Nioh and Nioh 2 are the latest classics from the last generation to get remasters on the PS5 and PC. These remasters promise 4K visuals, improved loading times and high, stable frame-rates, along with all post-release DLC. Having previously played both games on a base-model PS4, the jump in terms of visuals and performance is certainly striking on PS5. It is a free upgrade for existing owners of Nioh 2 on PS4, although owners of the first Nioh will need to buy the remastered version again. The Nioh Collection on PS5 is the best way to experience a pair of classic (if exceedingly difficult) action-RPGs on console.
Although Nioh and its sequel bear many of the hallmarks of a Souls-like action game, such as collecting your lost upgrade currency from where you died, levelling up by investing in separate stats and being really hard, they have many factors that set them apart from their inspiration. Levels are mission-based, rather than set in a single, sprawling open world. There is a kind of daunting complexity to the gameplay of both Nioh titles at first glance, considering the number of separate systems that are involved. Each weapon type has a separate skill tree, with different combos related to which of three stances your character is in. There is a Diablo-esque loot system, with enemies constantly dropping new weapons, armour and accessories. Nioh 2 even enables the player to equip yokai soul cores to collect and utilise enemy attacks back at them. It all certainly clicks after a while, but it is a lot to keep track of for newcomers.
Both games definitely benefit greatly from the power boost on the current-generation console. As frustrating as the constant “Freed From This Mortal Coil” message may seem after the umpteenth death against the latest boss, the practically instantaneous load times get you back in the action almost immediately. Depending on your display, there are various game modes to choose from including PS5 standard mode, 4K and 120fps. I played mostly on the 4K mode, which really enhanced the already gorgeous and colourful levels and enemies, particularly in the more vibrant Nioh 2. Although I was not able to make use of the 120fps mode, players with the appropriate TV or monitor should see a big increase in responsiveness.
In terms of the Dualsense controller’s other features, they’re present to varying extents. The Adaptive Triggers give a sense of resistance when firing a ranged weapon at enemies. There are also some minor applications of the Haptic Feedback technology when running through rubble and other destructible environments. Admittedly, it was unlikely that much would be made of these features in a remaster from a previous console generation. They do not add much, but it is nice that they’re there nonetheless.
A great aspect of Nioh 2 Remastered in particular is that the upgrade is free for existing owners on PS4. It is a great consumer-friendly move when developers don’t make players pay all over again to make the most of the new console’s capabilities. Both games also feature cross-save capabilities, allowing players to pick up from their progress on PS4. The base PS4 versions of both games already were enhanced by the improved power of the PS5. However, the jump to the PS5 ensures that players don’t need to choose between performance and resolution; now you can have it all.
In terms of a recommendation for new players, the Nioh Collection is certainly a lot of bang for your buck. With two huge games and a huge amount of DLC, fans of action games will have a ton of content. That said, if you are picking one over the other, I would recommend Nioh 2 over the first game. With its better-designed bosses and levels, and the truly game-changing features like Burst Counters and Soul Cores that add new layers of skill and customisation, it hits that sweet spot of being similar enough, and yet improved enough, compared to the first one to make its predecessor feel kind of redundant.
In conclusion, this is definitely the best way to experience these two great games. For Nioh 2 players, it is definitely worth downloading the free upgrade and experiencing the improved visuals and performance. In terms of new content and visual presentation, it is not as big of a step up as it could have been. If you have already experienced the series, it may not be worth the full price just for an improved framerate and resolution. Still, if you are a PS5 owner and want a Dark Souls-esque action-RPG to occupy your time after getting through Demon’s Souls, Nioh and Nioh 2 Remastered are absolutely a great time, and an excellent showcase of the potential of the new console generation.