While Nioh 2 is a bit easier than the original Nioh game, it still provides many challenges early on. This is especially true for new players. Here are some tips and tricks to get you started and what I wish I had known before playing Nioh 2.
- Kodama Blessings & More Elixirs: Find all Kodama as you go through each mission to unlock more Elixirs on respawn / after death. It also unlocks Kodama Blessings at Shrines, pick the one for more Amrita (=XP). What the game doesn’t tell you is that every 5 Kodama gives you +1 Elixir on respawn. There are 25 per Region meaning you can get +5 bonus Elixirs. This brings your total from 3 to 8 Elixirs and makes all the difference for bosses. Healing 8 times instead of 3 is clearly better. Nothing else makes the game easier than that! However, when reaching a new region you must find the 25 Kodama for that region again. See All Kodama Locations Guide.
- Easy Starting Weapon = Spear: The Spear is a great starter weapon. It has long reach, yet also strong damage. Most importantly, it has seriously overpowered skills. The “Spearfall” is a fast high-stance combo that sweeps human enemies and bosses off their feet for an instant deathblow. One of these and your enemy is dead. The “Spear Flourish” skill is particularly exploitable against most human bosses and human enemies. It pushes back enemies when you do a Ki Burst, effectively stun-locking them for the entire fight. So all you press with Spear Flourish skill is a quick attack followed by Ki Burst and repeat in a loop. While it doesn’t work on Yokai enemies it’s somewhat game-breaking against humans and anyone who can be knocked back by it. Another thing that works nicely with the spear is attacking while running. While holding to run behind enemies you can do a quick slice with followed by a Ki Burst. You do double the damage from behind. Not every weapon can attack while running, the Spear is particularly fast at this. Because you do the Spear Flourish it deals extra damage. The damage you do in a single fast hit while running with this combo is same as a slow high-stance heavy attack. But you are at much less risk while running around, make use of that.
- Get behind Enemies: You do double the damage from behind! Dodge / run around them.
- Light Armor vs. Heavy Armor?: Wear light armor, it makes it easier to dodge and you have increased Ki recovery speed. Heavy armor makes you sluggish and you’ll be a sitting duck, especially in fast paced fights. Light armor is simply the best all-around armor for any situation. Use Steel Talisman (Magic Spell) for protection. Better to evade and not get hit at all than wearing heavy armor and being an easy target. Ultimately it comes down to personal preference so try both light vs. heavy armor and see for yourself which suits you better.
- Use Magic: While it may not seem the most obvious choice at first, Magic can make all the difference. In particular the spells Rejuvenation Talisman (heals you over time) and Steel Talisman (boosts your defense). The extra defense makes up for wearing light armor. So you get the best of both worlds – high agility and fast Ki recovery speed from wearing light armor under 30% equipment weight, and also a strong defense boost from the spell that makes it like wearing heavy armor. The effect is also long-lasting. To get started with Magic you must find an Omnyo Mage’s lock from an item pickup in the game world and use it to get your first Magic Skill Point. Then you can gain more Skill Points simply by using Magic Spells (increasing proficiency).
- Use Ninjutsu: Poison or Paralysis traps are good supportive tools. Some enemies and even bosses are weak to one of those so try around. A combo of “Paralytic Groundfire III” and “Poison: Gallnut Broth” is my favorite to use in conjunction with the Magic Spells “Steel Talisman” & “Rejuvenation Talisman”. Use Ninjutsu for damage-dealing and Magic to buff your defense and health.
- Easy way to beat 90% of enemies and bosses: Run sideways, let enemy miss, counter-attack with a single high-stance hit, repeat. This simple but effective combo works against almost anything. If you don’t know where to start with a boss, just do that. Don’t rush in, just keep it slow and play it safe. Better take 10 minutes on one attempt than doing 10 attempts and spending 5 minutes each.
- Grind to Win: Getting stuck? Just grind out some level ups by clearing out enemies in a mission, reset them by visiting a shrine and repeat. When you are 20-30 levels above mission requirement you will have a huge advantage. This way you can self-regulate the difficulty by how much you want to grind.
- Boss Strategies: Take a look at this complete Nioh 2 Boss Guide (All Bosses) with a strategy and video for every boss, should you run into trouble with any of them.
- Resetting Skill Points & Attributes: Skilled the wrong way? No worries, you can reset your Skill Points in the Dojo for a small fee. You can also reset your entire Attribute Points via Book of Reincarnation which can be bought from Blacksmith.
With the combination of above tips you’ll have a significantly easier time playing through Nioh 2. Most importantly of all, enjoy the game, play it as you like and don’t shy away from experimenting with different builds.
Need more help? Everything for 100% game completion can be found here in our Nioh 2 Wiki & Strategy Guide.