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Nioh 2 Review

With the many Soulslike games out there in the wild and many stick with the same formula that makes DarkSouls so great. One game took a different direction and meshed three games together to make an endless looting grind, fast paced over the top combat with the difficulty that Souls brings. 

Enter Nioh 2 a blend of Diablo 2 looting, ninja Gaiden fluid combat and the raging that you would expect from the souls like genre. Nioh 2 is one of if not the best Souls Like gaming experience you will ever have. From the deep complexity of builds, to the fun story set in the Sengoku Era of Japan in the early 1500s  that sets you asa half-yokai named hide who befriends many different characters along the way during the upheaval and warlodism in Japan. Nioh 2 takes real dates of the Sengoku Era and characters based on the real life historical figures like;  Kinoshita Toukichirou who later became Toyotomi Hideyoshi. 

The mixing of fiction and non-fiction is very neat to see and going through the civil war era of Japan and incorporating with Japanese folklore of Yokai (demons) is very fun and interesting spin on a real-life era.

With nearing 300 hours in a little over month we got some good topics.  I broke this review in many areas as this game is very complex, in depth very detailed and to just talk about random components  in this game does not give it justice so lets start why we all play Nioh, the combat.

I am making this review with out playing the DLC and on NG + but will put out another video covering DLC!  

Combat:

If you have played any Team Ninja (Ninja Gaiden, Nioh 1, Hyrule Warriors) then you know you are already in for a treat when it comes to combat. Like most dark souls the combat is unforgiving to those who don’t make time to learn the mechanics of the game. But very rewarding to those who put the time into learn the mechanics, the combos the ins outs of how the game functions during its combat and that’s about 90% of the game.

If you played Ninja Gaiden then you already know about the combos, the jutsu/magic and the over top slicing and dicig of your enemies. The combat is probbaly the best feature in Nioh and makes some of the other Soul like games look like a snore fest.

To say the combat is slow is like saying an airplane doesn’t break the sound barrier. It is extremely fast combat, the combos are brutal and coupling it with magic and ninjustu it can get pretty insane and once you get into New Game + collecting divine gear and start making you build it will get even faster. If done right you can drop big boys in a only a few hits. The combat is a huge step up from the normal souls play and tons of fun if you are into fast paced over the top in your face and melt bodies combos. (I wanted more descirptions but lost em)

With the Nioh Combat you have multiple weapons you can choose from all with their own animations, combos, look feel and play style

  • Melee
    • Sword
    • Dual Swords
    • Spear
    • Split Staff
    • Axe & Hammer
    • Kusarigama
    • Odachi
    • Tonfa
    • Hatchets (My Fav)
    • Switchgliave
    • Fists
  • Ranged (yes with the right build you can play fully ranged)
    • Bow
    • Rifle
    • Hand Cannon

Story:

Nioh 2 is a prequel to Nioh 1 and no you don’t need to play Nioh 1 to play Nioh 2. It all ties together and fills you in. While I payed somewhat attention to the story, it is actually decent. As you are a half human, half yokai AKA as a shiftling and as you go through you meet and befriend Kinoshita Toukichirou who wants to make his mark in the world by selling sprit stones(Amrita).

You meet many other interesting characters along the way while fighting back Yokai and evil warlords to gain control of the different regions. The story actually has some really good twists and leaves you with your jaw dropped as you don’t expect certain things to happen. For an Souls like ARPG with a story it’s a decent 7/10 and worth learning about and delving into the lore of the Japan era and the folk lore around the Yokai as it makes it pretty fun to slice Yokai in half knowing what the story around the Yokai are.

Over World Map:

Unlike Darksouls where the game is open and you can traverse the world in any direction (I do prefer this) Nioh 2 kind of does a “lobby” style. The lobby is the over map and you move from mission area to mission area from the over world map. While its cool and there are hidden items you can find on the map, I do prefer free roaming the world and exploring. The mission concept is cool and keeps the game moving and but at times can feel disconnected. An example of this is Warfame, your lobby is your ship, the mission ares are the planets you can select and you can too. But Team Ninja’s mission are blast and moving from mission to mission is painless and easy and really keeps the game flowing. Some missions are great for items while others are great for farming.

Leveling Up:

This is where Nioh and other Souls games differ and I kind of like it. In Nioh series you get Amrita (Souls) and gold for buying items, crafting, respeccing etc… Where Amrita is ONLY for leveling your character up. Like souls games, if you die you have chance to get your Amrita and if you die along the way you lose it for good. They do make it so you can find Summoner Candles and Summon your spirit Guardian back to you and all your Amirta. 

Like most soul games, each stat ties to armor and weapons’ as well as your magic and ninjutsu. Scaling and leveling up is a whole separate video, but I really like the way Team Ninja took the approach of separating Gold and XP to ensure you can have one resource for leveling up and another resource for crafting, buying items and components.

Crafting:

After you beat the mission The Beast Born of Smoke and Flames  you then unlock the black smith. From here you can buy, sell, forget equipment, soul forge (make your equipment stronger), you can use soul forging to over write inheritance or add new ones, you can also temper, change move specials effects from gear and armor to compliment your build as well as remodel which lets you change your equipment to scale off of familiarity, your main weapon stat or if you are using a sword which scales vial heart build dumping into dexterity for a ninjutsu build you can have your sword scale of a DEX instead.

The crafting system is fun unique, and you will spend a lot of your time here praying to RNGesus as you role for certain tempers or forging new weapons etc. As you use  the blacksmith services more you will get patronage points which can be used to reduce costs, increase rare finds, and use patronage points to soul forge instead of gold. Careful soul forging, its expensive and the way you need to upgrade divine gear, you’ll go broke fast! (more on crafting and upgrading divine gear at a later time)

To craft new weapons & armor you will be farming for smithing texts. These will come from missions rewards, boss drops and some enemies so you can craft that weapon you want and then role for the stats you want it to perfect your build.

Builds:

So I keep throwing the word “Builds” around so lets jump into these. Builds are the bread and butter of Nioh 2 and well usually the bread and butter of any ARPG that has stats, loots and an endless grind to obtain the ULTIMATE POWER OF THE GODS!

But to be real, builds are everything and almost anything is workable, ill be putting out my own build videos soon as I am working on a hatchet build I am in love with. But also build videos in a game like this are subjective and there are so many ways to make a sword or hatchet or fist build that one way is not better than the other.

 So don’t let a video that says OMG THE BEST 1MIL DMG SWORD BUILD EVERRRRRR! Sway you into playing that way, as some builds are cheesy and while its cool to fart (Tesso) and kill a boss, you lose a lot of what makes Nioh 2 great. That’s the combat and fun, maybe farting on a boss and killing them is your thing, who am I tell you how to play. All I am saying is look at different ways to play, and Nioh 2 when it comes to builds is all about experimenting, there are so any resources (I will leave them down below) to star your own build and play and see what you like instead of finding the OMG THE BEST 1MIL DMG SWORD BUILD EVERRRRRR!

Enjoy the game and experiments builds can be the best part of the game if you take time to understand the complex systems, and look for the synergy between the different stats, weapons, armors and items. You may find yourself building a Ice/Fire build where you saturate an enemy and load up fire dmg and fire dots to burn their health way. Either way just experiment, the game gives you many ways to respec. (Book of recantations from the BS tea house (didn’t cover here), missions and drops) do note that buying them from the tea house or BS does make the price go up A LOT! But you can get them from missions so don’t fret. Again all I can say is play with all the weapons on your first play through, keep a balanced stat sheet as you go to wear different armor, play different weapons, use magic and ninjutsu and see what matches to you.. Not – OMG THE BEST 1MIL DMG SWORD BUILD EVERRRRRR! 

Conclusion:

In my opinion Nioh 2 is the best souls like game even surpassing Nioh 1. Team Ninja came in swung and hit a grand slam. That’s not to say the game doesn’t have its issues, cause it does. Farming revenants for builds, RNG is a nightmare, but from the ground up Nioh 2 is something that the other clones can’t catch up with and while they are all great games, having played many of them. From Dark Souls to Code Vein (Dark Souls Light) it’s in a leauge of its own, so if you need to satisfy that Ninja Gaiden combat while waiting on the remaster of Ninja Gaiden Nioh is your game. Or maybe you need an endless loot grind or maybe you need a new game to make you  rage and snap some controllers and punch some monitors. Then Nioh 2 is for you, go check it you, won’t be disappointed its really the best souls like game out there and the builds are so much fun. If you grab it or have on PC add me on steam Ryven Brodragon and I will gladly run missions, help you out and answer as a many questions as I can. Make sure to comment down below with your thoughts on Nioh 2 and your favorite weapon and boss fight.

I appreciate you all thanks for reading and I will catch you next time, peace out Brodragons!

FFXIV 0

Is Final Fantasy XIV Worth Playing?

At the time, Its 2020 and the MMORPG genre is kind of stale, while there are many titles to choose from and play. They are all kind of redundant and need more innovation then a copy and paste from other games. 

Save for one… Final Fantasy XIV, with an abysmal launch (I know Square Enix is never going to live that down) then after the servers being brought down and an amazing recovery with Final Fantasy: A Realm Reborn, years later is the #1 pay to play MMORPG om the market.

But is it worth playing? While there is a plethora of content to do, friends to be made is the game all the way from lvl 1-80 and hundreds of hours in story quests worth it?

Let’s find out!

The Story:

Final Fantasy XIV is probably one of if not the best MMORPG to fully immerse you into a story and make you character feel like they are the sole hero of Eorzea. With the Main Story Quest (MSQ) being a continuous story and each patch major or small along with the expansion builds on it. The story is never dull, it will have its slow boringish parts and fillers to build up other tensions  and talk about many different topics and events that are happening across Eorzea and beyond.

The story is done right and if you are a Final Fantasy fan, you won’t be disappointed. With ShadowBringers (ShB), this FFXIV story is one of the best in the series in a long time.  So if you are looking for an MMORPG with a consistent story that is engaging as it is memorable you are in the right place.

The Combat:

FFXIV has slower combat than most MMORPGs out there, the default GCD (Global Cool Down) is 2.50 seconds where games like WoW have 1.5 second GCD so the game in turn feels faster and more responsive.  (I know many will argue this changed with BFA because of the many added abilities to the 1.5 GCD slowing the game down in general, but it’s still faster overall then FFXIV).

But in FFXIV as you level up and get stronger you get many abilities at that are OGCD (Off The Global Cool Down) So while you wait for your next GCD to refresh you can cast other spells and abilities in between and the combat eventually balances out, feels fast and fun. If you are still not enjoying it, It may also depend on the battle class you are playing. I recommend playing all the basic classes/jobs to 30 and get a feel for what you like. Overall the combat is much slower than your other MMOs and that can be annoying but at the same time it makes it feel a little more strategic and lets you plan accordingly for your rotation then just face rolling your keyboard.

The Class System:

FFXIV is pretty unique when it comes to how it handles the class system. You can play every class all on one character, so instead of leveling ALT characters you are leveling ALT classes (jobs for the advanced classes, monk, bard, paladin etc..) while it’s the same thing you don’t need to log out and log back in. You make a gear set and you can go from Paladin to Dragoon as in a click of a button! (That was Easy!)

This is done by the weapons, the weapons choose who you will be, if you equip a sword you are a gladiator (GLA), if you equip a bow you are an archer (ARC), if you equip a rod you are a conjurer (CNJ). These classes can then be leveled to 30 and take on their respective Job. GLA becomes a Paladin (PLD), ARC becomes a Bard (BRD) and a CNJ becomes a White Mage (WHM). This just lets you move freely through the game, staying immersed and not having to make that 90 – 120 second log out / log in to swap classes. The classes and the jobs in the game all feel amazing and different from each other. They have been streamlined a little in ShadowBringers they still have great class fantasy to them and while they are some abilities that may be similar they do feel and act differently.  So if you are looking for a class system that is fully immersive and lets you swap from DPS to a Tank with a click of a button, then FFXIV is for you.

Crafting/Gathering:

I lost interest in crafting in MMOs over the years, as they always felt like they were an add-on to the game and not a part of the game itself. This is where FFXIV differs, if you are into crafting, whether it be cooking, making potions, selling armor, or gathering mats. FFXIV brings crafting like you never seen it before. It has its own story lines, the biggest con I have with it is that it’s a grind, but a rewarded grind if you know what you want to get out of it.

Crafting provides fun quests and systems and you can get some great items from farming scripts which are like tokens you would get if you were raiding on your main battle class. You can use these to buy master recipes or different gear for glamour etc..

As mentioned crafting is a grind, and it can be confusing as it can be rewarding. If you end up able to buy house or an apartment, you can be a carpenter or goldsmith to create and build different frames, couches etc for your home and furnish it. The crafting scene is its own game and is really standalone from the battle classes and has its own unique systems and abilities to learn / master. I recommend taking crafting classes to level 30 so you can gain wonderful cross-class skills. But overall if you are someone who enjoys crafting and felt like games have been lacking in this area, FFXIV does a pretty good job, while its not perfect and there is certainly remove for improvement, but it’s a fun system and one of the better ones out there.

If you are someone who enjoys feeding their crafting addiction you can pick up Fishing (FSH), Mining (MIN) and Botany (BTN). Fishing is very focused on RNG and is really annoying while trying to get X fish for a recipe or quest.. MIN is very grind heavy and will have you smacking the same rocks over and till you collect the 100 ore/rock you need. Botany is the least annoying of the 3 and is the most relaxing IMO, but definitely grab them as they too provide their own story lines and allows to explore Eorzea in different ways.

Dungeons/Raids/Trials:

The meat and potatoes of the battle classes. As you progress the MSQ you will come across BLUE quests with a plus sign next to them, DO THESE. Some will open extra features, others will be dungeons, raids and trials. They are not long quest lines but will allow extra dungeons to be ran, so do the blue.

Dungeons in FFXIV are very well designed, can be very mechanic heavy and really fun. So if you enjoy Dungeoneering FFXIV does this right. Each dungeon in the game has its own lore and quest lines, so if you are into that as well you will get even more story. On top of the normal mode dungeons you will be for the MSQ or side quests, as you progress you come across more blue quests, that will unlock hard modes for an extra challenge and better gear to increase your ilvl and get cool looking gear.  After you complete Dungeons you get tomestones, these can be used for certain gear, items and many other things you can buy at NPCs. Save em for something good!

Raiding in FFXIV are fun, not as trash heavy as other games, some parts of certain raids, will have puzzles or things you need to do while you fight some mobs and then move on to the boss. Raids are side quests (BLUE QUESTS) that tie into the MSQs. Usually to access some raids you have to complete certain parts of MSQs be a certain and be a certain ilvl. If you are using the Roulette it is recommended that you look over a guide before you blindly tank, DPS or heal if it is your first time. Check out MTQ, she makes amazing guides, they are extremely on point and high quality.  Raiding also provides items and tomestones that will be used to buy gear, weapons and other items. As you finish the normal modes you can do the blues to unlock savage content for harder fights and challenging rewards.

Alliance raids, these are the 24 man raids in FFXIV and usually tie directly into the MSQ some way or another it is recommended that you do the Crystal Tower Alliance raid because it ties into the ShadowBringers xpac, also do the StormBlood Ivalice as these raids tie into the new relic quest released in 5.2.5. In 5.3 the Crystal Tower Alliance raid will be mandatory because of how tightly it ties into the ShB expansion. These raids are fun, require coordination with your 3 groups of 8 and the mechanics are fun. These raids can provide some great gear whether for upgrades or just using it for looks. They are longer then your normal 8 player raids, but I find them much more fun and rewarding.

Trials are I think everyone’s favorites as you are fighting familiar summons from the FF series, like Ifrit, Gilgamesh, Bahumat etc…  This is a one boss fight type deal, and you unlock many of these in your journeys as you play through the MSQ and do the blues. Trials have a few modes Normal, Hard and Extreme. The newer expansions StromBlood and ShadowBringers did away with the hard mode and moved right to extreme, probably because making three versions of the same fight was the developers own raid boss in itself.  Extreme versions of the trials are where its at, from awesome weapon drops and mounts you to an amazing challenge to test how good you are at your class as well as coordinating with your team. At max level and decent gear you can solo older content to get weapons for glamour(Transmog) possibly minions and mounts.

Overall these areas of FFXIV provide fun and challenging content, having a group to go at this weekly and bring down some of the hardest content in the game is a lot of fun. I think raiding is the least impressive of the three, I enjoy the stories and the aesthetics of the non-alliance raids but feel like something is missing and could use some extra work to bring it up to par with the trials and alliance raids.

Glamour System:

If you have played World of Warcraft or Warframe then you know that the true end game is Transmogging and Fashion Framing. This is no different here with the Glamour systems in FFXIV. While it is not as intuitive as WoWs Transmogging system and glamouring really becomes inventory Tetris especially if you are playing multiple battle, crafting or gather classes on one character.  You get an Armiore you can store seasonal, Artifact and other special clothing in it. You also get a Glamour chest, where you can turn gear into a glamour piece and store it here and edit the glamour using the glamour plates. This is using prisms to glam the armor you want on to plates so every time you change your armor as long as you have prisms you can on the fly change back to your pretty glam.  This system is great, but needs some work and if they could work in the transmogging system that WoW has with the glamour plate system it would make this the almost perfect system.

Player Housing:

Housing is another area that is amazing,  you can rent buy an apartment, small, medium or large house (Good luck finding plots to build a house). You can also make a Free Company(guild) and have a FC house. The housing system is extensive and I have not really dabbled in it much, but this ties back to crafting where you can make outside items, indoor items and much, much more to make your dream house in game. Some of the best housing system I’ve seen in a MMO.

Social:

Final Fantasy XIV has a very big social aspect to the game. You can Join a Free Company that is purely social or crafting, join a link shell that focuses on high trials and raids, join a Cross-World Link shell that is part of the same data center (Aether / Fairie) and chat or make groups with your friends on Gilgamesh Server. You join a fellowship, that can be a mix of all everything mentioned. While I like the idea, I feel it’s a little much. You can join 8 link shell, 8 CWLS, 1 FC and 10 fellowships, each can have 500-1000+ members. I guess this is great if you got multiple things going and have many interested parties, or players are looking to get a little bit of everything. The Community in FFXIV is probably the nicest and most helpful I have ever had the pleasure to be a part of. There is something here for everyone.

Overall:

There is still so much to cover and I plan on doing a much bigger full FFXIV beginners guide to cover everything in much more detail. FFXIV is an MMORPG that really has almost something for everyone, there is no true end-game, FFXIV end-game is what you make the experience. If you want to be an expert crafter, or an expert Healer there is no wrong way to play and experience the game.  It’s not without its issues and needs some changes and fixes to better certain areas of the game. But in terms of pay to play, you will get the most bang for your buck.

So is FFXIV worth playing in 2020? Yes, whether you are in it for the social aspect, hard core grind or trying to find the best outfit for a Saturday night out at the Gold Saucer there is no lack of content and always something to be done, FFXIV is well worth the hundreds of hours of play.

 SquareEnix is so sure that you will love the game and want to play and have a free trial up to level 35. You can play all the base classes and then level to their advanced jobs and then get through a good amount of the MSQ and side quests. If that’s not a great a deal I don’t know it is.