Nioh 2: The Complete Edition

There’s hard games and then there’s let’s make it completely unfair to the player games, and Nioh 2 falls into the latter. I’d say maybe half the bosses were made to be hard, but fair and the other half, the developers decided to say, bluntly, ‘fuck you’ to the players. There’s no mincing words here. The developers did not make this game as a love letter to their previous game, instead they decided to take everything that was bad about Nioh 1 and improve upon those horrible mechanics. Sure, I can now have a counter to some moves with a move of my own but most of the time, you will take damage trying to do so. You are actively punished for using the game’s mechanics. Oh, and the game suffers massively from “Do as I say, but not as I do.” In order for enemies to be staggered, and yourself, your Ki has to run out. However, in tradition with the game’s mentality of “fuck you, player”, bosses don’t need to reduce your Ki to stagger you, they merely need to hit you once.

I’m getting ahead of myself here. A quick rerun of the game mechanics is in order. You have life and Ki (basically your stamina), and when life drops to 0, you die. Ki drops to 0, you’re winded for awhile and open to any attack. Enemies also have a life bar and a Ki bar, and when you drop their Ki to 0, they are open to any attack and will get staggered, letting you wail on them until they recover their Ki – done so by a move on their part and automatically by you. You can also perform a Ki pulse which is pressing the button at the moment the Ki meter turns from red to blue. Most of their attacks can be blocked, reducing your Ki by a massive amount in proportion to the damage they would have dealt. You can also choose to dodge but dodging is dependent on your total equipment weight. Too high, and you’ll barely be able to move out of the way. Really low or none, and you can dodge out of the way with incredible distance. Some enemy attacks are highlighted in red, these can be countered with your burst which is dependent on which guardian spirit you have equipped. There’s feral, phantom or brute and each counter is different. Then enemies have the ‘fuck you, player’ move in which they have a grab that will take most or all of your life in one go. In no universe is this remotely fair to the player, and only exists to artificially inflate the difficulty. Your only hope is to be far away, and sometimes that isn’t enough because the radius for the enemy to perform this move is massive.

Let me get this out of the way, I beat the base game and I enjoyed the base game for the most part. It’s when I started the DLC and expansions that I realized, there’s no need to play any of them because they were designed purely as a “fuck you, player.” All the bosses that I fought therein had several bullshit insta-kill moves or grabs. When I finally did beat the bosses, it wasn’t because of my hard efforts to memorize the move sets of the boss, but rather because on that 10+ death, the boss didn’t use that one particular move. In other words, I won because of sheer luck and not skill. This behavior is not native to the Nioh games for all of the souls games, Bloodborne, and Sekiro also have bullshit bosses with bullshit moves and you beating them is highly reliant on them not using a specific skill or move. It seems that the Japanese developers, as whole, have that mentality of “fuck you, player”. The best Japanese ARPG game I’ve ever played, that had the most fair mechanics ever, was not made by the Japanese but by Americans – Naughty Dog with their masterpiece, Ghost of Tsushima. That really says something about Japanese developers.

As a whole, playing a Japanese ARPG game is akin to bashing your head against a brick wall in the hopes of breaking it down to get past. In Nioh 2, that brick wall has another brick wall right behind and whenever you do hit your head against it, it seals itself back up.

As for the story, it was useless and mere filler. It used the backdrop of real characters from history to tell a prequel to Nioh 1 and then near the end, acted as a sequel. It was as barebones as a story could get. I didn’t care to play the game at all for the story but for the satisfaction of being able to say I beat it. And sure, I beat it, but at what cost? My sanity? There’s a lot to love inside the game, but the sheer frustration of many gameplay decisions is immense. It’s hard to believe a lot of the elements got past QA, and that someone thought it was a good idea to implement them. Like the grabs, or having the insta-kill moves. Or bosses that ignore the mechanics but you still have to obey them and are limited by them. The decision to make loot randomized, forcing you to grind over and over in the hopes of better gear. Having a mission based campaign, are you guys still playing on PlayStation 2? Rest of the world called, we’re on open world games now.

Overall, I do recommend the base game. It’s hard but doable, and for the most part, the bosses are hard but fair. Unless you do side quests, in which case the bosses are mostly of the “fuck you, player” design requiring you to massively farm XP to get way over-leveled in order to best them. I do not recommend any of the DLCs/expansions, they are simply unfair to the player.


A Rant Against Nintendo

I don’t think I’ve ever used a system such as theirs that actively disables my third party purchases. They’re a company run by maximizing profits, like any other. You can only use their products, and the products they sell at triple the cost with their units. Want a new controller? Better pony up 1/3 the price of the system. Oh, you bought a third party controller for a fraction of the price? Sorry, let us push an update that not only makes your device not work anymore with ours, but disables your device from working with any other system too! Aren’t we such friendly gamers? Loved by all, such a family friendly company that we love, nay strive, to gouge our consumers dry.

Don’t get me started on HDMI cables too. Nearly half of them don’t work with the switch, they work fine with PC or other consoles but not with switch. Gotta get the right one. They would prefer you bought theirs. Oh, and game prices? Let’s talk about the “switch tax” aka any game sold on switch is marked up by nearly half compared to any other system. Dead cells, for example, is nearly 45 dollars on switch and 30 bucks everywhere else. The ability to play anywhere does not facilitate such a price increase. The downgrade in graphics most games receive to play on switch should have the opposite effect. The price should be lower or the same, not marked up. One can assume that the Nintendo store charges extra for developers if almost most games have to have raised prices.

Then we get to the joy con controllers themselves. Out of all consoles, these have the fastest fail rate I’ve ever been witness to. It’s like they are designed to fail as soon as possible, so you have to give more money to Nintendo. It’s no surprise then that there are several class action lawsuits against them for such. The joycons will drift. Then they are useless. Time to pony up another hundred dollars. My PlayStation controllers have never drifted, neither have my xbox. No controller I’ve ever owned has until the switch’s ecosystem showed up.

Nintendo is like the Apple computers of gaming companies. They took an already existing device (Nvidia shield) and touted/marketed it as a brand new device aka the switch. Then they set up their own ecosystem and can charge whatever they want and their loyal lap dogs will eat it all up. Any criticism is disguised, and brushed away. Money always wins. What a depressing reality. You’d think that actively nurturing and helping a consumer base would be the goal so they in turn reward you by purchasing your goods but it’s not. Gaming is no longer about enjoyment for the user, but how can investors bleed dry the market before moving onto the next. Given this, it’s so rare to find a game that’s purely made to be enjoyed. No ulterior motive, no microtransactions. No downloadable content. And Nintendo is definitely not where you look if that’s what you want. If I had to say where, I’d say go with a sony exclusive. Time and time again, these have been proven to be nothing but pure enjoyment for the consumer. There’s no extra purchases needed. The game is as is. One look at Ghost of Tsushima and that’s all you need to know. Review for that upcoming.

To surmise, I’m tired of Nintendo’s ecosystem. Price gouging through and through. The fun I get with Super Smash Bros is always sullied by the drift in my controller. This is one system that gathers more and more dust and is only pulled out for parties.