I’m most of the way through my third playthrough of Nioh 2, and I wouldn’t be surprised at all to learn that I’ve got close to 200 hours into the game by now. This has been, for the one or two of you who cares, a switchglaive-and-tonfas build, and last night I finally got to the mystic arts fight for the tonfas, leaving me with only one more Achievement needed to platinum the game.
Let me back up a bit: you have the option of using several different weapons in Nioh 2, and toward the end of the game, if you have used a weapon enough and built enough proficiency with it, a one-on-one fight opens up against another user of that same weapon. If you win that fight, you unlock “mystic arts,” which are basically top-tier abilities for that weapon. There’s an achievement associated with each of them, but that fight can be brutal.
And the tonfas are the fastest weapon in the game, and the mystic arts fight is against Hattori goddamned Hanzo, who is a brutal bastard regardless of the circumstances. This fight is made especially difficult by the fact that my playstyle for this character has been significantly less aggressive and more methodical than usual.
And here’s the deal with Nioh 2, and with a lot of the games that I’ve been enjoying lately: if you fuck up, you’re gonna pay for it. So you are fighting the fastest boss in the game, with the fastest weapon in the game, and if you screw up even once during the fight he’s gonna beat you to death on the spot. I fought this bastard for an hour last night, on a playthrough where I’ve been dispatching most bosses on the first try, and most of my fights were ending with me still having heals left, because you don’t have time to heal if dude hits you once and you die. I had half a dozen fights where I got him down to maybe a third of his health bar and then boom bap dead because of one tiny slip-up.
And then … click.
And all the damn sudden I could see the Matrix.
And I beat the bastard and he hit me one time, and only because I very slightly mistimed what ended up being the killing blow and he clipped me for a tiny bit of damage as I was taking him out. One. Fucking. Hit.
After a solid hour of him annihilating me, over and over again.
I love this damn game.
10:59 AM, Saturday May 16: 1,445,867 confirmed cases and 87,643 American deaths. The death rate really has been slowing down lately, but we should have an idea by mid-week whether states opening up prematurely was as bad an idea as I think it was.
I was loosely keeping track of how many times I said “God, I hate these things,” while I was playing Nioh 2 yesterday. It was … a lot. I love the game, but I have some serious enmity toward some of the monsters. Let’s do an absurdly detailed post about it!
PART ONE: YOKAI I DON’T ACTUALLY HATE ALL THAT MUCH:
DWELLERS: Most of this first category is yokai that frankly should never, ever kill you. Are they going to? Yes. Yes, they are. But dwellers, both of the smaller and larger size, are usually pretty harmless unless they’re throwing firebombs at you and you haven’t noticed them yet.
SKELETON WARRIORS: Again, either size, neither of them should be killing you. The ones with spears can be kind of dangerous because that spear usually hits harder than you’re expecting it to, but it’s easily dodged. No biggie.
SPIDERS: I mean, they’re spiders. Don’t attack them from in front, you’ll have a bad time. Other than that … eh.
ABERRANT SOLDIERS: Can be highly annoying at range, but they’re still cannon fodder and they’re generally pretty fair. Slightly more annoying than skeleton warriors and dwellers because they block.
KAPPA (NORMAL): Damn near harmless on their own, but they run away and chasing them down can lead you into other trouble.
SNOWCLOPS AND ONE-EYED ONI: They hit like a truck but their movesets are predictable and they can be blinded. These can be dangerous in smaller rooms, especially if the camera goes nuts on you, but they shouldn’t be a problem unless they’re surrounded by other enemies.
YOKI: Man, these were trouble early on in Nioh 1. Now only the kusarigama variant should even be hitting you, although the new four-swing move they’ve given the ones with the katanas can still catch you if you’re too close when they start attacking. They feel pretty defanged now, though.
ONI-BI AND BIWA BOKU–BOKU: Not dangerous, really, but the Biwa Boku-bokus are always hidden and an endless stream of Oni-bi can be trouble if you’re fighting something else. Plus, in Nioh 2, the fire ones explode after you kill them sometimes, which teleports both way higher on the I Hate You scale.
ENKI: Basically a Yoki but in the shape of a gorilla and with longer-range moves, the Enki are actually kind of fun to fight but their damn grab and stomp move is so fucking disrespectful that I kind of hate them but only a little.
YAMANBAS: Actually, these aren’t that bad. You don’t want to get caught by surprise by them but they’re usually not too much of a threat unless there are other monsters around.
PART TWO: THESE THINGS ARE ALL ASSHOLES:
FLYING BOLT: An enemy that was significantly scarier in Nioh 1, so I have left-over enmity from that, but they’re much rarer in Nioh 2 and I tend to have flame available most of the time so it’s not as big of a deal. Still hate ’em though. (Also, I can not get this image to cooperate, and I’ve used two different pictures of these damned things. I don’t know why it’s being weird.)
GAKI: Properly fought, a Gaki can be disposed of in a few seconds. Which is why there are usually several of them, and they’re hanging from the ceiling to drop down on you and eat your face, or they eat each other and become Super Gaki, or they’re high up on a ledge throwing shit at you. Fuck them.
MAGATSU WARRIORS: I probably should hate these more than I do, but they’re pretty rare, and while they’re tough every one I’ve fought so far has been in a position where I could bring everything I had to bear on them and in a one-on-one fight they’re not that bad. I think if they were around more often I’d hate them more.
MUJINA: Damn near harmless except for the fucking heart attack I have every time one of these bastards jumps out of a Goddamned treasure chest.
WAIRA: Not especially tough, especially considering their size, but their grab attack is bullshit and they can tunnel underground, and they’re much faster than they look.
NAMAHAGE: I hated these a lot more in Nioh 1, where they didn’t show up until the DLC, and I feel like they’ve been defanged a bit in this game, but they can throw shit at you now, and I never remember they can do that until there’s a hatchet protruding out of my Goddamned forehead. Plus I still have leftover Nioh 1 trauma from these things so I always forget they’re mostly easier to handle in this one.
ONYUDO: My single most-feared opponent in Nioh 1; Onyudo and their stupid tongues are pushovers in Nioh 2. Hang back, wait for burst attack, Brute counter, seeya. Still hate ’em a lot, though, but it’s maybe a bit less warranted in this game than it was in the previous one.
NURIKABE: Most of the time, fights with Nurikabe can be avoided since you can usually gesture your way past them. Nurikabe are high on my hate list because they usually have shit hidden behind them, and the last thing I do before finishing any main mission is spend a month looking for the one damn wall in the entire level that has Goddamned eyes on it. Plus, if you do have to fight them, they’re tougher than they ought to be.
UBUME: Ubume aren’t actually that dangerous or hard to kill, but the central conceit of the damned things is that they’re yokai that were formed from grieving mothers, and about half of them are carrying around a baby-shaped chunk of spirit stone that you have to shoot if you want to actually fight them. I’m all for the occasional dead baby joke but man this is bullshit.
LESSER UMI-BOZU and TOXIC SLIME: Sneak-attack ass motherfuckers, all of them, and I hate them, especially since I should be smart enough to look for the sonsabitches by now. Slightly lower on the list because pretty much any fire attack will kill them; they’re a huge pain in the ass if you happen to be out of fire, though.
ONE-EYED IMP: Awww, isn’t he cute? NO, he’s not fucking cute, he’s going to swat you with his goddamned tongue and then jump away toward fifteen other enemies and then while you’re dealing with those he’s going to turn into a goddamned One-Eyed Oni and mudboot-stomp your ass when you’re not looking. Fuck these things.
MITSUME YAZURA: Sure, he’s all heads and legs, and that’s fun, but I hate these things just because they look so much scarier than they actually are until you get complacent, which they have a magical power to make happen, and then they grab you with their feet-hands and hold you over their many heads and rip you in half, and fuck these things.
KARAKA: Not terribly hard to defeat, since their distance attacks can all be interrupted, but their habit of masquerading as fucking torches is really Goddamned annoying and they tend to pop up at the worst possible moment. These things raining fire on your ass while you’re trying to deal with something more immediately dangerous is hellaciously annoying.
PART THREE: FUCK EVERYTHING ELSE ON THIS LIST, THESE MOTHERFUCKERS ARE ALL ASSHOLES AND SERIOUSLY, FUCK THEM:
MOTHERFUCKING WHEELMONKS: I hated these motherfuckers in Nioh 1, and now they can jump. They move at the speed of light, they are the only enemy in the entire game who can hurt you just by touching you, and half the fucking time when I get killed by these bastards I hadn’t even seen the fucking thing yet and it just buzzsawed me into a corner and killed me dead before I knew it was there.
GODDAMNED ROKOROKUBI: I’m not even sure these assholes are supposed to be top-tier enemies, but something about them makes them impossible for me to fight, and a single rokorokubi can take me down under damn near any circumstances at all if I’m not either incredibly careful or using massive overkill. Their grapple attack sucks, occasionally mistaking one for human sucks, their range sucks, they suck. Fuck rokorokubi.
PIECE OF SHIT TESSOS: They fucking fart on you and then you can’t heal properly. Another fast-as-fuck enemy, they’ve also got this bullshit Sonic the Hedgehog spin around like a crackhead move that I hate, and they even have the fucking temerity to have a weak spot in their tails that I can somehow still never take advantage of. I think these are my most hated of the enemies new to Nioh 2.
PUNK-ASS FUCKING KARAKASA UMBRELLA MOTHERFUCKERS: Yes, that’s a fucking umbrella standing on a foot with an eye. These goddamned things have no excuse to be as annoying as they are because they’re tiny pieces of shit and oh also they’re umbrellas and if you don’t know how personally insulting it is to be killed in half a second by a fucking possessed demon umbrella then imagine how mad you get when it happens twice in a row.
GARBAGE MONSTER RED KAPPAS: Neither harmless or as useful as the regular kappas, no, these assholes jump on your back and break your spine when they aren’t Koopa-ing around on their goddamned shells faster than you can keep up with them. Dicks, all of them.
THESE FUCKING KARASU TENGU BASTARDS: I hate them. I hate them I hate them I hate them I hate them I hate them. I hated them in Nioh 1 and I hate the assholes now. This game is set up poorly to be able to manage monsters that can fly, and the fact that if they look at you crosseyed you lose 2/3 of your health does not help. Fuck fucking tengus. They’re assholes, all of them.
MOISTENED BINT NURI-ONNA: Wait, did I say tessos were my least favorite new enemy? No, fuck that, there are at least two that are worse: Goddamned Nuri-Onna, for starters; these assholes can hide on ceilings, under water, have long range, a grab attack, eat your face, and God help you if you miss a burst attack and get hit by their fucking paralysis vision. Fuck that. These can be handled if you know they’re there, and don’t tend to have a ton of stamina, but that just makes it more frustrating when they kill the shit out of you.
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.
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?