Like the original Nioh some years ago, Nioh 2 has escaped the shackles of Sony.
It arrives on PC in the form of a complete edition, which means all three expansions released for the game are included. So, there are more weapons to master, and an additional slew of missions to arduously work through once the main campaign is over. For Nioh fans, it’s an attractive proposition.
Nioh 2 is a phenomenal game, building on the original with new Yokai abilities. Basically, any time you beat a fearsome Yokai, there’s a chance it will drop its Soul Core. If you can get that Soul Core back to a shrine it can be purified and then attuned – equipped to you and me. There are many, many Soul Cores to acquire, and each one of them allows the player to make use of a unique enemy ability. You can turn into a winged beast and shoot multiple projectiles, for example, or assume the form of an undead soldier that swings their head around on an elongated neck.
These enemy abilities really deepen the Nioh experience, which was already cavernous as is. And that’s not all – there’s the Yokai Burst Counter to consider too. When the eyes of an enemy emit a blaring red flash across the screen, you know you’re in for a world of hurt. The choice is then yours; you can either attempt to avoid or block the attack, which could end in disaster, or counter it with your demonic Yokai Burst Counter. Be quick enough with the latter and you’ll stop the enemy’s attack before it even lands, leaving them reeling while you continue your assault. It’s brilliant.
Making the move to PC, of course multiple graphical settings have been introduced to Nioh 2. Players can tweak texture quality, effect quality, shadow resolution, ambient occlusion and dynamic reflections. With everything maxed out and at 4K resolution, the PC version of Nioh 2 just edges ahead of the remastered version for PS5 in terms of visuals. Unless you have a monstrous PC, however, you’re not going to match it on performance. My Nvidia RTX 3070 paired with a Ryzen 5 3600 certainly isn’t up to the task. At 4K, it mostly stays at 60 frames per second, but some drops to the mid-50s introduce stutter and ruin the fluidity.
Fiddle with the settings enough and you can strike a fine balance between graphical fidelity and performance, though you probably won’t want to go below 60fps for Nioh 2. If your PC (and monitor) is up to the task, 120fps is also supported, and it should be easier to achieve for RTX owners once plans to add DLSS to the game have come to fruition. For now though, the resolution and graphical fidelity of the game will have to be lowered for most PC gamers to make use of high-speed frame rates. They’ll also have to tinker with V-Sync at the driver level.
For some strange reason, Nioh 2 – The Complete Edition automatically applies V-Sync, locking the frame rate to 60fps even when you set the maximum as 120fps. One trip into Nvidia control panel to force V-Sync off later, 120fps was achieved in Nioh 2 albeit at 1080p and with a minor amount of screen tearing. Going back into the Nvidia control panel and changing the V-Sync option to ‘Fast’ thankfully eliminated the screen tearing, while lowering some graphical settings in-game allowed me to up the resolution to 1440p and still achieve a steady 120fps. It’s one of those games where lowering the graphical settings don’t make it look all that worse, either. Turning most settings from ‘low’ to ‘high’ simply adds a little more depth.
If you don’t mind spending some time tweaking settings, both inside the game and out, Nioh 2 – The Complete Edition can be a spectacular experience on PC. It’s a solid port of a truly great game. Thanks to the brilliant PS5 remaster though, I can’t say that PC is the best way to play it. On PS5 you get the looks and the performance without any hassle, as well as DualSense support and ultrafast loading times.
Ultimately, if you’re lucky enough to have a PS5, that’s the format to get Nioh 2 – The Complete Edition on. If not, the PC version will serve you well. There will be hiccups along the way, however, at least until DLSS arrives or any other performance-improving updates. But even those technical issues can’t get in the way of how fantastic Nioh 2 is to play, especially when all it takes is a bit of experimentation with settings to find the perfect balance.
Nioh 2 – The Complete Edition Review: GameSpew’s Score