Nioh 2 is a Playstation 4 exclusive sequel to Team Ninja’s hugely popular 2017 action RPG Nioh, but does it rise to the same level of awesome gameplay as its predecessor? Thankfully, I can absolutely confirm that it does just that, while also breathing some fresh air into the gameplay formula!

While the game borrows a substantial amount of its core from the original, Nioh 2 manages to improve the gameplay loop in small ways where it matters, leaving the already perfect untouched. New enemies, new weapons and new environments are aplenty in this sequel, which act as a new lick of paint for an outstandingly well made combat system which has been more or less brought directly from original title. While some may be disappointed at this, Team Ninja has clearly taken the if it ain’t broke approach and have invested their time into other areas which they may have felt would be better served by the time investment.

The story in Nioh 2 is solid if not all that captivating, however, that is a familiar occurrence for this type of game, where the story is usually a tool used to transport the player through different locations in which to play missions, rather than being a deep, meaningful narrative. This is to be expected however, and the story brings us through some beautifully designed areas in Japan towards the end of the Middle Ages.

One of the welcome additions to the game is the new Yokai skills system. This system allows you to wreak havoc upon the enemies around you for a very limited amount of time through morphing into one of the creatures attempting to take you down. This system ends up being quite critical to battles and making effective use of it at the right time can prove crucial, particularly in more difficult and large-scale battles. When combo-ed with other abilities, Yokai skills add another dimension atop the gameplay loop, which makes it feel fresh enough to differentiate the title from its predecessor, in the gameplay sense. It is extremely fun to use these skills in grand boss fights and mastering the activation timing will be a source of great enjoyment for hardcore players.

A greater number of enemies than ever before join the ranks of Nioh 2, which makes battles feel more diverse and fun and add a great amount of longevity to the game, meaning that the gameplay does not getting tiring through the entirety of the storyline, which, by the way, can take up to a whopping 100 hours for most players. Nioh 2’s boss fights are perhaps the most spectacular part of the entire game and Team Ninja have done an excellent job in making these fights epic, while ensuring that each boss is different enough that they always come as a surprise and continue to challenge players who have mastered combat techniques. The gameplay of Nioh 2 has been elevated to a new level by taking what Nioh did best and adding new layers of complexity atop.

The game runs superbly on the PS4 Pro, allowing you to choose between a graphical mode and a performance mode, which locks in a smooth 60FPS. We found the game to look great on both modes, but the stability was incredible. I did not notice a single frame drop through the entire experience when playing on the performance mode. The music and sound design are also fantastic and fit the environments and theme of the game perfectly, as expected from Team Ninja.

Overall, while Nioh 2 does not represent a giant leap forward over its predecessor, it does manage to improve upon areas which impact the player most, while leaving the already excellent systems untouched. Fans of Nioh will be sure to enjoy this sequel and the improvements it brings and I would urge lovers of the genre to consider giving Nioh 2 a try!