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Nioh 2 - What We Know So Far

Ever since From Software sparked the Soulsborne trend, all sorts of games inspired by Dark Souls have appeared. One of the better ones from 2017, Nioh, has a sequel in the works — well, sort of. It's actually a prequel, in terms of story. Nonetheless, Nioh 2 is just around the corner.


If you're looking for a challenging action RPG that doesn't pull its punches (or sword swings), keep an eye out for Nioh 2. Much like the first game, you'll play as a samurai who has to vanquish evil enemies that take the form of humans and demons alike. Koei Tecmo initially revealed the game at E3 2018 with a pretty slick cinematic trailer, followed by an open beta in November 2019.

But what's the low down on Nioh 2? When does it come out, and what should you expect from it? Well, we've got you covered. Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming hard-as-nails action RPG.

What is the release date for Nioh 2?

At the end of October 2019, Team Ninja producer Fumihiko Yasuda shared some details on the PlayStation Blog regarding Nioh 2. He opened the post by revealing the game will launch on March 13, 2020. Barring any last-minute delays, you won't have to wait long to fulfill your virtual samurai warrior dreams.


March will be a pretty competitive month for Nioh 2. While the hotly anticipated Final Fantasy 7 Remake and Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines 2 were delayed until later in 2020, Nioh 2 will still have to contend with both Animal Crossing: New Horizons and Doom Eternal on March 20, making for a cute and gory double feature. 

Yasuda's announcement came mere days before the game's open beta, which allowed PlayStation 4 owners to test out Nioh 2 from Nov. 1-10. These players got a peek at some of the game's newest features, including the character customization system and the new Switchglaive weapon.

What is the story in Nioh 2 about?

While the first game explored the story of the white-haired foreigner named William, Nioh 2 takes place earlier and makes things a little more personal. This time, you create your own human-yokai hybrid character. The events of the game take place during 1555, and are (partially) rooted in history.


According to an official banner on display during 2019's Tokyo Game Show, your character is a yokai hunter in the Mino Province. One day, after besting a terrifyingly powerful yokai, your character starts turning into one. A wandering salesman named Tokichiro calms your character down, and together they roam around Japan during the Sengoku period.

Further reporting from Game Informer offered an inside scoop on what your character and Tokichiro represent. Together, you two make up the historical figure Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who reunited Japan under one banner, ending the Sengoku era. In Nioh 2's interpretation, however, Hideyoshi was actually two people: a salesman and a yokai-samurai warrior.


The story, of course, will have lots of dark, supernatural elements that deviate from the real-world, so it should be an interesting take on one of the biggest moments in Japanese history.

Is there a trailer for Nioh 2?

PlayStation released a Story Trailer for Nioh 2 on Jan. 23, 2020, offering a look at the enemies and characters you'll encounter on your journey. The cast throws some serious shade at the protagonist due to their "half-breed" status, with many of the scenes focusing on the pursuit of the "Spirit Stones," which appear to be the game's MacGuffin.


The previous trailer launched as part of the Nioh 2 release date reveal. It features a multitude of high-octane action shots, showcasing the visceral combat the first Nioh was known for. You see the protagonist use an array of weapons throughout the trailer, including odachis, dual swords, and spears. Partway through, the main character transforms into a yokai, which is a Japanese word that embodies supernatural monsters and demons. This transformation gives you many more options in combat, opening up the skill ceiling for high-end gameplay.

Before that trailer, Koei Tecmo released one during the 2019 Tokyo Game Show. This one shines more of a spotlight on the story, featuring a few cutscenes that include some important characters. Of course, you'll have to sit through a nearly minute-long highlight reel of all the terrifying, demonic bosses that Nioh 2 has in store for you.


What platforms will Nioh 2 be on?

When Nioh 2 launches in March 2020, you can expect to play it on PlayStation 4 exclusively. This shouldn't come as a huge surprise, as it's following in the footsteps of its predecessor, which also came out only on the PS4. However, there's a bit of hope on the horizon for other platforms.


Within a year of its PlayStation 4 release, Nioh: Complete Edition also launched on PC. That means PC players not only got the game but also all of its expansions. As an added bonus, Team Ninja threw in an exclusive helmet modeled after the Valve logo.

If Nioh 2 continues to shadow its predecessor, you could also see a PC release before 2020 wraps up. For Xbox One owners, however, the possibility isn't looking all that likely. Down the line, there's always a chance Nioh 2 could be ported to next-gen consoles. Even if that happens, you likely won't hear about it any time soon.

What is the combat like in Nioh 2?

Nioh 2 is shaping up to have a pretty complex battle system. Every melee weapon type from Nioh will make a return along with some new ones, bringing the total count up to nine types. That means you'll find nine different skill sets and combos to work with.


On top of that, Team Ninja gives you three stances to cycle through: high, mid, and low. You can switch your stance between attacks, which you might want to do often depending on your strategy. Generally speaking, high stance gives you stronger attacks but low defense. Low stance emphasizes speed and defense, but your attacks won't do too much damage. Mid, as you might expect, finds a middle ground between the two.

If you ever need a boost during a fight, you can trigger your yokai transformation after building up enough resources. This increases your damage output, gives you new abilities, and turns you into a demonically intimidating monster, but it only lasts for a short time.

Will Nioh 2 have co-op?

Nioh 2 is giving fans the gameplay they've come to expect from the first title, but with vast improvements. Where the first Nioh had a co-op mode, Nioh 2 will have a proper multiplayer that allows up to three people to game together.


Beyond fighting alongside your friends in multiplayer mode, you can create a Benevolent Grave containing a copy of your character. These faux NPCs will assist players and allow them to access soul energy to utilize supernatural powers. To take advantage of this mechanic, you'll need to gather Righteous Jasper, a usable item rewarded for completing certain missions. You can also occasionally find it as an in-game treasure drop.

Can you customize your character in Nioh 2?

In Nioh 2, gamers will play as protagonist Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who is half-human and half-yokai. This mixing of species will increase the level of customization players are able to utilize. Everything from age to height and unique facial features are available to players to tailor to their own desires. You can also choose your character's gender, an important but often missing feature for many gamers.


Back in November 2019, Team Ninja hosted a contest where players could create their own characters. Three male and three female designs were chosen as winners, with their designs made available in the game as presets. The winners also got their names in the credits of the game. If that doesn't speak to the pride Team Ninja is taking in its character creation A.I., we don't know what does.

Does Nioh 2 have pre-order bonuses and special editions?

Die-hard fans of Nioh can breathe easy knowing that not only is there a special edition available for Nioh 2, but there are several pre-order perks as well. Nioh 2 has given players a number of different options for pre-ordering the game, and each one comes with its own unique set of bonuses for your loyalty.


Pre-ordering the Standard edition (both digital and physical) will give the player access to a PSN avatar, a PS4 theme, a special armor set, and the Sudama Netsuke charm. 

The Digital Deluxe Edition gives you all of the perks that come with pre-ordering the Standard Edition, along with the Season Pass, a unique weapon set, and the Kodama Netsuke charm. 

The Special Edition, which is only available in physical form, will give you everything from the previous two editions along with an art book and a SteelBook case.

The skill trees are insane

Those who played the first Nioh game will find some familiar elements in the new skill trees. The trees as a whole have been overhauled to include a ton of new weapon-specific options. With all the new combat choices in Nioh 2, it makes sense the skill trees would have to grow significantly. The final product looks complex enough to intimidate even the most skilled gamers. Luckily, there are several overviews and guides for players to reference when deciding which path they'd like to pursue


There will be several different categories for skills in the new skill trees. Active skills are abilities that players intentionally execute to aid them in combat while passive skills are benefits they receive simply for investing their points in that category. Other skill types include Mystic skills, which allow players to upgrade certain skills when they're unlocked, and Jutsu skills, which are geared more towards magical abilities.

Only 5% of players could finish the demo

The opportunity to test a game before its release is one of the major perks of attending gaming shows and conventions. Those who attended the 2019 Tokyo Game Show had that opportunity when a demo for Nioh 2 was made available. The feedback developers received about the demo was generally positive and helped shape what the final product looks like today, but there was another interesting detail that came to light after the event.


3,500 people played the Nioh 2 demo in Tokyo, but of those 3,500 only 175 people actually finished it. A meager 5% of players were able to beat the demo. Fans have come to expect challenging games from Team Ninja, but this level of difficulty seems almost cruel. 

Luckily, after feedback from the Tokyo Game Show and the open beta, the developers fine-tuned the game. Whether these changes have produced an easier experience remains up for debate, as the creators continue to market Nioh 2 as incredibly difficult. Hopefully, the feedback at least resulted in a more balanced game. Only time will tell.

Nioh 2 will put your problem-solving to the test

Difficulty settings have spawned a debate in the gaming community. Some feel easier modes remove the prestige of completing what would normally be considered a difficult title. Others feel it makes games more enjoyable when you can adjust them to your skill level. Whatever your feelings on the topic, Nioh 2 will not give you the option to choose how you play.


Feedback from the Nioh 2 demo presented at the 2019 Tokyo Game Show painted a clear picture: Nioh 2 is not an easy game. In fact, the challenging nature of the title has been on Team Ninja head Yosuke Hayashi's mind as the release date nears."We wanted to provide players with a higher level of satisfaction — that was our priority," said Hayashi

The developers have taken feedback regarding the combat in Nioh 2's betas to heart. "It was almost too difficult, and demoralising," Hayashi told Eurogamer. "So we adjusted the difficulty based on that – if you make a move that's high risk and high return, if you die it should feel like it's your fault. It should feel right when you die." 

For players who find Hayahsi's words a bit disheartening, never fear. Though the challenges in Nioh 2 will be difficult, you'll have multiple ways to approach them. Players will be able to assess a situation and find a solution that best suits their style. So, even though the difficulty will be there, you can get creative with your problem-solving methods.


Fan feedback has led to horrifying enemies

Betas and demos have given players ample opportunity to try out Nioh 2 and provide feedback and Team Ninja has made good on its word to listen to fans. After receiving reports that the monsters and battles in Nioh weren't diverse enough, the developers made it their goal to offer a whole horde of new enemies with unique combat functions. This has resulted in some pretty insane battles.


The nightmarish monsters you'll find in Nioh 2 aren't commonplace. Their odd and off-putting appearances make them stand out from other video game enemies. These yokai demons look like an amalgam of random body parts and ominous weapons. The man-eating Nure-Onna, for example, looks like a giant snake with a woman's head. The imagery is terrifying enough without adding her combat abilities that are sure to lay your character flat on their back within seconds. 

There's also the Karakasa Umbrella that, as you may have guessed from the name, looks like an umbrella with one giant eye at its center. This yokai appears on rainy nights to startle its prey. These aren't your normal baddies.

Your yokai transformation will be beautiful and terrifying

One of the many things that sets Nioh 2 apart from other games of its kind are the unique yokai abilities players will be able to harness. Because the protagonist is half human and half yokai, you can use some of the formidable demon abilities to take down your foes. Harnessing these powers won't just be impressive as far as combat is concerned, it'll also be visually stunning.


Creating a game set in 1555 Japan, Team Ninja was able to play with a lot of interesting aesthetics to bring the time period to life while injecting dark and twisted lore into the mix. This has resulted in an aesthetically pleasing game that, despite all the blood, is actually quite beautiful. One of the most beautiful things to witness is the protagonist transforming into a yokai form. 

There are several different options for this transformation, and each brings with it a different set of abilities. These transformations all have a common element: a terrifying and stunning moment when you turn into a yokai and embrace the power that comes with the transformation. If you want to intimidate your enemies, this is the way to do it.


Team Ninja already has three Nioh 2 DLCs in the works

The core Nioh 2 experience will already include a rich lineup of challenging combat and exploration. Team Ninja plans to extend the journey through three future DLCs. This additional content will take place before the events of Nioh 2, which is set in 1555 during Japan's Warring States period, and will introduce several new elements, including enemies, weapons, combat abilities, and characters. Multiple main and sub-missions will also provide hours of fresh content.


Players who wish to purchase the DLC can take advantage of a forthcoming season pass. Like other games with season passes, purchasing this pass will grant you access to each new DLC pack at release, ensuring you don't miss any new offerings. The season pass is also available as part of several special edition options for Nioh 2, such as the Digital Deluxe Edition and Special Edition.