NIOH 2 THE TENGU’S DISCIPLE DLC REVIEW FOR PS4. Nioh 2’s three DLC packs have their work cut out for them. The base game was not only long enough and full of replayability, but it was also an incredible experience. Essentially, it wasn’t short enough to “need” DLC and any DLC it would get has a high standard to live up to. Despite those caveats, The Tengu’s Disciple, the title’s first downloadable chapter, is a meaningful addition to the game even if it isn’t a radically inventive episode.
A welcome gut check
The Tengu’s Disciple is only available for players who have beaten the main campaign and uses that as an excuse to start and doesn’t spare rusty players who haven’t been doing their daily dojo visits. But it’s also going to push back on skilled samurai and that’s one of the best parts about the whole experience.
This DLC challenges players by intelligently building on and adding to what is already there. Completely new yokai push players to adopt different strategies in order to survive, like the new crab-like foe inspired by the heikegani crab species that only takes damage on its belly. Some old enemies show up as well, but with new variants that are more advanced versions of their brethren found in the main campaign.
These are familiar enough but diverge in key ways that ensure that you can’t completely predict what’s going to happen. And unpredictability — and the threat associated with it — plays a big role in the success of a Soulsike game. Unchanged yokai are thrown in as well and the mix of old, slightly new, and completely new demonstrates The Tengu’s Disciple’s ability to meaningfully and efficiently yield a fresh yet slightly familiar experience. Levels don’t quite have as much variety as the enemies that inhabit them, but they’re still colorful and designed well with their own secrets and unlockable shortcuts; par for the course for the genre yet still executed well.
A new weapon that’s as sharp as a whip
Bosses offer a more climactic tests in skill and, even if there are only three new ones and one electrifying throwback, are the highlights of their respective missions. The ones that bookend the DLC are some of the best in the entire game from both a visual and gameplay standpoint. Imaginative, slick design draws you in but the exhaustive skirmishes hold up their end as well by rewarding pattern recognition, good reads, and fast reflexes. Fighting them again in the optional missions further points out how incredible these battles are as they ratchet up the intensity and the intrinsic reward you get from seeing them topple from your blade.
Although you can use any blade, The Tengu’s Disciple adds in the new splitstaff to the game. Half staff, half whip, this odd weapon can be a blunt pole with medium range when you need it to be and large flail by holding in the attack button. The three stances naturally give each tool versatility, but the splitstaff takes that notion even further by injecting even more flexibility with every single move. It’s clever and that helpful gimmick gives the splitstaff a unique place in a game with an already long list of viable weapons.
Nioh 2 The Tengu’s Disciple DLC Review | The final verdict
The splitstaff is an accurate representation of The Tengu’s Disciple as a whole. It’s a thoughtful addition to Nioh 2 that seamlessly slots right into the base game with all of the same positive qualities and a small handful of its negative ones, too. The varied combat is still brutal in all the right ways as it’s never cheap and is almost always immensely satisfying, especially in the adrenaline-fueled boss fights. The weak story ends abruptly but, while a disappointing missed opportunity, it doesn’t matter.
The new main and side missions matter as they take the same fast Soulslike and twist it in just the right ways, adding in more variety to a game with already such a great amount of it. The Tengu’s Disciple’s few missions benefit from the core game’s strengths, but also augmenting that core game in return by having abilities, gear, and a new extra hard difficulty that fold back into and improve that base experience. It’s not a revolutionary piece of DLC, but, much like the armor and weapons it adds to the game, it enhances an already-strong and relentless warrior.
GameRevolution reviewed the Nioh 2 The Tengu’s Disciple DLC on PS4. Code provided by the publisher.