Movie Reviews

Nioh 2: Should You Play The Original First?

Nioh 2 is widely considered a direct upgrade to the original Nioh, but it may be a good idea to play the original first. Nioh is a series in the soulslike genre that was developed by Team Ninja and initially released in 2017. The second game in the series is going to be a free game on PlayStation Plus in November 2022, and many interested players may be wondering whether they should jump right in or start with the first game.

Nioh 2 is the second game in the titular series, but it’s actually largely a prequel to the story of the first game. This means that in terms of understanding the story, players don’t need to have played the original to enjoy Nioh 2. Where most fans of the series agree however, is that Nioh 2 has more polish, more mechanics, and more quality-of-life features than the original Nioh, making it ultimately the superior game. While it may seem better to play Nioh 2 first for its well-reviewed soulslike approach, some players have stated that it’s difficult to go back and enjoy the experience of the original Nioh after having become accustomed to the sequel, as the missing mechanics stand out more.

Related: Ninja Gaiden’s Ryu Hayabusa Added To Nioh 2 In Latest Patch

Another reason fans cite for starting with the classic Nioh is overall approachability. The first game already has a fair number of complex gameplay and crafting mechanics that take time to master if the player wants to excel in the game. Nioh 2 actually adds more mechanics, such as bursting, which are critical to gameplay and build on prior mechanics to add more layers of depth to the gameplay. A player going straight to Nioh 2 could potentially find themselves overwhelmed without knowing all the tips and tricks from the original Nioh, having jumped in to the proverbial deep end rather than starting in the shallows.

With that said, it is certainly possible to start with the second game and to only play the first if the player finds themselves interested in the storyline and universe. The challenges of greater difficulty are part of the appeal of the soulslike genre, so warnings of more complex and difficult gameplay may only whet the appetite of soulslike fans. Players worried about missing out on a fairly small number of story elements can also watch playthroughs online, or even simply read plot summaries in order to ensure they understand the context of what’s happening. As Nioh 2 will be the last in the series, players won’t have to worry about not understanding any future games either. It’s not a perfect solution, but many players don’t want to have to play an older game as a prerequisite for enjoying the game they’re actually interested in, and this can work for Nioh 2.

Most fans agree it’s a good idea to start with Nioh before hopping into its sequel. More polished gameplay and graphics, as well as the addition of quality-of-life changes and new features make Nioh 2 the better game, but it’s such an improvement that players who start with it may find they have a hard time going through the first game without those features. Players may however find they have a harder time beating Nioh 2 and its endgame activities without the training from the first game. Ultimately, however, the decision rests with the player on how they feel they can most effectively enjoy the experience of Nioh 2.

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