I wasn’t able to make the most of the high-end PC features, but I still had a good time and it’s a great all-in-one value
After pouring easily hundreds of hours into Nioh 2 and its three DLC packs on PS4, it’s admittedly been pretty jarring to start a fresh save on PC – even if I’m only here for preview purposes right now.
I had forgotten just how lethal and unforgiving the early hours of Nioh 2 can be when you aren’t leveled up enough to feel all that versatile. Before you bolster your custom-created avatar with enough stamina to stand a chance in the Dark Realm, crack open a few key abilities in the Onmyo and Ninjutsu skill trees, and make your weapon class of choice really work for you, this game can be particularly brutal. That said, without trying, I’ve somehow already played for 10 hours. I couldn’t help myself!
Around half of that time went into an all-new character in the first two world-map regions, and the rest of my preview energy was spent bouncing around later missions with a Dream of the Strong-ready save file provided by Koei Tecmo. How is the PC port? So far, it’s been mostly fine – with a few nitpicks.
I would say that my PC experience generally mirrors playing the PS4 version of Nioh 2 on my PS4 Pro or PS5. Which is to say, I’m not pushing the limits here with 120fps, HDR, 2560×1080 ultrawide, or 144Hz support, but your setup could handle it – and I think that’s okay. (Given how stupidly deep I am into my PS4 copy, I’ll likely stick with that until I can upgrade to the PS5 native version in February.)
Honestly, my favorite part? Snappier load times. The lack of downtime is hugely important.
The options are a step up from the initial Nioh 1 PC port, but for enthusiasts, that was a pretty low bar. With a GTX 1080 Ti and i7-7700K, I was a little surprised to see brief dips into the 40fps range in some of the more chaotic effects-heavy moments while unleashing flashy Soul Core attacks on big bosses.
Running at 1080p, I flipped Shadows down to “Medium Quality” and bumped Effect Quality from “High” to “Low.” That did the trick. From that point on, Nioh 2 comfortably stuck to 60fps. With that said, I didn’t exhaustively test the frame rate and I’m sure results are going to vary from person to person.
These are the Graphics settings in the pre-release Steam build:
Unfortunately, DLSS wasn’t available in this build, so no sites can test it yet.
Out of the gate, there are customizable keyboard and mouse (and keyboard-only) controls, though Nioh 2 is arguably a gamepad game through and through. I can’t imagine, but you do you. With a controller, you can choose between PlayStation or Xbox icons, and there are several pre-made button layouts if you don’t like the default, as well as the always-appreciated Custom option. While you’re rooting around in the menu, go to Basic Game Settings and toggle on “automatically use locks of hair.” Trust me on this.
As for my take on Nioh 2 in general, I think it’s largely a step up from the original game; I liked William’s story a bit more, but the breadth of combat decision-making in the sequel is incredible. As much as the punishing Dark Realm takes some getting used to, I love the utility of Soul Cores and Bust Counters. I landed on the higher end of the scale for Nioh 2 compared to other reviewers, but I stand by that nine.
A couple more screenshots (it’s hard to snap clean shots mid-combat):
The Steam version of Nioh 2 is actually the Complete Edition, so if you’ve held off until now, 1) I admire your patience, and 2) you’ve got a lot of game ahead of you for $50. Apart from countless updates that added elements like Picture Scrolls and extended New Game+ difficulties on PS4, there are three meaty expansions packed in: The Tengu’s Disciple, Darkness in the Capital, and The First Samurai.
Let me put it this way: as someone who’s been there since day one on PS4 – well, technically before day one – I still haven’t caught up with Nioh 2 and I’m not sure when I ever will. It’s a testament to Team Ninja that I’m still this enthralled with these familiar yokai encounters and stage layouts to this day.
I know people are bummed about the lack of Nioh 3 (for now), but Nioh 2 will last you literal years.