“BUT WHERE IS THE NIOH RE-REVIEW??”
I mean fair, but I just didn’t get as attached to it as NIOH 2. I didn’t care to play as an ‘actually real’ white dude who became the first ever non-Japanese samurai and whose name was William. Give me the unnamed protagonist any day, thank you.
And that’s what NIOH 2 did.
So now I dive back into it, with the remaster releasing for PlayStation 5. Supporting why I’m behind NIOH 2 as the re-review, it’s a free update for NIOH 2 owners. If you don’t own the DLC, well you have to buy that yourself. And if you own the first NIOH, well you have to buy it again which I guess…makes sense?
As I excitedly downloaded the update, looking especially forward to playing as my avatar again, I had to get around some unforeseen nonsense.
Restoring the PlayStation 4 save file.
I’d thankfully had this on the PS+ server, which I downloaded to my PS5. I hadn’t actually played the PS4 version in a while, so I didn’t realise there’d been a slight change in the options for this. What the options menu now offers, is the ability to save this file to the NIOH cloud. I don’t know, just something corporations do instead of figuring out a solution together, but any way. So I had to download both the PS4 and PS5 versions of NIOH 2, boot into the PS4 version first, make sure the save loads, then send that to the NIOH cloud. Once done, I switched to the PS5 version and restored the save and “NIOH!” my save and avatar was back. A bit of nonsense, for a pretty nice payoff to be honest.
What this also allowed, was time for me to actually notice the somehow subtle, yet noticeable changes in the remaster. The sheer fidelity of the already beautiful visuals felt more alive, with colours so vibrant they slapped me in the face. My character and guardian spirit on the title screen alone, popped off with such ferocity that I thought I was in the final dance battle in a Step Up film. And the loading times! One of the biggest and best changes in the new PlayStation, means they simply don’t exist! I suspect due to the build of the game, they couldn’t get rid of the “Press X to continue” command on the “loading” screen, because on the PS5 there just…isn’t loading. You’re literally hitting X to start playing, after you’ve probably already selected ‘Start’ with X, to start playing.
And this command always prompts with any load, or lack thereof.
While you think it would get annoying, I personally found it quite fun to be reminded of how far we’ve come, and the experience we have now compared to then. Unlike the loading, the gameplay itself remains par for course. Which is good! For me though, it is horrifying, as I’m mostly bad at these games but I try my best! I feel like I read somewhere that NIOH progressively gets harder as you die, but maybe that was another Souls game. Yet it certainly felt like it. While it may have been due to my time away from the title, I ate more dirt than Joe himself. I burnt through my stack of ochako cups as I constantly summoned player spirits to help and just…eventually had to complete levels myself. Which I did!
Due to not completing the title, and with its new, remastered overcoat, it’s been great to go back to NIOH 2 and experience it like it’s almost brand new. While I knew some of the things I was heading back to (my talking weapons!), it had enough new pockets for me to get stuck into.
So if you have NIOH 2, or other titles such as God Of War, Days Gone, Ghost Of Tsushima or even ones as recent as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, then get yourself remastered. You’ll get to enjoy already great games, in even better and bigger ways.
XENOJAY.COM was supplied with a digital copy for review by Sony, and this was played on the Playstation 5 console.