Team Ninja’s Nioh 2 is a tough game, which is saying something in a post-Sekiro world. Not only are there new enemies and types waiting to tear you apart but several new gameplay systems and oppressive mechanics to wear you down. Let’s over some beginner tips and tricks that should help even the odds.
Burst Counters and Forms
You already know about the new Burst Counters and how they can be used to interrupt highly damaging attacks from enemies when they glow red. What’s not immediately obvious is how each Yokai Form confers a different counter. Brute Form has a small windup which can be useful against enemies with telegraphed attacks. Phantom Form is more stationary and defensive while Feral Form creates an after-image of sorts, requiring quicker timing but also capable of countering just about anything. Each form is dependent on the Guardian Spirit you have equipped so keep that in mind when choosing from the outset.
Abuse Feral Form Burst Counter
Players who favour mobility will learn to love Feral Form when they master the timing. That’s because it can also be used to avoid regular attacks, serving as a nice dodge if you’re unsure about emerging unscathed. Another aspect in favor of Feral Form: Its Burst Counter rushes towards an enemy, which is invaluable if you ever feel out of position to counter a glowing red attack.
Always Fuse Duplicate Soul Cores
Soul Cores are the new hotness in Nioh 2. They drop from Yokai and provide demonic abilities that consume Anima energy. You can equip multiple Soul Cores based on your Attunement Limit and receive bonuses to Equipment Drop Rate, Attack (Yokai Shift) and much more. It’s possible to obtain more than one copy of the same Soul Core though. In that case, fuse these into the original and rank it up, improving the bonuses you receive.
Purify Soul Cores ASAP
Oh but do hurry back to a shrine after obtaining a Soul Core. Soul Cores need to be purified in order to become usable. So if you’ve just discovered a cool new ability or duplicate Soul Core for ranking up, but then die and fail to retrieve your Guardian Spirit, it’s gone. Don’t do something like, say, wander into the Dark Realm where shrines are inactive.
The Dark Realm
So you’ve wandered into the Dark Realm, a region where the very air slows down Ki recovery and Yokai are stronger. On the plus side, Anima energy is generated faster, allowing you to unleash Yokai abilities at a faster clip. If things are going horribly wrong, don’t be afraid to just back out. You can also lure some enemies outside and attempt to kill them before they disappear and reappear within. Thankfully, they aren’t instantly topped up back to max health so kiting and killing Yokai isn’t the worst strategy for surviving the Dark Realm.
Spec Into Courage
Regarding Ki recovery – there’s a new stat called Courage which increases the recovery speed of your Ki. Since Ki is needed for blocking, dodging and attacking, recovering it quickly can mean the difference between life and death when you miss a Ki Pulse. Invest in Courage whenever possible and don’t look back.
Book of Reincarnation
What if you want to go back though? Don’t worry – respeccing your stats is easy once the Blacksmith is unlocked. Visit them and purchase a Book of Reincarnation to reset all your stats. Be warned – it costs 10,000 Gold and subsequent books will become costlier as time goes by.
Look for the Kodama
Anyone who played Nioh will tell you this but find the Kodama. These are the cute little green creatures that are found hiding in select locations for missions. Collecting them will activate special blessings. This includes an increase to the number of Elixirs you receive at a Shrine, which can be very useful when dying and re-engaging a boss. Other blessings include upping the Amrita received, which means more XP, so again, find those Kodama.
When in doubt, slow the pace down. Nioh 2 has some stealth skills, including the Sneak Attack which allows you to back-stab foes. This must be unlocked through the skill tree but works great when you consider that attacks from behind will deal double damage. Pair these together to quickly slaughter unsuspecting foes.
Comfortably Increasing Weapon Familiarity
You’ve probably carried a killer weapon with max Familiarity and encountered a higher level item which could be great if its Familiarity were maxed. Don’t switch out your main weapon and suffer inferior damage. Instead, equip the new weapon in your second weapon slot. Familiarity can be earned by simply having the weapon equipped so you can continue using your current best-in-slot item and then switch to the better weapon when its Familiarity is maxed.
Challenge Revenants in Co-op
Ochoko Cups are pretty advantageous – they can be used to summon other players or to summon a player’s spirit through a Benevolent Grave to give you a hand. Earning them means battling Revenants aka the red grave markers but there’s an easier way to do it: Play with a friend in co-op and farm Revenants. Not only does this make battles easier since it’s 2 on 1 but you’ll both receive Ochoko Cups after the fight. Plus, if you can topple a foe with decent loot, then there are some great items in store.
The myriad of armor stats can be baffling for a new player, what with stats like Change Attack, Break, Parry and so on but here’s what you need to understand most of all: Toughness. Each armor type has a different amount of Toughness, which will determine how much Ki damage is taken if you’re blocking. Light armor can resist the least amount of damage but allows for the most mobility while Heavy armor can resist the most amount but reduces your mobility (Medium armor of course lays somewhere in between). Decide for yourself which is more important, especially when new Blessed weapons – which restore Ki on blocking – are thrown into the mix.
Ninjutsu and Onmyo Magic Are Great
As with Nioh, Ninjutsu and Onmyo Magic are very, very useful for one’s survival but can end up ignored when it counts. Ninjutsu allows for poisoning and paralyzing foes, among other things, while Onmyo Magic can be used to buff yourself with increased defense, health regen and so on. While you can earn Ninja and Onmyo Magic Skill Points from items, it’s best to use bombs and amulets from the outset to quickly earn points. Even if only care about combat, both types of skills will make certain fights much easier to deal with.
Don’t Forget About Titles
Make sure to keep checking up on Titles during your journey. Titles are earned by completing different challenges and can provide Prestige Points for unlocking passive bonuses in the Agyo and Ungyo categories. The choices of stats to increase is randomized but it’s worth investing in Life, Dark Realm Resistance and Yokai Ability Damage in the Agyo category. Among the Ungyo category perks, emphasis should be placed on Gold Earned, Ki and so on whenever possible.
Righteous Jasper can be useful netting more rewards from multiplayer. It essentially spawns a Benevolent Grave at your location to be accessed by other players. While you can’t use it to, say, spawn another player’s character, the more times it’s used by others, the more rewards you’ll get in return. Try placing it near tough bosses or situations to reap maximum rewards.