.

Take Another Swing at PS4's Nioh 2 Ahead of Release Thu, 13 Feb 2020 13:48:48 -0500 GS_Staff

For fans hoping to get another chance at Nioh 2 before the action RPG's March 13 release, Sony and Team Ninja are offering a last-chance trial demo that doesn't require PlayStation Plus. 

The demo is available from Friday, February 28 at 12:00 a.m. PST to Sunday, March 1 at 11:59 p.m. PST. The demo focuses on character creation, Yokai, and the game's "deadly" Switchglaive. 

Players will be able to experience three of the game's missions, though it's not clear where these missions fall in Nioh 2's timeline. It is also not clear how long each mission or the demo is. And though progress will not carry over into the final game, characters created in the last-chance trial will transfer to Nioh 2

With this final demo, yokai abilities, yokai summoning, ki management, the Dark Realm, and Nioh 2's weapons and stances will be on full display. Players will get another chance to test their mettle against fierce foes with a variety of weapons. 

Though it's gone through some changes since its beta in November, you can see our initial reactions to Nioh 2 here. Without getting our hands on the final product, we said that "Nioh 2 is a game that speaks to Souls fans. It pairs technical combat and tons of loot with genre-accurate difficulty and a change of scenery. That alone makes it worth checking out."

Currently, Nioh 2 is a PlayStation 4 exclusive. There is no official word if the game will release on the PC as its predecessor did. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more on Nioh 2 as it slices through hordes of deadly yokai. 

Nioh 2 Unveils Three-Player Co-Op, Customizable Yokai Wed, 29 Jan 2020 14:19:26 -0500 Yaneki

During a recent Japanese Devstream, Team Ninja revealed some new details about Nioh 2, including three-player co-op and customizable Yokai. Importantly, co-op will be available for the entire game. 

In Nioh, players could summon a friend or random to fight boss battles or as an extra blade in between. However, co-op was restricted to two players for a vast majority of its run. The game only allowed players to summon an additional ally once they had attempted the game's Abyss Mode.

Nioh 2 will instead allow players to play the full game with up to two other friends, but it will add more and more enemies to each map should players choose to summon them, ramping up the difficulty in the process. Players also won't have to worry about fighting over loot drops, as each drop is a personalized instance for each player.

Adding to this, Team Ninja also revealed that avatar customization in Nioh 2 will extend beyond just the player's base character. Players will be able to customize their beastly forms in Yokai Shift mode, adjusting horns, accessories, masks, and more to hone in whatever demonic look they prefer.

As of now, the Nioh 2 is set to release as a Playstation 4 exclusive on March 13. The newly unveiled features shown here are sure to add to the already impressive amount of hype from Nioh loyalists and fans. For aficionados of games like Dark Souls — or especially Sekiro  who may have slept on Nioh's release, now's a good time to check it out.

Stay tuned for more on Nioh 2 as it develops. 

Nioh 2 Story Trailer Shows Off Samurai, Yokai, and Mythic Spirits Fri, 24 Jan 2020 18:23:51 -0500 GS_Staff

Team Ninja recently revealed a brand new story trailer for Nioh 2, the studio's upcoming action RPG. Set 45 years prior to the original Nioh, this prequel doesn't shy away from what made its predecessor great. Some of Nioh's greatest strengths are on display in the trailer seen above. 

Set in 1555 Japan, during the Warring States epoch, Nioh 2 is still all about samurai, yokai, and mythic spirits. Instead of playing as Irishman William Adams this time around, players find themselves in the geta of "a rogue mercenary hunting down yokai in the Mino Province." His name is Hideyoshi, and he is half-man, half-yokai.

As the story trailer shows, Hideyoshi's primary mission is to protect "powerful Spirit Stones" while, of course, fighting off various malefactors and villains. From the looks of it, Nioh's tough-as-nails battles and big boss fights are back.

Speaking of the story trailer on the PlayStation Blog, Tom Lee, Creative Director Team Ninja said: 

I’m very proud of the work that our production team has put into this trailer and genuinely excited for you guys to check this out as it gives you a glimpse into some of the characters and backstory for our upcoming game.

Lee also revealed information about Nioh 2's post-launch DLC and a Season Pass. There are currently "three major DLC releases planned," according to Lee. These DLC packs will be prequels to Nioh 2, presumably fleshing out different characters and events from the game. 

The DLC expansions will also include "new weapons, new combat abilities and new characters, with each DLC incorporating both multiple main and sub-missions." The Season Pass is part of Nioh 2's digital deluxe edition, and it contains all of the planned DLCs. 

Nioh 2 is set to release on March 13 for the PlayStation 4. We got the chance to play the Nioh 2 beta back in November. We came away pleasantly optimistic for the game

Elden Ring, Cyberpunk 2077 Highlight Sony's Taipei Game Show Lineup Mon, 06 Jan 2020 16:58:02 -0500 GS_Staff

With the Taipei Game Show quickly approaching on February 6, Sony has unveiled the games we can expect to see at the convention in some form or another. The current list of 23 games includes titles such as Elden Ring, Cyberpunk 2077, The Last of Us 2, and Final Fantasy 7 Remake

Though we've certainly seen plenty of the latter three titles over the past several months, this will be the first time we've seen or heard anything about From Software's Elden Ring since it was first announced at E3 2019. Unfortunately, we haven't received any trailers or screenshots in that time, though there is an unconfirmed rumor circulating that Elden Ring will release in June 2020. 

Reportedly, Sony will also show off Yakuza: Like a Dragon, which recently received new information and a batch of new screenshots. The full list of games making an appearance at the Taipei Game Show can be seen below. Sony may add or subtract from the list at any time leading up to the show. 

  • 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim 
  • Cyberpunk 2077
  • Elden Ring 
  • Fairy Tail
  • Final Fantasy 7 Remake 
  • Granblue Fantasy Versus 
  • Gleamlight 
  • Gungrave G.o.r.e.
  • Marvel’s Avengers 
  • Marvel’s Iron Man VR   
  • NBA 2K20  
  • Nioh 2 
  • One Piece: Pirate Warriors 4 
  • Persona 5 Royal 
  • Resident Evil Resistance  
  • Sword Art Online Alicization Lycoris 
  • Tales of Arise 
  • The Last of Us 2  
  • Trials of Mana 
  • Way of the Samurai Gaiden Katanakami 
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon 
  • Yo-Kai Watch 4++ 
  • Ys IX 

The Taipei Game Show 2020 runs from February 6 to February 9. It will be held at the Nangang Exhibition Center, in Taipei, Taiwan. The convention is one of the largest gaming expos in Asia, seeing some 320,000 visitors in 2019. 

Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news on Elden Ring, as well as all of the games on Sony's Taipei Game Show list, including Yakuza: Like a Dragon, Cyberpunk 2077, The Last of Us 2, and the Final Fantasy 7 Remake

The Most Anticipated Upcoming RPGs of 2020 Tue, 17 Dec 2019 09:00:02 -0500 Calen Nakash


Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition


Publisher: Monolith Soft
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: TBA 2020


Xenoblade Chronicles was one of, if not the largest, JRPG from the Wii era. The game has quite possibly one of the strongest written and voiced stories in gaming, with twists and turns that keep coming throughout a massive, 100-hour playthrough.


The gameplay is quick and strategic and most importantly, the title is being entirely remastered with updated visuals. Xenoblade Chronicles X and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 followed this masterpiece of storytelling, but neither quite scratched the itch left by the first game. If you're a fan of JRPGs, this is THE JRPG to look out for in 2020.




Whether you're new to RPGs or a seasoned veteran, 2020 looks to be the year to double, triple, or quadruple dip on these new titles. It's likely that more RPGs will be announced in 2020, and with indie games being rereleased every month, this list is certainly not all-encompassing, but we hope it will get you started. 


For more on the hot games coming out in 2020, check out the lists below: 


Cyberpunk 2077


Publisher: CD Projekt Red
Platform: Stadia, Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: April 16, 2020


Cyberpunk 2077 is the next ambitious leap for CD Projekt Red since The Witcher 3. As one of the few developers with a proven track record of good consumer practices (no loot boxes), and the one responsible for making DLC longer than most games for a fraction of the price, CD Projekt Red will bring players into the future where crime, glamor, and cybernetic implants reign supreme.


The Witcher 3 featured a huge, fleshed out story where every decision mattered, and Cyberpunk 2077 looks to carry on that tradition. There's a reason Cyberpunk 2077 is already a household name, and when this RPG launches in 2020, it might be a good idea to call in sick to work for at least a week.


Dying Light 2


Publisher: Techland
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: TBA 2020


Dying Light 2 is a survival horror ARPG. Much like its predecessor, Dying Light 2 this brings parkour and superhuman skills into the mix with a main character living 15 years after the events of the first game.


Dying Light 2 will lock off some sections of the city depending on player choices, encouraging multiple playthroughs for those who want to see everything. The game is no standard, cookie cutter zombie RPG, however, as at least one writer from The Witcher 3 writing team is working on Dying Light 2.


Players will probably remember Karolina Stachyra from the Bloody Baron questline in The Witcher 3, which turned out to be one of the most impactful, gut wrenching "sometimes there isn't a happy ending" moments in all of media.

Look for Dying Light 2 sometime in 2020.


Tales of Arise


Publisher: Bandai Namco
Platform: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: TBA 2020


The Tales games have been around since Tales of Phantasia in 1995. The series gained notoriety with Tales of Symphonia on the Gamecube, and Tales of Arise will be nearing the series' 20th entry when it launches in 2020.


The game will feature a complete graphical overhaul, but the same tried-and-tested combat. Combat in Tales games places characters on a straight path towards their enemy, allowing them to use the directional buttons for combos like in a fighting game.


It takes a bit to get used to, but one only needs to check YouTube's Tales combo videos, such as those for Tales of Berseria, to see the flashy results.


Considering the history of the series, it might be best to grab a hold of Tales of Vesperia, which is available now and serves as a strong entry featuring the best protagonist according to many in the community. Look for Tales of Arise when it releases sometime in 2020.


Nioh 2


Publisher: Team Ninja
Platform: PS4
Release Date: March 13, 2020


Nioh is basically Dark Souls with samurai, and the prequel title aims to do the same as its predecessor while improving on the formula. This ARPG reportedly has better skill trees, improved weapons, and a Switchglaive, which transforms as players attack and has a slower, more methodical take on the frenzied combat surrounding Nioh 2.


We've reported on the demo before, and it seems that if you're skilled at the first game, those skills will transfer beautifully to Nioh 2. The enemies will still put you through the wringer if you make a single mistake, as most Souls games will.


For those unfamiliar with Souls games, getting through an 80-hour playthrough of Nioh 2 when it releases in March of 2020 will be an accomplishment in itself.


Persona 5: Royal


Publisher: Atlus
Platform: PS4
Release Date: March 31, 2020


Persona 5 brought the persona series into the mainstream, but it's had a long history before that. Persona 3 dealt with the topic of death and exams, and Persona 4 put players in the middle of a murder investigation where the culprit had a habit of dropping victims into another world and leaving them to die.


When Persona 4 Golden was released on the PS Vita, it beefed up the story and threw in a ton more sidequests, content, and a brand new character to bring players back to its colorful world. Persona 5: Royal will do the same and feature even more content than The Golden, which is impressive given Persona 5's 100-hour main story.


Look forward to rejoining the Phantom Thieves with all DLC from the original game and more goodies included when this title launches in March of 2020.


The Yakuza Remastered Collection


Developer: Amusement Vision
Platform: PS4
Release Date: February 11, 2020


Playing the Yakuza series is like drinking a fine wine, served by a clown. The tone whiplash works to the game's benefit as players can go from tracking down a mob-boss with voice acting so genuine and gritty they pop off the screen to giving a shy dominatrix advice and playing with toy cars.


Every character sounds straight out of a Japanese mobster movie, every plot thread is realized to its fullest, and the beat-em-up combat definitely gets the job done.


The basic premise has always been to tell a plucky story about the Yakuza while peppering in various minigames across the world. And somehow, against all odds, it works masterfully. The physical Yakuza Remastered Collection will release on February 11, 2020, with remastered versions of Yakuza 3, Yakuza 4, and Yakuza 5


This one's a bit of a cheat because buying the digital version of the collection gives you access to Yakuza 3 and Yakuza 4 now, with Yakuza 5 dropping on February 11. But any hardcore series fan is picking up the physical collection. 


If you're unsure if you'll enjoy the collection, Yakuza 0, which acts as an introduction to the series, is available for around $20. 


Final Fantasy 7 Remake


Developer: Square Enix
Platform: PS4
Release Date: March 3, 2020

It's no surprise that the remake of Final Fantasy 7 is on this list. The title has been in development for a long time. As the original Final Fantasy 7 was a huge entry boasting a grandiose world spanning multiple discs, Square decided to release multiple games for the remake, the first of which will focus on Midgar.


Midgar serves as the opening tutorial in the original PS1 title, but focusing on recreating the sprawling metropolis should allow Square Enix to expand the section and bring the city to life while highlighting the decisions Cloud and his colleagues struggle with before they set out into the world.


Some might miss the turn-based strategy of old as the remake has opted for a more action-oriented approach, but it's still garnered high praise from those who've played it. You can look forward to this title in March 3, 2020.


The new year is bringing with it some of the greatest RPGs to date. From remastered cult classics to Dark Souls-inspired samurai sequels, 2020 is looking to be a bad year for wallets, but a great year for everything else. Whether you've got a PS4, PC, Xbox One, or Switch, there's a little here in the gift basket for everyone. There's even a title coming to Stadia. 


Here are eight upcoming RPGs you should be excited for, with an honorable mention to Dragon Ball Z Kakarot, which will feature a brand new open-world in the Dragon Ball universe.


For all your other needs, keep reading.

Nioh 2 Beta Impressions: Back to the Past, Better Than Ever Tue, 05 Nov 2019 11:07:55 -0500 John Schutt

The concept behind the Nioh franchise isn't one that should work as well as it does. Take Souls difficulty and marry it to a deep, technical combat system, then set it in Feudal Japan and fill it with Diablo-style loot. That's Nioh in a nutshell.

Despite all conception to the contrary, it works like a dream. Thankfully, Nioh 2 takes the original game's dream-like formula and perfects it. Based on my time with the beta, I can see this being the definitive edition of an already stellar outing by Team Ninja.

Nioh 2 Beta Impressions: Weapons, Combat, and General Gameplay

Nioh 2 boasts every weapon from the first game and its DLCs and even goes so far as to add a couple of new ones. I wish I could have tried them all in the short time I've had with the beta, but I can say that any worries about combat depth and variety can be put to bed. 

The combo system from the original Nioh is back in full force, and if you mastered a weapon in that game, many of those skills will transfer to the sequel without much trouble. 

Players will find all their favorites back in all their glory. The single and dual katanas remain the game's bread and butter weapons. The kusarigama is still as technically challenging and rewarding as it ever was. Newer additions like the tonfa and odachi are back. But for me, the star of the show is the Nioh 2 switchblade.

Essentially a Bloodborne-style trick weapon, the switchglaive transforms as you move between low, medium, and high stance, going from a bladed club to a spear to a full-on scythe with the click of a button. It's a slower weapon and mechanically challenging enough that few will truly get a feel for it in the beta. That said, I think those who dedicate the time are bound to find something to love.

Combat itself is as fast and chaotic as Nioh players will remember, with plenty of iterations on old formulas as well. For one thing, rather than imbuing your weapon with a Guardian Spirit like the first title, your character takes on a yokai-human hybrid form, complete with new attacks, combos, and special abilities.

Using Yokai Shift, as it's called, would have added more than enough variety to the game, but Nioh 2 goes even further. You can now pick up souls of dead yokai and add them as modifiers to your armor. This new mechanic — called Imbue Soul Core — grants you a limited number of additional equipment perks. More importantly, every bonded yokai soul core gives you a special yokai attack based on the creature you pulled the core from. All of this drains a new energy bar called Anima.

I would say it stops there, but it doesn't. There's a whole new type of counter-state as well. Enemies will now telegraph their windup attacks with a red aura, and with a properly timed combo breaker, you'll be able to do significant damage with moderate risk to yourself.

The Yokai realm got an overhaul, too. Now there are entire areas of a map that exist in a separate dimension. In this dimension, your stamina regeneration is significantly reduced, making the Ki Pulse ability more valuable than ever. Killing the miniboss yokai who rule these pocket dimensions cleanses them of taint, bringing back both their color and your stamina recovery.

On top of all that, skill trees get a complete overhaul, with old favorites and new additions making their returns. I can confirm that Onmyo magic is still broke as hell, and while I didn't spend as long with ninjutsu, I can say that it's probably just as good.

One interesting change to the progression system is how you advance Nioh 2's more specialized skills. Magic, samurai, and ninjutsu skills now only progress through usage, so you won't have easy access to any of them right away. Until you find Onmyo magic items in the wild, I don't think there's a way to advance that tree at all.

That's good from an early game standpoint, but once you have a few talismans to use, you can grind your way into every magic ability known to Japan. The only thing keeping you from tearing through the entire game at that point is the capacity system, which limits how much of an ability you can equip at once. 

So far, that's quite a few notable changes, which begs the question: is it still Nioh? Oh, yes.

Nothing about the core gameplay has changed. You will still be showered in mostly worthless loot. You will again slaughter your way through small armies of 14th-Century samurai, ninjas, and uncountable demons. And you will still do it looking as serious — or silly — as you please. Add a custom player character and one of the most robust character creators since Code Vein, and there will be seriousness and silliness in spades.

Just as it should be.

Nioh 2 Beta Impressions: World Design, Enemies, and Bosses 

One of the chief complaints haunting Nioh was how the game's worlds were flat. They gave little lip service to the twisting, turning levels present in the Souls games that inspired Nioh.

Seemingly, that hasn't changed too much in Nioh 2.

Verticality is more present in Nioh 2 than it was in the first game, but without any new ways to traverse the world, there's only so much a few ladders and hill pathways can do.

Shortcuts are more frequent and more creatively laid out, which is a welcome change, and I liked the forest environment as a nice change of pace from the constant nighttime settings from the first game. There was a nighttime level in the beta, of course, coupled nicely with the obligatory poison cave, but the sweeping change of scenery was a nice change of pace. 

I can't say the new enemy types in the beta are all that nice, however. All of them are horror-terrors with fast attacks, high damage, and Nioh-brand close-quarters fighting. Most have seemingly been conceived under the design moniker of "let's-put-this-enemy-and-his-friends-in-an-arena-that's-way-too-small."

But saying it that way sounds a tad cynical. So let me say it another way: I love every one of them. 

They're everything I could ask for in a Souls-like enemy. Tough to learn, punishing to the smallest mistakes, and generally freaky looking. I can't wait to see what other terrible things I'll get to take down come full release.

The bosses give me the same feeling. Between the two, I prefer the one that's a bit more catty, if only because it's a cat and I'm a cat person. Though, I do find myself at a distinct disadvantage mobility-wise, as bosses can and will cross the entire arena in seconds only to flee once again when I get close. It's a frustrating balance to strike between caution and aggression, one that needs tuning in any Souls-like. 

I hope Team Ninja can nail it more than miss the mark.

Beta Verdict

Short version: I'm picking up Nioh 2. Even on my launch PS4, it runs well enough, and while I want it on PC for the frames and textures, I won't complain either way.

So far, Nioh 2 is a game that speaks to Souls fans. It pairs technical combat and tons of loot with genre-accurate difficulty and a change of scenery. That alone makes it worth checking out. 

I put too much time into Nioh, and I look forward to doing it all again with Nioh 2.

Nioh 2 Closed Alpha Starting This Week, New Trailer Released Wed, 22 May 2019 14:41:12 -0400 Ashley Shankle

Since its 2018 reveal trailer, Nioh 2 has been at the back of the minds of fans hungry for more of Koei Tecmo and Team Ninja's Sengoku-era action game.

Nioh 2 hasn't seen many announcements since its reveal last year, but there's a big one today: The game is seeing a closed alpha starting on May 24. It will last until June 2.

Details are currently scarce. Team Ninja announced on Twitter earlier today that the Nioh 2 closed alpha will be available to some PlayStation 4 users, though what the criteria may be for someone to be invited to the closed alpha is currently unknown.

A trailer was released along with this announcement, which you can check out in the header above.

An easy assumption is that some Nioh owners will be allowed into the alpha, but there is no confirmation at this time.

Some Nioh fans had hoped Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice would be in the same vein but found the two to have completely different gameplay styles despite the similar period setting.

Considering the original game's public beta phases and this alpha announcement, Nioh 2 may be subject to the same sort of pre-release testing as its predecessor. Don't be too bummed out if you don't get into this short alpha, your time to test may not be that far in the future.