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Nioh 2

Hobo Elf

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My friends, any tips for switchglaive? It just doesn't feel too strong. I've moved over to splitstaff and the difference in damage is massive.
Tip #1: don't.
 

Dhaze

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My friends, any tips for switchglaive? It just doesn't feel too strong. I've moved over to splitstaff and the difference in damage is massive.

Haven't played in a while, so apologies for the lack of fine details. If you really need, I could perhaps replay it a bit to recall how it all exactly fits together, then post something more exhaustive, but the following should at least get you started.

As far as gear goes, here's what it looks like:

- Evil-Crusher Switchglaive
- Full Seimei
- Full Tsukuyomi
- Kuzunoha
- Tate Eboshi
- Kiryoki
- Yasha

I went full Magic and Onmyo, which is sensible given the natural scaling of switchglaives. I put +Block, +Break, and +Active Skill Break on the weapon, then stacked as much Unlimited Onmyo and Elemental Weapon Damage as I could on the rest of the gear. Also, Extended Elemental Weapon and Melee Damage vs. Saturated Enemy on the talismans.

I chose the Evil-Crusher Switchglaive for its Purity, which of course gives me an easy way to apply purity but moreso because I love the ability to Ki Pulse after blocking, given how good blocking can be in this game.

Low stance I don't like since the switchglaive looks ridiculous to me in that configuration, so I don't use it unless I want to quickly apply a status effect—and even then I have better ways to do it.

Mid Stance and High Stance quick attacks are your bread and butter; High Stance heavy attack also since it has good reach all over, and is arguably one of the best High Stance heavies in the game.

Switch Stance: Retribution and Switch Stance: Edge are, I think, the true keys to playing Switchglaive. They can extend combos beyond what is reasonable, though doing so devours stamina like Saturn his son and so requires good ki management (but that is true for pretty much every aggressive playstyle). Things like

– Empty Retribution > Switch Stance: Edge > M.Stance quick attack > Mind's Edge > Switch Stance: Retribution
– H.Stance quick attack > H.Stance quick attack > Cyclone > Switch Stance: Edge > M.Stance quick attack > Switch Stance: Retribution

can bring the pain hard.

Arc Of Chaos is basically your ultimate spin-to-win, which excellent reach, stagger and damage. It can melt enemies with ease.

Tate Eboshi (appropriate for her Switchglaive usage) acts as a gap closer, though be careful in using her as it leaves you vulnerable for quite some time upon recovery. Getting a feel for the right spacing is a bit finicky, but it is a really useful tool when used well, and the last hit will slam human enemies onto the ground.

Kiryoki (also a switchglaive enthusiast) is an overall better-than-excellent combo finisher. It comes out fast, and staggers repeatedly while pushing a lot of enemies back which gives you some breathing room.

Yasha is also a good combo finisher or simply a "no, stop that now" ability. If all three hits connect, you're almost guaranteed to apply Saturated and get good damage.
 

Rean

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Strap Yourselves In
Dhaze thanks for the detailed write-up.
I've gone strength and magic and, despite pushing magic really high over the early game, I always found the fists, which is my preferred strength weapon, outperforming the switchglaive.

It does seem like maybe with a massive ki pool the weapon might become decent like you mentioned, but is the investment even worth it in the end? Range, which is supposed to be the weapon's saving grace seems on par or lower than the splitstaff, which also gives mobility skills.
Agreed on the stance issue. Switchglaive is probably the most awkward weapon to use low-stance for me.
 

Dhaze

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A lot of stuff pales in comparison to fists. They have outstanding damage and ki damage.

Save for the Axe and Dual Hatchets whose movesets I don't like, I've completed every single mission Dream Of The Nioh with a lot of everything, including peculiar stuff like an almost pure Phantom Yokai build and a Paralysis/Sword Of Meditation build; and the Switchglaive is what took the longest time to click. It was by far the least straightforward to learn properly, and it took quite a bit of effort to bring its damage output on par with other weapons'. At least for me it had the highest skill ceiling.

Basically, you can view the Switchglaive as the high-commitment weapon in Nioh 2. Take Wildfire Flux as your Mystic Art, then go practice a few combos that lean heavily on Switch Stance: Retribution or Edge. When fighting, prepare your foe, pick your moment, then go all-in with a combo that eats your entire stamina bar.

but is the investment even worth it in the end?

Properly built, pretty much everything you can think of can melt the entire game. It all comes down to what you like.

My favorite build was Odachi with Purity; full Tatenashi; full Acala; Inosasao as main Spirit and Rokugezo as secondary; Ultimate Strength; Ultimate Constitution; Ultimate Stamina; with Onryoki, Kinki, and Konaki-Jiji for Soul Cores. Slapping every possible form of damage reduction on everything that would take it. Didn't use any onmyo or ninjutsu, and only ever used the Hard-Headed skill given by Konaki-Jiji to brute-force through some stuff or cancel a combo to avoid grabs, and Kinki when an enemy dared move away from me.

It was the tankiest shit you can imagine. I could block the heaviest-hitting hits in the game and my ki bar would not even budge. And if I did take a hit, I suffered almost no damage. I could do a fully charged Moonlit Snow—and not the Redux version!—through almost everything. It was glorious.
 
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Recently got the Complete Edition cheap off a key reseller. Looking forward to it, a few other games to finish first.

Any general tips for starting out? Played and enjoyed the original despite misgivings about the gear/loot systems.
 

Dhaze

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Stats matter very little in the beginning. For example, don't worry about pumping points into Strength because your weapon of choice scales with that; the improvement will be barely noticeable. Arguably that stuff doesn't really come into play until Way Of The Strong, Nioh's NG+. What is important is to meet the stat requirements to activate your armor's bonuses.

On the other hand, even if you're not that interested in them, invest some points in Magic and Dexterity. Because they respectively govern your ability to use Onmyo and Ninjutsu skills, a lot of which are valuable to all playstyles. 30 points in Magic and Dexterity both will almost max their respective Capacity, which is how many Onmyo or Ninjutsu skills/items you can prepare at a shrine.
In the same way you gain proficiency points to spend on your weapon's skils by using said weapon, you gain Onmyo and Ninjutsu points to spend by using talismans, bombs, shurikens, and the like.

Also, don't worry too much about gear. Again, it doesn't really starts to matter until later—unless you're going for some very, very specific things, and even then the effects are minimal. Keep your weapon and armor up-to-date every two or three missions, that's by far the most important thing gear-wise.

In the same vein regarding gear: don't worry about some services the blacksmith (whom you'll meet soon enough, in the second main mission) proposes. Things like Forge, Tempering, and Soul Matching. They can be useful in the beginning, but only to rush the development of certain builds, and you have to know exactly what you're looking for, which can't exactly happen in a first playthrough.

Do know that the blacksmith allows you to re-fashion your gear. For a small price, any gear you're wearing can take the appearance of any gear you've ever found while playing.

You'll find tons of gear you won't use. Tons and tons and tons and then some more tons. You can sell them, which might be useful on the short term. But arguably a better solution would be to disassemble them at the blacksmith, since this will give you materials, and these will come in handy if you ever decide to push into NG+ territory, when making your own gear from scratch slowly becomes crucial (before ultimately fading back into irrelevance).

Managing your ki (stamina) is absolutely essential. Learn to Ki Pulse; practice it; perfect it.

In the Samurai Skills tab, you'll see three called Running Water: Heaven, Running Water: Man, and Running Water: Earth. Get those as soon as possible, since they allow you to do a Ki Pulse by dodging, which is a huge part of combat. Also in Samurai Skills, get Flux and Flux 2, since these allow you to recuperate more ki by switching stances when doing a Ki Pulse. Also, get Grapple, which will allow a special attack on human enemies that have run out of ki, and Purify Yokai Realm, which allows to do what it says when doing a Ki Pulse.

In the Ninja Skills, get Sneak Attack as soon as possible. This allows you to backstab unaware enemies.

In the Onmyo Skills, get Pure Mind and Pure Heaven as soon as possible. When standing in a Yokai Pool or in the Dark Realm, your ki recovery is dramatically decreased; Pure Mind aleviates that to a degree. Whereas Pure Heaven increases the range of your ability to purify a Yokai Pool by doing a Ki Pulse, which is very useful.

Yokai enemies all have at least one weak point. This is generally some manner of horn protruding from somewhere. Attack this weak point and it'll break, staggering the yokai briefly, and permanently reducing its maximum ki. Often, the best way to target this weak point is to use the Strong Attack when in High Stance. Often, but not always; for example with tonfas the Strong Attack in Low Stance has better vertical reach, and that is frequently what you'll be looking for when aiming for weak points.

When out of ki, Yokai enemies will be staggered by every single attack you land on them. This is your opportunity to deal big damage. Of course this only lasts a while. After a few seconds in this state, a standard Yokai enemy will create a Yokai Pool under him to regenerate his ki, while a Yokai boss will plunge the whole area into the Dark Realm (out of which you can emerge by bringing his ki to zero anew, or by waiting a rather long time).

There is a very useful state called Confused you can inflict upon enemies. This is done by applying two elements (Fire, Water, Electricity, Purity or Corruption, the later two being mutually exclusive) to the enemy, who will then suffer greatly increased damage, and be hindered or outright unable to regenerate their ki (depending on them being Human or Yokai).

Pick the biggest chest size available for a female character. The option is there for a reason and each time someone creates a small-chested woman in Nioh, somewhere in Japan, a developer cries.

/e: forgot to add that dodging as very few i-frames. Dodge then dodge in low stance has, if I recall, 10 frams then 8 , while dodge then roll in mid stance has 10 then 18, while the roll in high stance has 20 frames. Or something like that.

If an enemy annoys you with its grab, if you have trouble dodging it, quickly switch to high stance then roll towards the enemy. That should help a lot in dodging grab. Also, some Yokai skills of yours, while active, make you entirely immune to grabs.
 
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Much obliged, good to know a lot of Nioh's fundamentals still apply re ki management/pulsing, bashing horns etc.
 

Dhaze

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Yeah, I know you mentionned having played Nioh 1, but stuff about ki bears repeating since I've seen a lot of people completely ignore its management, so I always mention it a bit.

Deep down it's exactly the same game, only better in almost every single way as far as gameplay is concerned. Also, less one-shots or one-two-wombo-combo in the first difficulties.
 

Silverfish

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My friends, any tips for switchglaive? It just doesn't feel too strong. I've moved over to splitstaff and the difference in damage is massive.

Switchglaives are great... once the blacksmith dismantles them and turns their components into hatchets.

In the same vein regarding gear: don't worry about some services the blacksmith (whom you'll meet soon enough, in the second main mission) proposes. Things like Forge, Tempering, and Soul Matching. They can be useful in the beginning, but only to rush the development of certain builds, and you have to know exactly what you're looking for, which can't exactly happen in a first playthrough.

Forging is actually pretty useful even early on, since forging lowers the stat requirements for armor. Not a huge deal, but a nice way to save some stat investment for armor pieces you're not completely sold on yet.

Pick the biggest chest size available for a female character. The option is there for a reason and each time someone creates a small-chested woman in Nioh, somewhere in Japan, a developer cries.

Ki is stored in the breasts. Few know this.
 

Suicidal

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I know Nioh isn't exactly a blockbuster in terms of sales, but isn't it Team Ninja's most successful franchise right now? I remember reading last year that the devs said that combined the Nioh games have sold around 6 million units, which seems like a good result for this kind of mid-budget A/AA niche game. So where the fuck is my Nioh 3 or some sort of spiritual successor?

I thought the Nioh devs have been working on the CHAOS!!! game but after digging around I found out that the game was made by another team inside Team Ninja that was responsible for some other FF spinoff game and they just had access to the Nioh assets, that's why the game seems so similar to Nioh in a lot of ways.
 

Filthy Sauce

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Pretty sure they've been working on some action game based on the Three Kingdoms. Nothing else is known about it. Apparently a producer from Bloodborne is on the team.
 

Jinn

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My wish list for the next Team Ninja game: get rid of the random loot and focus on more compelling exploration. If they kept the rest of of the formula from Nioh 1 and 2, but with these two changes, it'd be a nearly perfect game for me.
 

Alphard

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My wish list for the next Team Ninja game: get rid of the random loot and focus on more compelling exploration. If they kept the rest of of the formula from Nioh 1 and 2, but with these two changes, it'd be a nearly perfect game for me.
while i agree with you, i think doing so would lose a lot of minmax autists that enjoy the game, so they will never abandon the system
 

Suicidal

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They could keep the Diablo loot, but add things like permanent upgrades or unique pieces of gear with special properties that you could only find in specific places to make exploration more meaningful.
 

Dhaze

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My main gripe was with the difficulties. However you look at it, five is too many.

In Nioh 2, keep Way Of The Samurai as it is. But get rid of Way Of The Strong entirely; the increase in difficulty is almost non-existent, and the increase in loot quality and variety is way too small to justify an entire difficulty. Keep Way Of The Demon as it is, adding to it was new in Strong. Get rid of Way Of The Wise. Keep Way Of The Nioh, adding to it was new in Wise.

You shouldn't need to play through the game four times before finally having access to gear that offers something truly different, like Rock Solid or Death Dancer.
 

Sjukob

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My main gripe was with the difficulties
So far the thing I have the most issues with is how much commitment the player must make. Your attacks cost a lot of stamina, you lose stamina on hit, have to make pauses to wait for perfect ki pulses, the attack animations are almost universally pretty long, you can't cancel your attacks into dodges midswing or change stances, and making a mistake will cost you anywhere between 30-80% of your life. This very often leads to scenarios where I simply can not afford to go ham on enemies and have to play cautiously. Let's say you are fighting ippon datara, they have this attack - large horizontal swing that they can use at any moment, after getting an opening I can not go in hard, because I need to conserve enough stamina to block that or any other attack that might come out, or if I have the timing down to dodge it I still can not go in hard, because the attack animations are so long and can not be freely cancelled into dodge. And this is just one example, I feel the same way when I fight most of the enemies.

Another thing is that attacks in this game have insane tracking. Take a look at katana yoki, for example, one of his attacks is a charge - he runs at you swinging his katana several times. So this attack should have close to 0 tracking, you can avoid it very easily by dodging towards him, but this is not the point, the point is that you shouldn't even be required to use dodge to avoid it, you should be able to avoid it by simply walking to the side, but no, if you try to do so it will hit you every time, because for some reason the attack of a 400kgs brute where he runs forward swinging wildly allows him to basically freely rotate in any direction. The most retarded shit I've seen so far is gozuki's charge attack, it basically homes in on you and you fight him in the small, cramped area, so it's very hard to avoid, it's almost like he gets to have a free hit on you.

I believe that forced attack commitment for the player is very bad and is something that action games should universally avoid, I've already talked about it in my thread about Platinum games:
Great point about animation lock, I too thought that forcing it only hampers the player and gameplay in general. Now that I think about it, they've made it work very well in Bayonetta, none of your attacks lock you up by default, but you can choose to commit to them to deal bigger damage, and if you decide to do it the animation can still be cancelled at any point. And some of your most damaging attacks are combo enders, which again requires commitment, but then they introduced "dodge offset" mechanic that allows you to keep your combos going without dropping them even if you dodge.

Ultimately, I would prefer no animation lock up, no matter the combat system.

"I attacked at the wrong time, so I don't get to deal full damage or do no damage at all, because I cancelled the attack animation" seems way more fair to me than "I attacked at the wrong time, there's nothing I can do about it, so I'm forced to take damage because of that"
 
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Dhaze

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The most retarded shit I've seen so far is gozuki's charge attack, it basically homes in on you and you fight him in the small, cramped area, so it's very hard to avoid, it's almost like he gets to have a free hit on you.

Ok, so that one is actually really, really easy. You'll kick yourself for ever thinking it was retarded shit (I should know: I used to hate that attack). When you see that charge coming:

- Switch to High Stance
- Raise your guard and keep it raised
- Dodge late towards Gozuki

The roll in High Stance has the most natural i-frames (20, if I recall). And pressing Dodge while your guard is raised will make you dodge on a positive edge (when you press the button) rather than what normally happens, which is dodging on a negative edge (when you release the button)—and that gets rid entirely of that short delay between press and dodge, leading to more precise controls at the risk of eating a block.

By the way, that exact same maneuver can be used for some potentially annoying grabs with big hitboxes that remain active a while, like the one used by Yasha, or by Shibata Katsuie in his Yokai form.

So far the thing I have the most issues with is how much commitment the player must make. Your attacks cost a lot of stamina, you lose stamina on hit, have to make pauses to wait for perfect ki pulses, the attack animations are almost universally pretty long, you can't cancel your attacks into dodges midswing or change stances, and making a mistake will cost you anywhere between 30-80% of your life. This very often leads to scenarios where I simply can not afford to go ham on enemies and have to play cautiously. Let's say you are fighting ippon datara, they have this attack - large horizontal swing that they can use at any moment, after getting an opening I can not go in hard, because I need to conserve enough stamina to block that or any other attack that might come out, or if I have the timing down to dodge it I still can not go in hard, because the attack animations are so long and can not be freely cancelled into dodge. And this is just one example, I feel the same way when I fight most of the enemies.

I won't touch too much on the subject as I suspect we're coming at this from different sensibilities—I strongly dislike almost everything about Bayonetta, for example. However I'll say that it's necessary to enforce commitment in Nioh. Or if not outright necessary, at least preferable when we consider how that interacts with other systems within the game.

Nioh 1 was a different beast for various reasons (Living Weapon being the main one), and often required a somewhat different approach. But in Nioh 2 you can absolutely go in hard after getting an opening. You can even go hard without an opening. And that much is true against absolutely any enemy in the game, even bullshit, massively overpowered ones like Saito Toshimitsu who can seemingly insta-kill you on a whim. Only, getting to the point where you can do that takes a hell of a lot of knowledge about the game.

You have so many tools at your disposal that adding the ability to cancel out of attacks at any time would trivialise the entire game from start to finish. Because once you give the player that ability, besides ki management anything beyond attack - dodge - attack - dodge - attack - dodge becomes almost irrelevant. I simply know most players would never engage with 80% of the mechanics if they could cancel at any time.

I mean, as it is you can:

- Slow your enemy down to a crawl
- Make him outright unable to regenerate Ki
- Paralyze him
- Knock him back
- Then knock him down and keep him there
- Stunlock him to death and beyond
- Make him take twice or thrice as much damage
- Use hyper-armor to power through his hits
- Use some Yokai skills to become invulnerable to his grabs
- Counter his attacks with Fang Break, or parry them with Heavenly Flow, or deflect them with Impenetrability or Opportunist, or put them down with Twirl, or litteraly crush them into the ground with Bolting Boar (that one even works on many a Yokai by the way, including Ippon Datara).

And many more options, including benefits to dodge-after-attack like Mind's Eye or Demon Dance. I see a lot of people alternating between phases of cautious play and somewhat aggressive play. "Ok, I'm waiting for him to do that attack, then if I have enough Ki I'll be able to pull mine off... ah shit he did something else and how the fuck am I supposed to avoid that, and now I'm back to zero. Fuck fuck fuckety fuck." When in reality, the game can—and should, I think—be played by alternating between phases of aggressive play and hyper-aggressive play.

Because if you know every enemy by heart, and can in earnest say the same about your weapon, your Yokai transformations, your Yokai skills, your onmyo and ninjutsu, and your overall build, then you become a relentless machine.

The problem is that getting there can take a lot time. Probably too much, in truth. With some weird builds I've played, I was 40 hours into the game before I understood how to be aggressive all the time against any enemy in the last difficulty—this despite having previously played a dozen other characters for a total of over 600 hours, and having done almost the same in Nioh 1. Because when you're almost constantly in Phantom Yokai Shift, learning to properly set up Spectral Swarm followed by Dark Detonation can be a bitch

In the end, at its core, each weapon has only a couple of what I would consider high-commitment skills. It would be things like Moonlit Snow, Water Sword, Pulverize, Sword Of Meditation, Focused Retribution, Triple Threat and the likes. All of them being clearly marked as attacks with the highest damage potential, so it makes sense that you can't just spam them all the time and cancel safely out of them.
 
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Sjukob

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Ok, so that one is actually really, really easy. You'll kick yourself for ever thinking it was retarded shit (I should know: I used to hate that attack). When you see that charge coming:

- Switch to High Stance
- Raise your guard and keep it raised
- Dodge late towards Gozuki

The roll in High Stance has the most natural i-frames (20, if I recall). And pressing Dodge while your guard is raised will make you dodge on a positive edge (when you press the button) rather than what normally happens, which is dodging on a negative edge (when you release the button)—and that gets rid entirely of that short delay between press and dodge, leading to more precise controls at the risk of eating a block.

By the way, that exact same maneuver can be used for some potentially annoying grabs with big hitboxes that remain active a while, like the one used by Yasha, or by Shibata Katsuie in his Yokai form.
Thanks man, I'll give it a go. I've seen people complain about dodge triggering after you let go of the button, but I've never had issues with this myself, feels responsive to me even if it works that way. I went back to the first region to fight gozuki in that mission, where you are locked in the arena with a scampuss, but I killed him in one combo, I guess I'm overleveled for him at this point and won't have a proper fight with him until he starts appearing in later areas. I play with kusarigama and katana, and I've just unlocked light in darkness skill for katana, which does massive ki damage, this has made my fights with yokai and sohaya way easier.

But in Nioh 2 you can absolutely go in hard after getting an opening. You can even go hard without an opening. And that much is true against absolutely any enemy in the game, even bullshit, massively overpowered ones like Saito Toshimitsu who can seemingly insta-kill you on a whim. Only, getting to the point where you can do that takes a hell of a lot of knowledge about the game.
Yeah, seems pretty hard to do, when majority of enemies either have reliable super armor (yokai) or can randomly power armor through your attacks (certain humans like to do that, like sohaya).

ou have so many tools at your disposal that adding the ability to cancel out of attacks at any time would trivialise the entire game from start to finish. Because once you give the player that ability, besides ki management anything beyond attack - dodge - attack - dodge - attack - dodge becomes almost irrelevant. I simply know most players would never engage with 80% of the mechanics if they could cancel at any time.
Well, these are the basics of such games - attack and defend/dodge at the right time. I frankly can't help but feel like the majority of the tools the game gives to you are the crutches. Can't handle a group of humans - throw a bomb at them, figured out that yokai abilities are really strong, how about spamming them non-stop with the help of the scampuss? Even the regular attacks you unlock can be like this, for example, kusarigama pull + leg sweep combo on humanoids. These and many other examples that you've already listed.

The point is, if you know how to play, then the only two things you really need are attacking and defending at the correct time, right? It's sort of like DMC, where you could've brought holy water or some other items with you to have an easier time with the bosses or other annoying encounters, but they were the crutches, the game wasn't designed around you using them, there was even a penalty to your overall score rating depending on how many item's you've used. In Nioh it feels way different, it's like the game is purposefully loaded with bullshit from both ends, so you end up fighting bullshit with bullshit, and if you try to play the "honest" way you're just going to suffer. But it shouldn't be that way, just following through with the basics, should be good enough for me to beat the game, right? I guess that's how people generally view it.

The big issue with all of this supportive stuff is that if you go in hard on that, you are probably going to miss a lot of basic knowledge about mechanics: how many attacks you can do before getting winded, how enemy AI works, which attacks are the best in certain situations, when it's a good idea to attack and when it's not etc. And this might really bite you in the ass later on, at least that's what I think. I'm speccing a lot of ninjutsu and my sharpnel bombs hit non boss yokai for at least 70% of their life bar (and then I drop the big boulder on them, which was designed as a trap to catch the player off guard, to finish them off, lol), I don't use it much for this exact reason.
 
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Dhaze

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I went back to the first region to fight gozuki in that mission, where you are locked in the arena with a scampuss, but I killed him in one combo, I guess I'm overleveled for him at this point and won't have a proper fight with him until he starts appearing in later areas.

Quick anecdote: towards the end of the main story, during one of the main missions, there's an optional encounter against Gozuki + Mezuki fought in a small room. Even I say that one is pure, unadulterated cancer in the last difficulty.

The point is, if you know how to play, then the only two things you really need are attacking and defending at the correct time, right? (...) In Nioh it feels way different, it's like the game is purposefully loaded with bullshit from both ends, so you end up fighting bullshit with bullshit, and if you try to play the "honest" way you're just going to suffer.

Yep, with the exception of some extremely tanky builds (I previously mentionned wearing Tatenashi + Acala as a basis for a powerful build with no ninjutsu or onmyo whatsoever), that's almost exactly how it goes. But the important thing is... it's not bullshit. Not at all. And you almost see it for what it really is since you use the term 'purposefully'!

In any other game, a normal, bog-standard, human enemy who can seemingly decide at any point during the fight that he's gonna pull some hyper-armored move to attack you while you've commited to a combo, well, that would be bullshit true and true. But in Nioh, since you can do the exact same thing, it ceases to be bullshit and it simply becomes fair. (whether that's good design or not is another question entirely)

Imagine you're a general fighting a war, and your soldiers wield swords and shields while your opponents have guns and artillery; that's bullshit. But then you also get guns and artillery; that's fair.

The big issue with all of this supportive stuff is that if you go in hard on that, you are probably going to miss a lot of basic knowledge about mechanics: how many attacks you can do before getting winded, how enemy AI works, which attacks are the best in certain situations, when it's a good idea to attack and when it's not etc. And this might really bite you in the ass later on, at least that's what I think.

That is sort of an issue. Sort of, because it depends on your mindset, on the way you approach that problem. To a small degree I would say it's the game's fault for throwing so many possible options at the player, but mostly it's a player-created problem.

If you think, "Oh you use that bullshit attack, mister Yokai? Well fuck you then; I'm gonna abuse this overpowered trick!" and come to rely on that entirely, then yes, chances are you're gonna get stomped on later, especially in Dream Of The Wise and Dream Of The Nioh (then, enemies become much faster, they get a unique buff called Curse, and their combos change on top of the punish windows closing real fast). Because you would not dealing with the problem, you would be circumventing it.

I think I can see the issue you're having. You come at this with too much baggage accrued from other games. You mentionned Bayonetta and Devil May Cry, so I'm guessing also Metal Gear: Revengeance, Nier, perhaps God Hand? That kind of game, right?

So look at it not as 'supportive stuff' as you say. Because it's not one of those games—it's Nioh. And in Nioh, there is no supportive stuff as it all makes an essential whole.

If you want to play with only your sword and your kusarigama, by focusing only on when to attack and when to dodge, and nothing else, know that it is doable. But it's going to be a pain, and a long one at that. Not because the game is full of bullshit, but because Onmyo, Ninjutsu, Yokai transformations, Yokai skills, and the myriad of idiosyncrasies at the heart of almost every weapon skill in the game are meant to be used in conjunction with one another.

Yeah, seems pretty hard to do, when majority of enemies either have reliable super armor (yokai) or can randomly power armor through your attacks (certain humans like do that, like sohaya).

Yokai don't exactly have super/hyper-armor. Rather, their hyper armor is their Ki reserve. Once they're out of Ki (which they don't regenerate outside of a Yokai pool or within the Dark Realm), for a short while they get staggered by any attack you land or them. And if you inflict the Confused state on them, that state is prolonged.

As for humans who can power through your attacks, it's more complicated since it varies greatly from one enemy to the other. Sohaya are easily managed, while a guy like Shisenin Kosen is another topic entirely. And since I'm an asshole, I'm purposefully not going to help you deal with that by using the sword or kusarigama, but I'll point you to another set of solutions, to encourage you to try a few things.

Now, you know you can cancel out of almost any attack by using a Yokai skill, right? So, learn to recognize when a Sohaya uses an attack that can power through yours, and when they do, immediately use one of the Yokai skills in the following list:

– Fiendish Frenzy from the Yoki soul core will grab the Sohaya and slam him onto the ground
– One-Legged Fury from the Ippon-Datara soul core will crush him into the ground
– Wormhole from the Waira soul core will make you go underground and stay there as long as you keep the button pressed; you can move freely underground, and attack while re-emerging upon releasing the button
– Monkey Dance from the Enki soul core will make you leap high into the air, avoiding most attacks while dealing some damage in return
– Wall Or Nothing from the Nurikabe soul core will make you pancake the enemy (you can attack up to three times per cast by pressing the button as many times)
– Ubume's Cry from the Ubume soul core will push any human enemy back to a relatively safe distance (does no physical damage, but forces most human enemies into blocking; also note that it shreds a Yokai's Ki)
– Brutal Charge from the Gozuki soul core does what it says, and does it well; if I remember right it sends human enemies tumbling backwards upon full contact
– Ball Of Hatred from the Onryoki soul core will make you spin your big-ass balls in a circle around you, dealing moderate damage and pushing enemies back
– Slaphappy from the Onyudo soul core will make you slap your way forward kinda like a rikishi (unfortunately it has finicky tracking, maneuverability, and hitboxes)

There are more options of course, but these are all available fairly soon into the game. Much later, in the third and final DLC can be found what I consider to be the absolute best 'fuck off' soul core: Konaki-Jiji. Its skill will hyper-armor through absolutely anything a human enemy might throw at you, sending them tumbling back, and if you're quick enough you can then dash forward and knock them down entirely.
 
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Haplo

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Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
Now, you know you can cancel out of almost any attack by using a Yokai skill, right?

I guess that's the main gripe I have with Nioh 2. Because of the animation cancelling these moves are so strong, that it feels almost necessary to use them (guess the enemies were tuned apropriately).
Didn't need such "cheat moves" in Nioh 1 (practically never used the Living Weapon either).
And they feel anime-y and anticlimatic as hell to me.
 

Sjukob

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Dhaze
Yeah, thanks, I've already figured out how ki works during the first couple of levels, but tips about yokai cores will come in handy. I've realized that I've been sleeping of flux and "imbue element on a skill" shiftling skills. I thought that to activate flux it was enough to ki pulse by using "stance switch" button, but no, you have to ki pulse by using either "switch weapon" or "sheathe weapon" buttons and then switch stance after you get a perfect ki pulse, weird that it's complicated like that. And "imbue element on a skill" stuff allows you to easily apply various statuses, including confusion, without having to spend resources, other than your ki.


I guess that's the main gripe I have with Nioh 2. Because of the animation cancelling these moves are so strong, that it feels almost necessary to use them (guess the enemies were tuned apropriately).
Didn't need such "cheat moves" in Nioh 1 (practically never used the Living Weapon either).
And they feel anime-y and anticlimatic as hell to me.
I personally find them a lot of fun, they seem like a good idea to me. Don't really like yokai shift though, I feel like it's just too weak in comparison to every other tool from your arsenal.
 
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Dhaze

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Did you know you can get a Yokai Shift grapple without having to actually enter Yokai Shift? You might have done it by accident, and the game does a terrible job at explaining it.

Basically, if you manage to entirely deplete an enemy Yokai's Ki bar while doing a Burst Counter, you can then quickly press Heavy Attack to execute a grapple that will see you take your Yokai form for its duration.

Didn't need such "cheat moves" in Nioh 1.

Eh. You're still eating damage when using most of them, and a lot of them leave you vulnerable for a long time. In the end, it requires skill to use them properly so I'm okay with them being essential to the gameplay as seen by the developers.

Ubume for example is one of my favorites in the game, because it can tear through a Yokai's Ki like a ravenous wolf through a carcass. Use it when standing a hair away from a Yokai during a relatively long window of opportunity, and watch a good third of that Ki bar just disappear. But use it at the wrong time, and you're dead.

A handful of them are definitely too good though. Sanmyo Storm, Hellfire Wheel, and One-Legged Fury in particular I never use; they're just too strong, even the shameless shill that I am feel like a dirty cheat with these.

I thought that to activate flux it was enough to ki pulse by using "stance switch" button, but no, you have to ki pulse by using either "switch weapon" or "sheathe weapon" buttons and then switch stance after you get a perfect ki pulse, weird that it's complicated like that

Yeah, Flux and Flux II stand at the very heart of your Ki management techniques. Executed properly, they allow you to attack almost continuously. I swear, you can't imagine the insane number of players I've seen discard Flux as some gimmick only to then complain that the combat in Nioh is terrible.

Don't really like yokai shift though, I feel like it's just too weak in comparison to every other tool from your arsenal.

In Nioh 1, Living Weapon was basically GOD MODE, ACTIVATED. It was overpowered to a ridiculous degree, even with no build investment whatsoever.

In Nioh 2, I think the developers were somewhat afraid of making the same mistake again, so they over-corrected when creating Yokai Shift, before adding a smidge of oomph to it with one of the DLCs. When you get to knowing it, it's a powerful tool, but it's badly explained and starts in an overall miserable state which doesn't encourage using it. Here's a few pointers if you want to play around with that system.

– Yokai Shift is stronger when done in the Dark Realm.

– While in Yokai Shift, your attacks can cause Amrita to spurt out of enemies. Pressing and holding Dodge+Heavy Attack will gather this Amrita, refilling your gauge a little bit. Another way is to press and hold Heavy Attack, which will gather the Amrita and charge your Heavy Attack faster than usual on top of empowering it. But don't worry, as even if you don't do any of that the Amrita will still come to you eventually.

– In your Shiftling Skills tab, get Demonic Destruction (spend less gauge when attacking); Demonic Tenacity (less gauge damage taken when you suffer damage); Demonic Defense (less gauge spent when defending); Demonic Dexterity (less gauge spent when dodging); Fiendish Maw (restore health/gauge when grappling an enemy in Yokai form); and Demonic Disciple (increase the base amount of time you can spend in Yokai Shift). These go a long, long way into extending the time you can spend in Shift.

(also highly valuable while in human form are the three Special Finesse passive skills of your Shiftling Skills, since these can give you a ton of Health, Ki, and Ki regeneration when executing a Burst Counter, enough to turn the tables around when things seem doomed. More, I would strongly recommend taking Devour Yokai Realm, The Yokai Within, and The Dark Within)

– In Brute Form, your best tool is Fang Break (press Guard+Heavy Attack); it works against almost any physical attack in the game, so once you get the timing right you can stop almost anything dead in its tracks. On the other hand, your regular attacks are quite slow, and not so good.

– In Feral Form, you look like a spastic moron so I don't use it. It's a very good form, but blargh does it look ugly.

– In Phantom Form, you become Giga Chad. Seriously, this thing is slept on by the vast majority of players. Your Light Attacks have excellent range and hitboxes; your Heavy Attack also. And a charged Heavy Attack while your weapon is empowered will stagger any enemy out of almost any animation. I mean it: properly set up you can stunlock the world continuously, especially if Otakemaru was generous enough to drop Phantasmic Burst.

Try as I may, I never managed to make a pure Yokai Shift build—that is a build who spends 99% of its time in Yokai Shift. I don't think it can be done; the numbers simply don't add up. But it can almost be done, and it is an extremely fun playstyle, if somewhat peculiar.
 

Sjukob

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Did you know you can get a Yokai Shift grapple without having to actually enter Yokai Shift? You might have done it by accident, and the game does a terrible job at explaining it.

Basically, if you manage to entirely deplete an enemy Yokai's Ki bar while doing a Burst Counter, you can then quickly press Heavy Attack to execute a grapple that will see you take your Yokai form for its duration.
Yep, but it seems like the optimal way to nuke stuff is applying confusion, draining enemy's ki and then spamming some high DPS attack, like kusarigama's reaper. It's harder to pull off than just doing a grab on a ki drained enemy and I'm not at the point where I can do it reliably, but the difference in damage between these two is massive.

– In Feral Form, you look like a spastic moron so I don't use it. It's a very good form, but blargh does it look ugly.
Feral's burst counter is the easiest to land, I'm still using the default bird spirit.
 

somerandomdude

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The funny thing about Nioh 2, is the game is really easy if you simply use all the tools the game provides to you.

Clay Bell of Reckoning = Summons a tiny rolling yokai murder cat that destroys ki bars of anything it touches, and the cat is also invulnerable. And, you can summon up to 3 of them for a fight. The boss just gets stun locked/ki broken, and you can just mash them down for free.

Even funnier, is I admittedly suck at this game, and still somehow managed beat underworld and depths 30, just by using cats, and using a purity-fists build where I mostly spammed the same moves.

Against humans, you can just spam reckless charge into dreadslayer (puts you behind them) into whatever, and repeat and the AI has no real answer for it. Against Yokais, you hit them with discord using talismans, then you can unload on them, and also use ippon datara. I even set a macro for the beyond infinity combo to destroy yokai bosses after depleting their ki + discord.

There's only really 2 bosses that aren't super easy to cheese, the bird bro dude in the DLC, and nyotengu. To beat either of them on depths floors required me use 3 cats. That's a problem because restocking items was limited, you wanted to get by with just using 1 cat, or running into some easy bosses like nue, or mezuki/gozuki that didn't need cats at all. I considered it a rip run if I ran in back to back floors with nyotengu or bird bro, but the bosses for the floors changed daily, and most of the boss combos are pretty easy. The reason those 2 are a problem is because spamming reckless charge into dreadslayer doesn't work, and neither does ki breaking them into a full beyond infinity combo to annihilate their HP bar, so they couldn't be approached like standard fights.

I also tried the ninjetsu feather spam build, but I couldn't beat the human opponents using it in high depths floors, because the whole thing you made your build for simply wasn't very effective against them, and you were required to melee really tanky targets down with extremely mediocre offensive potential in melee, using a glass cannon build. I'm not looking to chip something down over 5 minutes that can kill me in 1 hit, or 1 combo easily. I don't have enough quick-change scrolls for that shit, and the cats disappear before they're dead.

I'm the guy who also ran living weapon builds in Nioh 1, and while there isn't anything even 1/4 as good as OG living weapon builds in this, the best build is probably purity-fists, or corruption-fists. Fists are the strongest weapon in this game for sure, very well balanced moveset, they're good at dps, breaking, blocking, the whole shebang. Can't go wrong.
 
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Dhaze

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Yep, but it seems like the optimal way to nuke stuff is applying confusion, draining enemy's ki and then spamming some high DPS attack, like kusarigama's reaper. It's harder to pull off than just doing a grab on a ki drained enemy and I'm not at the point where I can do it reliably, but the difference in damage between these two is massive.

The thing is that by pressing Block+Heavy Attack after you've depleted an enemy's Ki with a Burst Counter, you'll do a Yokai grab and remain in Yokai Shift after, rather than promptly revert to your human form. Depending on the situation and the way you play, this can be very useful.

– In Feral Form, you look like a spastic moron so I don't use it. It's a very good form, but blargh does it look ugly.
Feral's burst counter is the easiest to land, I'm still using the default bird spirit.[/QUOTE]

Eventually the Phantom Burst Counter becomes the most reliable. Because in a way not dissimilar to Sekiro's Mikiri, the Feral Burst Counter can be extremely finicky to trigger against some attacks, especially some grapples since the Feral Burst Counter can move you entirely out of the hitbox. And at times it simply won't want to register despite the visuals indicating that it should have worked; Yatsu-No-Kami provides a good example of that. Even with Nekomata as your Spirit—which gives Extended Burst Counter: Feral—it can fail to trigger correctly at the worst moments.

Meanwhile, with the Phantom one, all you have to do is stay in place and hit the right timing.

Also, do note that a good number of attacks can only be countered with the Brute Burst Counter. Itsumade for example has one potentialy nasty, nasty swarm attack (systematically followed by Dark Detonation) that requires use of the Brute. There are also a handful of attacks that can be countered with Feral or Phantom, but the required timing and positioning to do so is super tight, making it much more pratical to use the Brute. On top of that it can be used to extend your combos, which is really nifty.

(...) the bird bro dude in the DLC (...)

ITSUMADE! The funniest thing is when you run a corruption/yokai build, and use Dark Detonation yourself to trigger all the pools he created, basically taking 50-100% of his health with his own traps.
 
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