I wanted to provide you all with some updates now that I'm over 30 hours into Nioh 2.
While I have gotten better at the game with time, a lot of my original criticism still stands. Many of the bosses are simply not fun to fight due to the mechanics of the game being "Master it or GTFO" with no middle ground. Making beating them not feel like an accomplishment, but more of a relief that the nonsense is over.
But for the most part the main missions are a fairly tough but doable design. However where Nioh 2 really really falls into "go fuck yourself" territory is with the side missions. In the first Nioh most of the side missions where short straightforward events, fight a couple of waves of bad guys, fight one boss-like dude, or zip through the level to find the quest item. With very few exceptions, these missions weren't super challenging.
In Nioh 2 the side missions are bullshit. While they mostly fall under the same categories as the first game, Team Ninja has decided to go with a "fuck the player over" mindset it seems.
Now when you fight enemy gauntlets, you fight up to five enemies at once which is insanely hard since the combat system doesn't support fighting lots of dudes at once (Dark Souls and Bloodborne had the same problem to lesser degrees).
Additionally in the missions that act out as short versions of the main missions, they've decided to place enemies pretty much where ever they want. One of the side missions in the 4th area, has a short cliffside section where you climb a very narrow winding path up a cliff. On this path they put a Monkey yokai in the way, a screaming banshee yokai, and a couple of archer yokai. Under normal conditions in a regular level, none of these yokai are tough on their own. However trying to get by, or fight them with no space to move around their attacks, or dodge freely, and you get a bullshit recipe.
And this stuff happens in almost every side mission, as if to deter you rather than give you bite sized content that can help gear and level up your character.
I get the feeling like Team Ninja thought that the players didn't think Nioh 1 was hard enough so they just cranked everything up to 11 in Nioh 2 with no regards for balancing.
I am overcoming the game, but it isn't fun, and it isn't rewarding when I do succeed. I'm forcing myself through it because I'm hoping to break through the wall. The wall in which I figure out some key thing I'm missing, some mechanic or combat technique that suddenly turns this game from frustration to enjoyable challenge.
Sadly I'm just not having fun with the game. I want to, and I want to like the game but I'm just not and I can't figure out exactly why.
Then let's talk about the multiplayer. So multiplayer in this game is stupid and amazing at the same time. It's stupid because you cannot summon a friend to multiplayer any level if the player you summoned has not already beaten that level on their own. Which means you can't experience the game with a friend like most other souls games. Instead you and your friend must experience the game on your own (or with a stranger you already beat a given stage) before being able to play together.
While I do not like this policy, I kind of understand it. Because for as hard as this game is, how utterly bullshit the bosses and some sections of the game get when you are on your own......They are completely stupidly easy with another player. The AI in this game will kill the fuck out of you instantly if you so much as blink at the wrong time during a fight, but when the AI has multiple targets to choose from it just breaks and can't figure out what to do. I've had bosses that took hours to kill alone, stand there and do nothing as three people beat the shit out of it in 15 seconds flat. I've had entire Yokai realm portions of levels stand in T-pose (or demonic equivalent) because too many players in game just confused the AI.
It's gotten to a point where I'll just summon a random player and turn any boss that was proving to be too hard, into a complete joke of a fight.
And I think that's the best evidence of how something is wrong with Nioh 2. In all Souls games the game can get much easier with a buddy sure, but in Nioh 2 the AI is relentless against you unless there is another player with you. It turns an overtuned bastard of an AI into a confused mess and that's not right either. In other Souls-like games the bosses do a pretty good job of swaping attack strings against whatever player is the closest at the time, giving both players chances to be offensive and defensive during the fight. Yet Nioh 2 you can almost see the AI changing who it's targeting back and forth rapidly without really doing anything, as if it can't decide what to do against more than one target.
This problem with the AI also applies to the Computer controlled friendly AI companions you can summon from the blue graves around the level. These blue graves summon a friendly NPC version of another player to fight with you, but their AI is also completely dogshit. They do not avoid attacks, they barely attack themselves, and serve as only momentary relief during hard boss fights or standard level encounters. I don't think I've ever seen one of these AI players do a weapon combo, mostly they attack then pause for a long time, then attack once more and pause. Over and over again, and usually during these pauses they are getting hit by every attack that happens to pass their general direction. They run into attacks too.
So Nioh 2 needs work. Somewhere along the way, the team lost sight of the fun and replaced it with overwhelming difficulty at the cost of everything else in the game.
It's a shame but I'm disappointed in how this turned out.
Oh and the living weapon replacement "Yokai shift" is fucking worthless. Like int he first game you summon your guardian spirit to turn into a Yokai demon for a brief period of invincibility and damage boost to try and finish fights or by yourself a window of some kind. But Yokai shift sucks in all areas, it doesn't last nearly as long as living weapon did, it doesn't do any damage and even heavy attacks do no stagger to anything, and it's only real benefit is you wont die if you get hit and you will get hit pretty much the moment you activate it. Living weapon has another thing it did, when you activated living weapon all enemies around you staggered back including every boss in the game. Yokai shift doesn't stagger, so you have this long four second animation and none of the enemies are staggered so they get to line up super attacks, or throws, or whatever bullshit that by the time you get control of your character back it's too late to avoid the attack and you just have to eat it, which ends up leaving you with 2 or 3 seconds of yokai shift form left before it's gone.