The PlayStation 5's lighting-fast SSDs makes for a far more immersed experience in both Nioh titles, completely destroying load times when booting or, as in our case, respawning.
Something very cruel happened to us this week. The Stuff editorial team received a review copy for the Nioh Collection Remastered a mere two days ahead of the review embargo. Filled with excitement, and a little bit of fear we dove right into the first title, filled to the brim with features tailored for the next-gen console we’re reviewing it on: PlayStation 5. The fear quickly consumed all of our excitement once we finished the tutorial.
The same happened once we booted the graphically beautiful Nioh 2 Remastered and sped through the tutorial. What have we gotten ourselves into?
Nioh is hard. It’s as simple as that. If you’ve ever experienced the deep-seated rage that accompanies a playthrough of any Souls game, you’ll know the general feeling.
By the time Sony’s coverage embargo lifted, we were still stuck on one of the first demons (we won’t tell you which, to keep our spirits up slightly). But we’re not here to tell you about the emotionally demanding games developed by Team Ninja — you’ve likely already read about them, and extensively so. What we’re here to talk about, is the remastered versions for next-gen which, just so happens, are kinda brilliant.
The Nioh you know
If you’ve ever played either of the Nioh titles, you’d know it’s hellishly challenging to advance through the game. We experienced this in our two days of reviewing the game. And, yet, we loved every minute of it. Even after dying at the same boss for the umpteenth time.
You get into a type of Dark Souls mentality. One where you’ll spend hours hitting your head against a brick wall, only to jump for joy when you finally make some progress. That’s the beauty of Nioh — it challenges you in ways you’ll never expect. But it’s rewarding in its own, twisted way.
You’re dropped into a wonderfully enigmatic land of Japan riddled with demons. Think of a third-person adventure with light RPG elements. It’s not just Dark Souls in feudal Japan — it’s a title that holds its own as a mighty influential hard-as-nails slash-em-up.
Expect a good amount of weapons, upgradable skills, a vast trove of treasures and equipment and a variety of combat options. And that’s before you start learning how to balance it all with a constantly draining stamina meter. Keep an eye on that one, called Ki in this case — because it’s even more important than you might find in Dark Souls.
The same goes for Nioh 2, which performs particularly well on the PS5 thanks to a variety of next-gen updates (more on that in a minute). Combat feels slightly smoother, and here you’ve got detailed character creation and the absolutely grand Yokai Shift transformations that increase combat abilities. This is the Nioh you know and love, but on next-gen — which is the point of this review.
Faster, bigger, better
This is why people should invest in next-gen consoles. Whether it’s the gorgeous PS5 (full review here) or the powerful Xbox Series X (check our review), even older titles run brilliantly for a number of reasons, and it’s not just because they look so good on your TV stand.
Booting the game doesn’t bring about anything really special. Nioh Remastered, in particular, looks very similar to the non-remastered version of the game that launched in 2017. Booting it on fairly powerful TUF gaming laptop on high settings revealed that not much was done in terms of improving graphics for the PS5 port, but you’re not playing this game of its graphical fidelity.
Within a mere few seconds, the game was booted, run through the startup screens and in a cutscene. This is really the true power of next-gen — that SSD-capable loading speeds are remarkable. It removes any need to doomscroll social media while you gather your strength for the next boss. You’ll dive into the game from your last savepoint within seconds, and it’s astonishing, really.
In Nioh 2, in particular, it became clear that the developers really pushed the graphic performance of this game for the new platform. It’s been remastered to put out true 4K at up to 120Hz. Of course, you’ll need a 4K 120Hz-capable display or TV to really marvel in all its glory — we used the LG OLED55CX in this case. And it’s safe to say feudal Japan looks beautiful in this 2020-title.
Nioh Collection Remastered Verdict
If you’re a fan of self-punishment (we’re not condoning physically hurting yourself in any way, calm down), then it’s a good idea to invest in the Nioh Collection on next-gen. The PlayStation 5’s lighting-fast SSDs makes for a far more immersed experience in both Nioh titles, completely destroying load times when booting or, as in our case, respawning. We would have liked to see more focus on remastering graphics, especially in the first Nioh title, considering it looks very similar to how the original 2017 version runs on a PC. But that’s nitpicking details on a game not aimed at delivering astonishing visuals.
Both feature enjoyable RPG-elements and interactive combat situations with a variety of brutally powerful foes. There are hard games out there, then there’s this, alongside fan-favourites like Dark Souls, Demon’s Souls and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice.
- Review code supplied by Gamefinity South Africa
- Both titles reviewed on PlayStation 5