Nioh 2: Halfway Done Review

I’m in the neighborhood of a third to halfway through my first playthrough of Nioh 2, and to a very real extent I don’t even need to write this review, as it doesn’t take long to say “Other than the inventory system the game is damn near perfect, and I’m used to the inventory system by now.” Like, that’s the review. Nioh is one of my favorite games of all time– it’s kind of amazing how many of those games I discovered during this console generation– and the sequel improves on the original in damn near every way, adding a ton of new enemies, a few new overlapping systems, a couple (not as many as I’d like, which might be my only complaint) of new weapons, and other than that just keeps everything rolling. The original game’s horrifying, punishing, kill-you-in-a-second-if-you-stop-paying-attention difficulty is still there, for sure, and the boss fights so far have been really satisfying. About half of them I’ve managed to pull off within a couple of attempts, and the other half have been those great kind of boss fights that start off with getting obliterated in seconds without laying a finger on anything and then you just keep learning patterns and getting better until you win. The fact that I don’t have to be back to work for five weeks and I still wish I had more time to play should tell you something. I suppose it’s always possible the back half could go repetitive and dull, but I doubt it; everything’s been amazing so far.


Finally getting around to wiping the hard drive on my old iMac– or, at least, I’m staring at it as it slowly reformats itself. The computer has been replaced long enough that the computer I replaced it with has been paid off, but is still sitting, forlorn, on my desktop waiting for me to do something with it so I can have it recycled. I need to get the office under control– my wife pointed out that there was a litterbox clearly visible in the background of one of my instructional videos the other day, and I actually started one of them with the words “Welcome to my filthy office!”

That’s gotta stop, and the first step to getting that done is reclaiming the desk so that I can take everything else that used to be on the desk and put it back, which will, along with some heavy decluttering, go a long way to making the room look a lot better. Again, I’m off for weeks. It’s not like I don’t have time.

And we’re off!

School will be open on Monday, as apparently they’ve decided to break from past practice and send computers home with the 3rd-5th graders, requiring a whole lot of people to spend time disassembling computer carts today. Starting Tuesday, we are closed for “at least” two weeks, and seeing as after the third week we have Spring Break anyway I suspect we will not be returning for it. So there’s a very good chance that I’m about to be off work for a solid month, expected only to produce e-learning assignments and lectures for students who will not do the assignments and not view the lectures. I’m considering making one of them a profanity-laced tirade just to see if anyone notices. Since my kids don’t need to come to school to pick up Chromebooks, and since no one with any sense is going to send their kids to school under these circumstances (one single day followed by two weeks off, in the middle of a pandemic?) I expect to have less than 25% of my students in the building and I have no plans to actually provide any instruction. Pretty sure it’s going to be completely pointless to even try. I’ll spend Tuesday at home recording lectures and putting together simple assignments, and that’ll be that until April.

I guess it works out for me that Nioh 2 came out today, then.

The original game ate my goddamn life when it came out. Ate my goddamn life. I think I’ve got … 200 hours in it right now? More? I’m scared to look, but it was the only thing my PS4 was for for months after it came out. I put about three or four hours into it today (note that today was the last day of the 3rd quarter and a teacher record day, so the kids weren’t at school and I ducked out early once I finished everything I had to do) and I see no reason to believe that it’ll be of any lesser quality.

Oh, right, and I’ll have the boy with me the whole time too, because he’s also off until April. I have to feed them every day, right? That’s how that works, with kids?

In which here we go again

Warning: video game nerd content higher than usual in this post. Please avoid if necessary.

So I’m playing through Nioh again. This game got months of dedicated play when it first came out, and improved my skills to the point that after I beat it I was able to go back and play through the entire Dark Souls/Bloodborne sequence and beat all four of them as well. Nioh is, to my estimation at least, easily the hardest of the five games. You may recall me devoting a post to the day I finally beat Yuki-Onna after literally respeccing my character twice and an unprecedented several months of attempts. And it turned out that the ninjutsu tree was absolutely necessary to get through the rest of the game– the bosses in this game are stupid hard, and I was only able to beat most of them by cheesing the shit out of them with shuriken and kunai. It’s not unfair to say that I didn’t beat a single boss after Yuki-Onna without at least a little bit of blatantly exploiting the game mechanics.

Well, this time ’round I’m using the goddamn odachi, because I’m a glutton for fucking punishment apparently, and I’m reaching the point in the game where I run into Yuki-Onna again and where I hit a wall. The kusarigama/ninjitsu combo I used to finally get past her is all fast burst damage and long-range stagger, and the odachi is … not either of those things. The complete opposite of those things in fact. I’ve managed to blow past three of the bosses in the early game– Hiro-Enma, Umi-Bozu and the Goddamned raven tengu— who gave me hell the first time through, so hopefully I can actually beat her for real this time.

We shall see. I’ve got shit to do this weekend, so I don’t have a lot of time for weeping and gnashing of teeth and throwing controllers. Somebody’s going down, dammit.

EDIT: Got ‘er. Took maybe 10 minutes, half a dozen attempts, and during that time she one-shotted me at least three times. This may be the greatest day of my life.

In which I need a gas mask

A true fact about this cat, who suddenly figured out laps this afternoon and spent about an hour cuddling with the boy, who has been home sick from school for a couple of days: his shit stinks worse than the shit of any other pet, of any species, that I have ever had, and it not only fucks up huge chunks of my house to the point where I feel like we’re going to have to renovate our HVAC system to provide for greater air movement where we’ve got the litter boxes, it clings to him afterwards for a while, so if he uses the litterbox and then runs into the living room to demand scritches you will be able to tell where he has been. It is monstrous and terrifying and we are well beyond the point where I can chalk it up to him having been an outdoor cat and eating rats to stay alive. Dude’s been in the house for like two months now, there ain’t nothing in there but kibble and Fancy Feast. The other cats don’t stink like this. Not even close.

(The other cats are also female? I’m not sure if that matters. He’s fixed, at any rate.)


Today was the first day of this semester that I would characterize as a bad day. Not, like, by historical standards, or anything like that, and I mean a bad teaching day, as opposed to a bad my-mom-just-died-and-I’m-fucked-up-about-it day, but it’s actually surprisingly good news that it took this long. That’s all I have to say about it; there aren’t any interesting stories, really, but I thought I’d mention it.


In other news, in addition to fantasizing about writing another book (a short story! a microfiction! Fucking anything!) at some point in the future and fantasizing about eventually doing a podcast, a desire I have had for a couple of years now without the slightest inkling of a good idea for a podcast crossing through my brain, I have now decided that I want to do Let’s Plays for YouTube. I will never do this; to do it the way I want (discrete episodes, not livestreaming) requires far too much investment into equipment– I am fairly certain I’d need an entire new computer, for starters, because I don’t think there’s a good way to do video capture through my iMac, although I could be wrong– and frankly there is absolutely no demand for 43-year-old video game streamers. So I’m not going to do this, but it’s fun to toss it on the pile of other random creative bullshit that I’m not working on and watch it fester.

Meanwhile, I’m playing through Nioh again, because my career as a YouTuber should definitely start with games from four years ago, right?

Sure.

In which my priorities are screwed up and I don’t care

I go back to work tomorrow, and I’m surprisingly unstressed by it, although I do have a little bit of work I need to do tonight. No, it’s every other thing in my damn life that’s causing all my stress right now; work this week is going to be a Goddamn refuge.

(Yes, I plan to pivot from that into complaining about a video game; brace yourself accordingly. Talking about anything Real is beyond me at the moment.)

So, yeah. Hollow Knight. You might remember my review of Salt and Sanctuary from a couple of months ago; this is a similar game both in style and structure and in that I downloaded it forever ago, took a shot at it, then walked away, and now I’m back and playing it again. I’ve put about 35 hours into it over Winter Break and right now my main feeling about it is Jesus how is this game so big how can I possibly not be done with this by now, combined with a weird sort of completionist impulse that is keeping me from simply beating the damn thing and being done with it. No, I want to be finished, but I want to 100% the sumnamabitch before I do that, and oh Christ there is so much to do. Don’t get me wrong, I’m having fun, but I’m having the kind of fun that is at least 25% I need to be doing twenty other things right now while I’m having it.

Guilt-laced fun is the best kind, of course.

You may get a book review later, since I haven’t posted much in the last few days. I finished this yesterday and am still sorting out my feelings about it. Pay no attention to the fact that Amazon inexplicably thinks the release date is next summer; I assure you, the book is available.