Those easily thwarted by challenge need not bother with this one, but players searching for a skill-based action game that rewards strategy and perseverance might find a little slice of heaven. Nioh 2 is another entry in a genre that's devilishly difficult. This type of action role-playing game punishes players for every little mistake they make and then adds insult to injury by taking away earned experience when players die. Among the hallmarks of these games is they force players to invest time in mastering combat mechanics and analyzing enemy actions, encourage them to learn from their mistakes, and ultimately bestow a deep sense of satisfaction when they finally manage to overcome a particularly challenging boss or obstacle.
All of this is true of Nioh 2, but it amps up the challenge in a couple of ways, beginning with an extraordinarily steep learning curve bound to leave many players flummoxed as early as the second enemy they encounter. (Hint: just run past this monster and come back later -- much later). The second aspect of the experience that some players will struggle with is the complexity of combat and character gear. Players will need to learn how to use a huge variety of weapons, each with their own pros and cons. They also have to master a variety of fighting styles, each with their own combos and abilities, while also switching between low, mid, and high stances depending the situation. Plus, there's the added task learning how to use demon abilities, how to clear pockets of energy-sucking darkness that can severely limit your attack prowess, and how to survive dark realm areas filled with even hardier enemies. All this, and players will also be confronted with a seemingly endless array of usable items the exact purposes of which must be riddled out and tested in order to properly exploit. Thankfully, plenty of tutorials exist to help you learn the game's multifaceted systems, and you can call on help from other players when you're really stuck. And learning to use ranged weapons -- which are surprisingly powerful for this sort of game -- can also prove very useful. Take heart, as well, in the fact that after the frightfully challenging first level, you'll likely begin to progress a bit faster. There's precious little to criticize here for those who like these sorts of games, but make no mistake, Nioh 2 isn't for the faint of heart or those easily discouraged.