Brutally difficult action RPG Nioh and its sequel from Team Ninja are out on PS5 in remastered versions. Find out more in our The Nioh Collection review!
The Nioh Collection from Sony Interactive Entertainment and Team Ninja offers us Nioh and Nioh 2 with all of the DLC available right from the start, all at a great price. The story of the first game starts with William Adams being held in a cell of the Tower of London. William was one of the people recruited by the queen to retrieve Amrita but then imprisoned in order to keep this a secret, as the queen is using it to win the war over Spain’s unbeatable forces. As he’s trying to escape, the sorcerer Edward Kelley steals William’s guardian spirit from him to be able to find the location of Amrita and then disappears. Williams manages to escape and eventually sets off on a two-year boat trip to Zipangu to find him. Upon landing there, William finds the island ravaged by evil spirits, and his quest to find Kelley will cross paths with Hattori Hanzo, who will become an ally. The rest will be up to you to discover as the story unfolds.
Without spoiling things too much, the second game’s story actually takes place mostly before the first game. The unnamed character you play as is a Yokai hunter that’s actually half-human and half Yokai. As you encounter another Yokai early in the game, your character loses control of its powers, only being able to regain control because of a merchant named Tokichiro. Tokichiro is trying to go big by selling Amrita, the famous stones that help others become more powerful (and level up your character), and requests your help for protection. Your party will eventually grow, but you will also encounter someone that knows about your past and will cause trouble on your quests, which we will leave at that so you can unfold things as you play.
Both games are played from a third-person perspective. The Square and Triangle buttons are used for light and heavy attacks, with the latter one consuming more Ki – the game’s stamina. If you fully deplete your Ki while fighting enemies, you’ll have to wait for it to recover before being able to attack again. You can also press the R1 button after attacking an enemy when blue lights circle around William, which will have the effect of restoring some Ki depending on the timing of when you pressed it. The R1 button can also help you switch between three different stances when you combine it with one of three face buttons. The High stance (with Triangle) is used for more powerful attacks, the Mid stance (with Square) is more for defense, while the Low stance (with X) is better for dodging and lower Ki consumption. Once you gain control of long-range weapons, you’ll be able to use them with the L2 button to pull out the weapon and aim, while the R2 button will be used to fire it.
The game is packed with customization options thanks to its loot system, which is something you’d find in games such as those in the beloved Diablo series. Besides the four weapons you can equip (two close combat ones and two long-range), your character can equip armor pieces for different parts of his body and two accessories. Some of those armor pieces can form a set that has added benefits when you have more than a certain amount of pieces. There is also a huge skill tree that covers different skills for the many weapons types the game has and also more general skills like the Samurai ones. As for your character stats, they are leveled up at shrines where you can spend Amrita you gathered. Beware, though, because the game has that Soulsborne aspect where you lose all your Amrita if you die, and you will only be able to regain it if you can get to where you died in order to collect it back.
One of the differences between both games is the power your Guardian Spirit grants you. In the first game, pressing Square and Triangle together when your gauge is full would activate your Living Weapon, a more powerful version of your weapon, with the added benefits of not receiving damage until the gauge fully depletes. In the second game, this move actually turns you into your Yokai form, providing a bit more depth with different skills at your disposal. Other than this, the second game only introduces a few additional differences. There are now Soul Cores that you can get when you defeat Yokai, which can be purified at shrines and then equipped to boost the stats and skills for your Guardian Spirit. The Yokai Realm, which was presented only as small ponds around a Yokai in the first game that greatly reduces your Ki regeneration, can now be whole sections of the map that only defeating a certain Yokai can bring to a stop.
Visually, it would be hard to complain about both games. Even the “older” Nioh looks great on PlayStation 5, with remastered visuals that run incredibly smooth at 60 FPS. Both games have this solid framerate available as well as a few visual options, such as augmented details if you want to sacrifice the 4K fidelity, or even a 120 FPS mode – as long as your display can support it! The audio is also great, with the second game offering support for 3D audio, which makes a huge difference.
Nioh is a game I had completely skipped on my PS4, so I was more than happy to try this upgraded and remastered version along with the second entry. If we’re talking about what the PlayStation 5 offers with the games, the load times can’t be ignored. Being a Soulsborne game, you obviously know you’ll die a lot, especially if you’re not a veteran of the genre, which can sometimes make those games a painful experience. While death is not something you want to see, the good news is that you’ll be back at the last shrine in a couple of seconds so that you can give it another go, which definitely makes for a more fast-paced experience compared to the PlayStation 4 versions. I also really enjoyed the use of the adaptive triggers when aiming with long-range weapons, a feature that should be in every PS5 game since it adds a lot to the feel of the gameplay.
And speaking of the gameplay, if it’s not been made clear by now, these games are though as nails. Both of these games are some of the most challenging games I’ve played in a while, and that includes Demon’s Souls Remastered, which I reviewed last year. But no matter how many times I died, I was always ready for another try. The loot and skills systems were also a big draw to me, with so many ways to customize your character to fit your play style. It’s also worth mentioning the wide selection of weapon types that are all worth trying since their playing style will be totally different. All those things made for a difficult but rewarding experience that you will likely repeat a lot of times until you find that new piece of armor that gives you just enough defense to finally defeat that one enemy that was giving you trouble.
As for the trophies, with this being a collection of Nioh and its sequel, including as well all the DLC for both games, there’s a ton of trophies for you to add to your collection! There are 181 trophies in total, and given the overall difficulty for Nioh and Nioh 2, this is not going to be an easy task to complete! You’re easily looking at the 250-300+ hours range for getting every single trophy in this collection, so you better be ready!
Fans of the Nioh games will no doubt enjoy their second ride through both games with the upgraded visuals, framerate, and performance. Fans of the Soulsborne genre will no doubt enjoy Nioh and Nioh 2 as they dive into a pair of adventures – with a ton of subquests to complete – that will keep them busy for a while. The Nioh Collection is a great package on PlayStation 5, available now with a $69.99 asking price.
This The Nioh Collection review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by Sony Interactive Entertainment.