Nioh 2 hands-on: how Team Ninja polishes and refines its winning formula

May 31, 2019
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Nioh is returning for PlayStation 4 owners in the form of a brand new sequel and this week’s alpha test reveals a game that carries over much from the original, while delivering some welcome refinements. And just like the first game, it’s a tough-as-nails action game, borrowing liberally from the Dark Souls formula while offering its own unique features. While the code we’re looking at today is flagged as alpha, you’d never know from looking at it – it’s already polished and refined to the point where it feels almost like a shipping product.

Like the original, Nioh 2 is not a stunning game at first glance, but give it time and its more subdued visual style begins to grow on you. The demo depicts a dilapidated village encircled by vast mountains, while the sun hangs low on the horizon, casting long shadows across its dangerous world. It makes a strong first impression and, while it appears instantly reminiscent of the original, it soon becomes clear that the team has refined its presentation.

Straight away, the lighting feels like a step up from the original with more dramatic use of sun and shadow. In addition, the overall stage design is more refined with plenty of fine detail spread throughout. It’s not quite on par with From Software’s recent Sekiro in terms of overall density, but it’s still an attractive game and of course, it targets much higher performance levels. In addition, there’s a rather good HDR solution that really pushes dynamic range – a new feature to the Nioh series, which only shipped with SDR rendering in its debut release.

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