Feature Article

Nioh 2: Length, Release Date, Impressions, Pre-Order Details, And What We Know So Far

Being the best of both worlds in Nioh 2.

Nioh proved a fantastic iteration of the massively popular Souls-like genre. At the same time, it marked a return for its developer, Team Ninja, who struggled for years to create an action game experience that rivaled the quality of its work on the original Ninja Gaiden. In 2020, the studio is looking to continue that success by releasing Nioh 2.

The upcoming sequel looks to improve upon the first in a variety of ways, as well as change things up. Below we've compiled everything we know about Nioh 2, including its release date, our impressions of the game so far, its length, how its combat is changing, and a lot more.

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Now Playing: Nioh 2 - PlayStation 4 Closed Alpha Gameplay Trailer

Story And Characters

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Like its predecessor, Nioh 2 is set during the Sengoku period of Japanese history--this time in the year 1555, which is at the height of this era of near-constant military conflict and social upheaval. Thus, Nigh 2 serves as a prequel to the first game, and this time you play as the offspring of a human and a yokai (supernatural creatures in Japanese folklore) who goes on to become a nameless mercenary that battles hostile yokai. But with great power comes great responsibility, so it's not long before you become embroiled in the more significant conflict sweeping across Japan. Early summaries describing the game's story indicate that you'll be encountering several real-life historical figures, including Oda Nobunaga, Maeda Toshiie, Masakatsu Hachisuka, and more.

Though what's most interesting about Nioh 2's story is the fact that the protagonist seems to be one half of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a famous historical figure who left an influential and lasting legacy on the country's history during the Sengoku period--suggesting a fictional explanation that Hideyoshi is actually two different people. Currently, there are more questions than answers, so time will tell what this is all about!

Release Date

Nioh 2 is scheduled to release on March 14, 2020. It'll be a timed-exclusive for PS4 up until November when it'll then launch for PC.

Create Your Own Legendary Samurai

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Unlike the original, you create and customize your protagonist, so you're free to choose your own gender and customize a host of other cosmetic characteristics. Based on the recent beta, it seems you can touch up your character's appearance at any time after starting the game. It's also possible to generate a shareable code that other players can use to take on your character's appearance in their game.

New Combat Possibilities

Nioh 2's combat looks to build upon the original in significant ways by expanding the abilities available. Your character's unique half-yokai bloodline affords you a host of devastating supernatural powers, such as the ability to summon demons and even transform into one yourself for a limited time. All of these abilities are tied to unlocks on an extensive set of skill trees; Nioh 2 doesn't feature one branching tree, but several--one for each weapon and playstyle in the game. There are tons of abilities you can invest in to tailor your character to your exact combat specifications.

Currently, we know there are four main playstyle categories: Ninja, Samurai, Onmyo Magic, and a new one called Shiftling. As you can imagine, the Shiftling playstyle focuses on increasing the potency and power of yokai abilities.

In terms of weapon types, everything from the first game is back, which includes: Sword, Dual Swords, Axe, Kusarigama, Spear, Tonfa, and the Odachi. Though, there are two new additions this time: the Dual Hatchets and the Switchglaive. The Dual Hatchets allows for quick combat attacks that can quickly close the distance, while the Switchglaive is essentially a Bloodborne-like weapon that can transform into various configurations, each with different attacks.

How Will Multiplayer Work?

Cooperative play is returning in Nioh 2, and this time you can have two friends join you instead of one. All this has us questioning just how tough the enemies and bosses will get in Nioh 2, but for now, we'll settle for not thinking about it until the time comes, and we're being killed hundreds of times, which will undoubtedly leave us with no choice but to call on the help of friends.

How Long Will It Be?

During a recent interview, Nioh 2 producer Fumihiko Yasuda confirmed that Nioh 2 will be similar in length and amount of content as the original. He commented: "So the number of the main missions is about the same. It's lengthwise about the same as Nioh 1, but when we looked at how long it took for the players to complete Nioh 1, it depended on the player, how good they were, how they played it, etc. So it's hard to say, but when I played the game this past January, it took me 55 hours."

Looks like Nioh 2 will be keeping you busy for quite a while. And if we're counting side-content, it could take even longer to beat.

Other Major Additions

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The original Nioh's world was a smattering of ravaged shrines and villages, which didn't offer much in terms of visuals to make your journey through Japan that memorable. The demons you fought also lacked intrigue and were often repetitive in design. Based on early trailers, Team Ninja seems to be addressing these issues in the sequel. There are more intriguing otherworldly locales; your character is capable of traversing the demonic realm this time. And it appears there's a larger cast of gruesome foes to slay, like a terrifying anthropomorphic horse creature and a fiery cat-lady demon with wagon wheels for legs.

The first game was pretty rough which isn't bad, but it made for some frustrating moments early on. For less-skilled players, there exists a new feature in Nioh 2 called Benevelot Graves. These are essentially a friendly version of the Bloody Graves from the first game. But instead of summoning a hostile AI version of another player, it brings into your world a friendly one that can tag along with you as a companion.

General Impressions: How Is The Game So Far?

We got the chance to check out Nioh 2 at a recent preview event. According to editor Alessandro Fillari, "Nioh 2 has more of what fans of the original would want from the game, and it was interesting seeing just how much of a change Yokai abilities make to the flow of battle. There are far more options for you to take advantage of in the prequel, which helps make overcoming the many harrowing encounters ultimately feel more satisfying." For more about how Nioh 2 is shaping up, check out Alessandro's Nioh 2 preview.

Will My Nioh 1 Save Date Transfer?

Team Ninja has confirmed that you will get a bonus in the final version of Nioh 2 if you have a save from the first game. However, the specific benefits you'll get from loading your old data are still unknown. But there is one entertaining bonus you may be able to get already...

Can You Play As William?

Despite being a prequel, you can play as Nioh 1 protagonist William in Nioh 2. During the previous beta, if you had a save from the first game, you could gain access to a cosmetic skin that turns your character into William. Whether or not this fun nod the original makes it into the final game remains unclear.

When's The Next Beta?

The last Nioh 2 beta took place in November 2019. Team Ninja has not announced plans for another beta in the coming future, but if the studio handles things as it did with the first game, there's a chance there will be a final demo for Nioh 2 a few weeks before launch.

How Do I Pre-order?

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There are two versions of Nioh 2 available for pre-order: standard and the special edition. Priced at $60 USD at major retailers, the standard edition is just the game. However, pre-ordering it will net you bonus DLC, which includes the Hades armor set, a Sudama Netsuke charm, and an exclusive PS4 theme and avatar set.

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On the other hand, the special edition costs $80 and nets you the game, the DLC mentioned above, a steelbook case, the season pass, and an artbook. Currently, you can only pre-order it on GameStop and Best Buy.

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

The products discussed here were independently chosen by our editors. GameSpot may get a share of the revenue if you buy anything featured on our site.

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Matt Espineli

Matt is a GameSpot Editor who, like a Dragon Quest Slime, strives to spread love and joy to the world. He's been with GameSpot since 2014 and specializes in guides and features for the site. He likes to play video games, watch Jojo's Bizarre Adventure, learn musical instruments, and mod GBAs.

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