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7 ton shark

Why is Nioh 2 so good?

There's a Reddit post that perfectly encapsulates the genius of Nioh:

Nioh is like a fusion between Ninja Gaiden and Onimusha, with peripheral mechanics from Dark Souls, stances from Bushido Blade, and loot in the style of Diablo. You won't find another game like it anywhere.

I was reminded of this post when reading a recent Twitter debate about the merits of Ghost of Tsushima, Sekiro, and Nioh 2, with ardent fanatics of each game explaining why it was better than the alternatives.

I think it's difficult to compare Nioh to Sekiro because Nioh is not the same experience throughout. Playing through the Nioh 2 base game, you are leveling so quickly and replacing gear so fast that it's not even worth looking at, and the dizzying array of stat bonuses and effects just scroll by you as you bump to the highest dropped gear level. It's not until much closer to end-game, when you're playing "New Game+4" (as a Souls player might put it), honing the build that will get you through the Underworld and Abyss, that you've unlocked all of the different equipment and gear affixes, that you actually understand what stat bonuses are necessary for your build and which aren't, what gear is worth rerolling and what gear goes in the trash.

This late-game Nioh 2 is also where some of the best properties of your favorite weapon become visible; my combo and ability setup for levels 1-500 looked very different than what I finally ended up with for the level 700-750 portion of the game, where the unique anti-human and anti-demon and different timing properties became more and more important.

This staying power is why Nioh 2 is at the top of my favorite games of all time -- the longer I got to play it, the more I liked it. I only stopped playing because there was literally nothing left to accomplish that I hadn't already accomplished. If there was more DLC I'd probably still be playing it!

In comparison, while Sekiro is an absolutely amazing game and probably a better Souls game than Nioh 2, the base (extremely challenging) experience doesn't change -- once you've mastered Sekiro's NG and NG+1, you can generally waltz through NG+2, NG+3, and NG+4, because your hard-won parry, dodge, and boss pattern mastery are all you need.