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Nioh and Nioh 2 Enter Next Generation In One Package

The Nioh Collection
Courtesy of Team Ninja

The Nioh Collection

Developer: Team Ninja
Release Date: February 5, 2021
Available as: Digital and Physical

The Stories Of William And Hide Are PS5 Enhanced In The Nioh Collection

The Nioh Collection is a bundle of the first two Nioh games with all of its DLC included released physically on the PS5 in early 2021. Contrary to what players may initially believe, the Nioh Collection isn’t exclusive to the PS5 as it’s also on the PS4 albeit only as a digital release. This is because the official PS4 release never had a physical release for the complete edition of Nioh and Nioh 2 in the West, only in Japan. 

Rather than develop physical versions of both the PS4 and PS5, the publishers decided to release the Complete Edition of both titles as a PS5 exclusive, meaning PS4 owners can only purchase the collection online. This isn’t a big deal as the benefits of purchasing the Nioh Collection are cheaper than purchasing both complete versions of the Nioh series (Comparing $69.99 MSRP vs $49.99 x 2). Any compilation that's easy to manage compared to Mass Effect Legendary Edition is a plus in my book.

As all of this information would suggest, the Nioh Collection is simply Nioh Remastered and Nioh 2 Remastered, both their Complete Editions, released on two separate discs while bundled together. There is no PS5 exclusive content that would make purchasing this collection advantageous aside from the cheaper price discount, but there are some differences to the PS5 version in comparison to the PS4. 


nioh title screen
Nioh - PlayStation 5 Direct Capture

The first Nioh was released in 2017 as Koei Tecmo’s “answer” to FromSoftware’s popular Soulsborne games. These games served as influence for Nioh’s gameplay, yet Team Ninja provided their spin on a classic game formula, providing elements of their other series, Ninja Gaiden into the mix. Due to their experience in creating high-octane action games, the development for Nioh seemed like a match made in Heaven and upon its release, it was one of the most talked-about games released that year. 

Nioh focused on a fictionalized feudal Japan, including historical figures on the same echelon as Japanese mythology figures. The protagonist, William, does battle with various yokai, undead, vengeful spirits, and various monsters of Japanese legend. He’s not alone as he has the power of the Guardian Spirit to assist him in battle, which can be used to increase his proficiency in battle while providing an advantage. William is also taught the way of the sword by several proficient figures in Japanese history, ranging from ninjutsu to magic talismans.

william opening cutscene
Nioh - PlayStation 5 Direct Capture

From London To Japan, The Enemies Are Ruthless

The gameplay is simple to grasp, featuring a stamina gauge that drains depending on the action of William himself. Blocking attacks drain stamina as well as the severity of the attack used, meaning attacks that are used under a “high stance” will drain more stamina than using attacks in a “low stance.” Stamina management is one of the most important skills players must learn while playing Nioh as a drained stamina bar (indicated by a flashing red bar) means that the player is vulnerable to a “grapple” attack. Grapple attacks are “finisher attacks” by any other name, dealing massive damage to the player and in most instances killing them outright. The enemy can also run out of stamina in the same way, meaning that the player can use the same Grapple attack that enemies can do to them.

Each weapon has three specific move sets separated into stances. High stance uses heavy, powerful attacks that deal massive damage to a foe’s stamina, but the attacks are slow that they can be interrupted by faster attacks. Low stance deals the “least” damage but has the highest DPS, attacking at a higher speed at the expense of less stagger to the opponent. This is useful to rack up consecutive damage to a foe while applying status effects. The middle stance is the “normal” stance, somewhere in between high and low stance. 

william training nioh
Nioh - PlayStation 5 Direct Capture

Nioh Allows You A Broad Range To Slay Yokai

All of these make the gameplay in Nioh diverse, as players will find weapons that are useful to their specific playstyle as well as the circumstances the player is left in. Players may opt for a Spear to attack from a distance while a Tonfa is best suited for close-range combat. The “complete edition” includes various expansions that take place after the main game is completed as well as some exclusive DLC equipment that is featured in the form of “boons.” These boons are accessible at any shrine the player should come across and the equipment scales with the player’s level, making them better than any beginner gear the player should come across. They are balanced as they add a lot of weight to William, meaning that it will affect the stamina rate if a player is over-encumbered. 

The adaptive triggers of the DualSense are also used when it comes to aiming with ranged weapons, using pressure applied to fire rounds, and offering a satisfying feeling when pulling the trigger. There’s a 4K mode and a 120fps mode that’s selectable in the beginning, allowing compatible setups to take advantage of the resolutions available. Even under the most optimized settings for the PS5, the biggest advantage is the near-instant load times, meaning that death isn’t as frustrating as it was on the PS4. The player will die a lot in Nioh, so a faster reload is heavily appreciated, not breaking the flow of combat. Overall, the game is very optimized for the PS5, which makes Nioh 2 an expected pleasant experience considering how superior it is to an already amazing game

Nioh 2

nioh 2 title screen
Nioh 2 - PlayStation 5 Direct Capture

Nioh’s success warranted a sequel which began development shortly after the first game was completed. Beginning with an open beta in 2019, many fans, both new and old, were excited for what the sequel would bring to the table. One of the major selling points that differed the sequel from the original was the customization that was available for players as it featured a new protagonist that players could create. 

Everything about the protagonist, from their gender, hair, face, and body type, can be altered in painstaking detail to levels that most games don’t even reach. The curious can look online and see various character creations that fans have made, making the character customization an experience all on its own. While it’s easy to spend an hour creating a character, the gameplay was also something that was improved upon.

character creation hide
Nioh 2 - PlayStation 5 Direct Capture

Nioh 2 Offers A Level Of Customization Unseen In Nioh.

There are a total of eleven weapons, including all of the weapons that existed in Nioh, including gauntlets, a switchglaive that can transform from a guillotine to a hacksaw, and a split staff among others. The animations for each weapon are as fluid as the original, with each style being distinctive from the next from its stances alone. Another new change is the complete overhaul of how guardian spirits work.

Instead of “guardian spirits,” they are now called yokai cores, which can be absorbed by the player and allow them to use the abilities of slain yokai. An Enki core that a player can pick up, for example, allows the player to throw a spear much as the Enki gorilla demons could. Depending on the type of core, split into Brute, Feral, and Phantom categories, a character’s Yokai form will change accordingly. These range from a form that relies on overwhelming power, another which depends on its agility, and one more that attacks from a distance.

hide opening cutscene
Nioh 2 - PlayStation 5 Direct Capture

Nioh 2 Holds Your Hand Even Less Than Its Predecesor

Compared to the first Nioh, players are thrust into the action immediately as they are forced to carve their destiny as a half-human half-demon. This differs from Nioh as William was a yokai slayer, which is the very thing that the protagonist of the second game has become. There’s no way this becomes a conflict later on in the game. Not at all. Also compared to Nioh is the second game throwing everything at you including the kitchen sink. While there’s a tutorial to get into the controls of the second game, with the controls being the same as the first, players have more threats to handle than simply fighting humans as William did initially. 

Within the first minute, the player can decide to fight against a Gozuki, a giant horse head demon that’s way outside of the player’s weight class. Through sheer perseverance, the player can defeat the large demon but the option to attempt to fight is still there, as is the consequence of engaging in a fight the player isn’t confident enough to win. Upon death, the game will nudge the player by saying “all enemies don’t have to be fought,” meaning discretion’s the better part of valor.

mission screen with protagonist nioh 2
Nioh - PlayStation 5 Direct Capture

Being A Half-Demon Has Its Perks

Ironically, the player is placed in a fight against a rampaging gorilla yokai known as an Enki which is a required fight. It teaches the player how to fight demons that are stronger than the player, in tight spaces, and shows the player that they are evenly matched despite how imposing they may be. Upon defeating the Enki, they also gain access to their soul core, which will power the player up.

Other mechanics such as the “yokai realm” is introduced, which is enough for humans to fall ill, but as a half yokai, it’s enough to manage. Fighting here, however, quickly drains your stamina and it cannot be purified unless the source of the realm is defeated. This makes the second bout with the Enki a much greater challenge, provided the player hasn’t been dying through enemies getting a leg over the player.

nioh 2 protagonist gameplay
Nioh - PlayStation 5 Direct Capture

Cameos Are Abundant Including A Famous Ninja

Just like in the first Nioh, cheap deaths are as frustrating and commonplace as ever, easily setting the player’s progress back a few should they fall in battle. In many ways, it’s ruthless compared to the first game as it foregoes world-building in favor of pure action. That’s not to say that important NPCs aren’t introduced and that there isn’t a story, but in this instance Team Ninja decided to focus on what made Nioh great and it was the action.

Much like the first game, the load times are non-existent as well, meaning that the time in between deaths is cut short. The game runs at a solid 60 fps with options for a 120fps mode should the player run on a setup that meets those requirements. Also, like in the first game, players can obtain DLC items through Kodama shrines, including a Ninja Gaiden cameo.

ryu hayabusa

Overall, the Nioh Collection is the perfect way for PS5 players to enjoy one of the better “Soulslike” games in recent memory. The Nioh series didn’t try to copy but rather take on a life of its own, offering fast-paced yet rewarding gameplay for players patient enough to endure the challenges that may hinder their journey.

The Nioh Collection is now available on the PS4 and PS5.

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