Nioh 2 returns to improve on the original in basically everyway. Learning new mechanics and staying alive while fighting back deadly monsters is going to be a challenge. Like the Dark Soulsian games Nioh takes inspiration from, this is an incredibly difficult slog from the word ‘go’. After your first fight against an easy goblin-thing, you’ll be thrown into a death-battle against a man-horse-demon thing that will 100% kick your butt the first time you face it.
Whether you’re a returning veteran or a new player experiencing Nioh for the first time, I’ve got a few tips you might want to keep in mind. These are hard-fought, and after eight hours of gameplay (and replaying the original, just to remind myself how this new one is different) I think I can offer a few spoiler-free tips to make your life just a little easier.
I highly recommend running through the complete tutorial at the beginning of the game. When you interact with the glowing light, you’ll be able to initiate tutorial menus that won’t appear normally — get all the in-depth info you can. In many ways, this game is actually a lot more complicated than your standard Dark Souls, so figuring out the many layered systems is extremely important.
And I couldn’t fit this anywhere else, but you will get overloaded with random crap in your inventory. Sell what you don’t need, keep what you like, and don’t sweat managing all that stuff.
More Nioh 2 guides:
8 Extremely Useful Advanced Tips | Healing Fast, Instakill Attacks, Invisibility & More | How To Farm Proficiency & Earn Skill Points Faster | How To Beat Every Boss | Ch. 1: Mezuki, Enera & Yatsu-no-Kami | Ch. 2: Imagawa Yoshimoto, Kamaitachi & Saito Yoshitatsu | Ch. 3: Tatarimokke, Magare Naotaka & Azai Nagamasa | Ch. 4: Gyuki, Kasha & Ryomen Sukuna | Ch. 5: Shibata Katsuie, Tokichiro & Daidara Bocchi
#1: Blocking is insanely good in Nioh 2. Unlike Sekiro, Dark Souls, or Bloodborne, blocking is a very useful skill. It’s better to block constantly. When you block, you block from all directions — and you’ll absorb 100% of the damage unless you run out of stamina (ki). Dodging is still important, but against most enemies, blocking is a pretty great strategy.
#2: The only exception comes from unblockable Burst attacks. Elite enemies will glow red and attempt a burst attack; use a Burst Counter to stun them and deal extreme Anima damage. The best way to fight tough enemies is to bait out burst attacks, counter, and then use a Grapple / Final Blow.
#3: Killing special enemies will unlock their Spirit Core. This gives you a magic attack — these typically dish out extra anima damage or drain stamina / ki on human enemies, but there are lots of different Spirit Cores you’ll find as you travel. That’s why you’ll want to hunt those special demons you encounter! You might get a unique core.
#4: Spirit Guardian abilities like Burst Counter and the Enki demon’s spear-throw don’t just damage anima — they damage your opponent’s maximum anima meter. That’s incredibly useful for extremely tough opponents. You can whittle them down with counters and magic attacks, then go in for the kill.
#5: Equipping better gear is important, but making sure you aren’t overencumbered by gear weight is even more important. There’s an easy way to tell if you’re putting on too much weight. If the gear weight stat menu is green, you’re okay to equip it and still retain your full movement speed. Green is good. Yellow is bad.
#6: You don’t have to kill every demon you encounter. The giant bull demon in the Cursed Village is completely optional. Usually, you can make your life easier by taking on these titanic threats — they’ll (mostly) stay dead forever. But, you can save them for later.
#7: You’ll also find Red Phantoms in areas marked by a glowing cursed sword when you’re online. Interact to summon the phantom — these are challenging opponents that are more likely to drop quality loot. Once you’ve unlocked a shortcut, give these guys a try. They’re totally optional, and appear where players have died.
#8: The more you die, the more blue lights will appear. These are ‘benevolent graves’, and they cost special items cost Ochoku Cups to activate. Benevolent Graves allow you to summon friendly AI partners. If you’re struggling and just need to reach that next shortcut / shrine, then these are pretty handy.
#9: Yokai Realms are strange black / white circles that demons will spawn while you fight. These ‘realms’ allow demons to recharge their anima. Purifying a Yokai Realm isn’t just useful in a fight, it also replenishes your anima. You’ll need as much of that purple meter as you can get.
#10: Use Ki Pulse in a Dark Realm — here, your Ki recharges ridiculously slowly, and Yokai Realms will actively drain your Ki. To clear a Dark Realm, defeat the large enemy in a strange mist. Those guys will stay dead and won’t come back if you return to a shrine. Any enemy that appears from mist like that? They’re gone for good once you wipe them out.
#11: Before a big boss battle, fight enemies to recharge your Yokai Shift meter. It’s an incredibly powerful rage mode that makes you temporarily invulnerable. Great for beating up overwhelming opponents, or just getting through areas you’re struggling with. You can always farm enemies to recharge it when you need it most.
#12: And finally… don’t forget to save! The game doesn’t save your progress automatically like Dark Souls or other FromSoft action-RPGs.