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Nioh 2 adds more complexity, also lets you pet a cat

Team Ninja adds more of just about everything for its Nioh sequel

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A samurai launches a ghostly yokai attack in a screenshot from Nioh 2 Team Ninja/Koei Tecmo
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

The original Nioh was heavily influenced by FromSoftware’s Dark Souls series, delivering an extremely difficult but rewarding action role-playing game. And while the studio behind Dark Souls has been streamlining its brand of challenging action games with Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, developer Team Ninja is going in a different direction for Nioh 2. The 2020 sequel to Nioh will adds even more complexity, more customization, and more of just about everything.

It also has a very cute cat that rolls around like a ball. And you can pet it.

New in Nioh 2 is the option to create a customized character. The original Nioh let you play only as William, an Irish sailor turned samurai, but the sequel will let players choose from a variety of appearances for both male and female characters.

Also new is an increased emphasis on yokai, mythical monsters and spirits that will fight against and alongside the player. When players defeat enemy yokai, they can earn something called a Soul Core, an item that will let them use that yokai’s power in battle. Soul Cores can be equipped and upgraded over time, adding a new layer of complexity and new attack moves to the action, which already include a vast range of weapons and attack stances. One of the more intriguing new weapons that I played with is a pair of dual hatchets, which feel powerful and feature some flashy, acrobatic attacks.

Some of the yokai shown off at Tokyo Game Show last week include Mezuki, a horse-headed demon who wields a massive saw, and Kasha, a voluptuous catwoman who rides on flaming chariot wheels.

But in addition to those massive boss creatures, players will encounter friendlier yokai, like the Sudama, an evolution of the friendly tree creatures known as Kodama, who craves material goods, and Sunekosuri, a ball-shaped cat. Traditional Sunekosuri are said to roll around and interfere with people as they walk, but in Nioh 2, they’ll be friendly — after you press the “pet” button prompt — and refill the player’s meter that lets them use yokai moves.

New to the sequel is the Dark Realm. The player can be pulled into this alternate yokai dimension where extra powerful enemies — and sweet loot — await.

What’s not changing is the difficulty. Producer Fumihiko Yasuda dismissed the notion of an “easy mode” for Nioh 2 during a Q&A session at Tokyo Game Show. But players will be able to summon up to two other players for real-time assistance, or summon AI-controlled versions of other players from locations called Benevolent Graves.

Nioh 2 is bound for PlayStation 4 in early 2020. A public beta for the game is scheduled for November.

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