Update: Nioh 2's day-one update did fix the issue with 120 fps not working properly, but it's kind of a half measure. You can select the option and get 120 fps, but only sometimes. The game is very unstable in this mode and on my 3080 at 1080p, I would sometimes see drops to 40 fps. Locking the game to 60 mostly smooths out the experience and doesn't introduce as many framerate drops. For the time being, it's best to avoid this option.
Original review is as follows
At long last, Nioh 2 - The Complete Edition is available for PC and PlayStation 5 and it updates the wonderful 2020 sequel to take advantage of more powerful hardware. Bringing things like smooth 60 fps playback and true 4K rendering options, this is absolutely the definitive way to experience Team Ninja’s excellent action title on whichever platform you grab it for. That’s not to say the PlayStation 4 version was poor, but this latest port breathes some extra life into the intense and difficult world that Team Ninja has crafted.
While we haven’t gotten any hands-on time with the PS5 version, my initial playtime with the PC port has yielded some questioning results. While definitely a solid enough conversion, there are some odd issues with Nioh 2 on PC that call back to problems encountered with the original release on PC. Namely, why is there still a 60-fps cap?
All of the features that Team Ninja has been touting as being accessible are absolutely in the PC port except for that 120 Hz mode. You get true 4K output, HDR support, 21:9 resolution options, some proper keyboard and mouse controls, and the menu even specifically says “120” for its framerate cap. Despite selecting that 120 option, the game is still locked to 60 fps. Weirder still, I encountered some framerate dips on my RTX 3080 at 1080p resolution.
Those dips rarely occur and, on the whole, Nioh 2 does run smoother than the PC version of the first game. This is definitely a more confident Team Ninja and I’d even hazard a guess that a day-one update might fix that 120-fps mode. That doesn’t explain why the graphics menu is still so limited, especially since the rest of the gameplay has some rather extensive options for tweaking the UI and controls.
A quick look at the options available for tweaking visual fidelity reveals a fairly locked menu. It’s basically things like “Shadows On, Off, Low, High” and such. Nothing that will really increase/decrease performance much beyond digging through some obscure INI files to tweak specific values. The render scale option is appreciated, but that maxes out at 100% and will not let you supersample from within the application.
The options for anti-aliasing are also rather limited, which results in an image that looks practically indistinguishable from the first game. Nioh 2 is hardly what I’d call a bad looking title from a visual standpoint, but I was rather underwhelmed when I got into the thick of things. There’s a creative and beautiful art style here and the PC port does nothing to enhance it over the original...at 1080p.
When you switch to a more capable monitor, that’s when Nioh 2 starts to shine. I wouldn’t call the HDR implementation best in class or anything, but it adds a ton of extra depth to the image that is missing in SDR. Boosting the resolution up to 4K also allows you to smooth out those rough edges, which works wonders for increasing the ambiance of each area. You can achieve this effect on lower-end displaying by using the Nvidia or AMD control panels, but at least Nioh 2 can look sharp as hell under the right circumstances.
That doesn't translate over to the FMVs, which frankly look horrible. I'm not sure if that is a compression issue or something to do with color grading, but the 30 fps cap and largely awful texture filtering create cutscenes that are pretty hideous to look at. Considering the game clocks in at around 78 Gb, I'm not sure why these files are even compressed in the first place. It would have been better to go with in-game cinematics, though your character model does have its gear changed. There's maybe something else going on behind the scenes, but it's the one aspect of this port that just feels bad.
Having installed Nioh 2 on an ultra-fast SSD, I’ve encountered practically nothing in the way of load times. The first game was rather speedy on a mechanical hard drive, but it’s nice that faster hardware has resulted in a near-seamless experience. This is likely due to the PS5 version being coded with Sony’s proprietary SSD in mind, which probably winds up just as fast. It’s mainly nice to die and not have to wait even five seconds to respawn.
As for how the game plays, there’s a ton of extra depth added over the original with the new yokai form your player can inhabit. This is immediately apparent as the game continuously pushes you to exploit these powers to tackle the boss. It can definitely be overwhelming, especially since Nioh 2 doesn’t mess around. The first level is a real challenge that will test your abilities, but it captures the same tension and excitement that the Souls games have provided for over a decade.
The only way that Complete Edition undermines this a little is that you’ll receive a crap ton of bonus gear right from the get-go. At the first shrine (which acts as a checkpoint in Nioh), if you click on the “Receive Boon” option, you’re given much better weapons and armor than you would normally have access to. It makes things considerably easier in the beginning, though those tools will quickly become obsolete.
That aside, Nioh 2 - The Complete Edition is a solid package for PC players that mostly delivers on its promises. There’s some room for improvement, no doubt, but you shouldn’t find many issues if you intend on picking this up tomorrow. There is no option to save some cash and grab only the base game, but then the DLC is reportedly pretty good. If you do already have this game on PS4, you will be given a free upgrade to the PS5 version that excludes the DLC, so that’s something to keep in mind.
Whichever way you slice it, Team Ninja has done a good enough job of bringing this series over to PC players. It makes me excited at the idea of future games from the studio being better still when it comes to ports.
TechRaptor played Nioh 2 - The Complete Edition on PC using a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on PlayStation 5.