To date, I believe Nioh 2 has the single best combat implementation of the Dark Souls formula. You can debate about level design, enemy AI, and quality of secrets, but without a doubt, Nioh 2‘s combat adds a satisfying layer of meat to an already incredible recipe. The Tengu’s Disciple feels like a seamless addition to Nioh 2‘s core content. While it adds new skills, spells, NPCs, enemies, bosses, and a whole new weapon — the splitstaff — the best part of the DLC lies in the new levels.
With all of the aforementioned elements put together, what you get is a few new stages of old favorites combined with new challenges. The last time I played Nioh 2 was in April, so I actually experienced some apprehension about getting back into this complicated system. I was level 130! How could I possibly pick right back up where I left off? I’d be de-rusting for weeks. That’s where the brilliant design comes in.
After doing some training missions to reorient myself to the controls, I took a deep breath and began the first new mission. What I found wasn’t an onslaught of enemies lying in wait to ambush me or the biggest, baddest foes right off the bat. I fought what many might call trash mobs. Human soldiers on a beach just waiting to clumsily lunge at me and fall to the ground. This was the perfect way for me to reintegrate myself back into Nioh 2.
Before I knew it, I was taking on old habits as if my hands had a mind of their own. I was using soul cores in situations I always used to, thwarting increasingly challenging hurdles laid out in front of me. The first mission is easily the most intimidating addition in The Tengu’s Disciple in terms of length, but the journey is incredibly rewarding. At the completion of the level, I felt as if I could take on anything.
And then came a boss where I honestly raised my eyebrows, sat up straight, and said, “Okay then.” I threw myself at the boss again. A worse result! “Okay then.” Again. Loss. “All right, that’s enough of that.” I revisited my skill trees, changed out some onmyo’s, and even equipped new soul cores. Gasp! This time, I was ready. When I put some thought, strategy, and care into the boss, I beat it on my first try. This is what Nioh 2‘s challenge is all about. So satisfying!
As for the story, our protagonist goes into the past to the final years of the Heian period, all the while discovering the link between Sohayamaru and Otakemaru. If you’ve played all of Nioh 2 and have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry. It’s not important. What is important is the engrossing content lying in wait to ambush your wallet.
At $10, the price is right. The Tengu’s Disciple offers enough fresh content to satisfy any fan of Nioh 2, but not so much to feel like a bargain. What is likely a bargain is the $20 season pass that will grant customers all three pieces of DLC when each is released. Of course, we don’t know if the future DLC will be worth the purchase, but if they’re anything like The Tengu’s Disciple, then fans can rest easy in the investment.