Nidhogg 2 PS4 Review

September 7, 2017 by  
Filed under PS4, Reviews & Features, PlayStation

Publisher: Meshoff Games  Developer: Meshoff Games  Genre: Simulator  Players: 1-8  

Age Rating: 12+  Other console/handheld formats: Xbox One

The original Nidhogg was a fairly simplistic idea, although it was an unusual game and was also executed remarkably well. As a multiplayer game, it offered a slice of competitive goodness, which was as tense as it was exciting as you fought against one another to impale each other with your swords.

When defending yourself against the bow and arrow, it’s possible to avoid incoming arrows entirely, or you can even return it to the sender, hopefully directly into their body.

If you are in any way familiar with the original game, the first thing you’ll notice with Nidhogg 2 are the hugely different visuals. The original game had a very minimalistic approach to its visual design, although its look certainly wasn’t without its appeal. The sequel has traded the 8-bit visuals for higher quality 16-bit graphics, although that is hardly the only difference. The look of the characters has proven to be very controversial for many, and I must admit that it did take me awhile to get used to these monstrosities, but I was won over in the end by the higher production values as well as the rather odd designs of the characters. There’s definitely a crazier overall tone running throughout the entire game.

When it comes to how this sequel plays, it actually plays much like the original game, which certainly isn’t a bad thing at all. If you aren’t familiar with Nidhogg, then it’s basically a side scrolling sword fighting game that has you taking on a single opponent, with you fighting against one another to get to the end of the stage, resulting in the winner being eaten by the titular Nidhogg. You are able to switch your sword stance between one of three stances (high, mid, low) as well, which also makes the game feel rather tactical, as you are required to observe your opponents stance to get your own attacks through. Killing your opponent allows you to move onward to either the right or left side of the screen before they respawn, and if you are killed your opponent is able to move in their own direction. Matches often feel like a game of tug of war, with momentum switching from one player to another. It’s tense and unpredictable stuff without a doubt.

Nidhogg 2 is mostly a very safe sequel, but it’s not completely without its fresh content. Not only has the number of stages been upped, but you are also able to customise characters with a basic selection of options. The biggest change, however, is the addition of more weapons, which includes broadswords, daggers and crossbows. Weapons are handed to you randomly each time you respawn, forcing both you and your opponent to adjust tactics accordingly, with the broadsword swings being slower but more powerful and is capable of knocking a weapon out of an opponents hand, the dagger limits you to a very short attack range, but can be thrust more swiftly, while the crossbow allows you to fire a bow over a fairly long range.

When played online, the game does suffer from occasional bouts of lag, but works well enough. Locally, it’s possible to set up tournaments for up to eight players.

Like the original game, Nidhogg 2 is at its best in multiplayer. It’s certainly disappointing that more improvements haven’t been made to the single player component, as this was one of the areas that needed the most work in the original game. Again, you just go through the mode fighting one AI opponent after another, and I often felt that these AI foes didn’t even know how to play the game properly, as I frequently witnessed them remaining stationary after they had killed me as opposed to seizing the opportunity while I was in the process of respawning. As disappointing and limited as the single player may be, at least it does allow you to get some practice in before you face a real opponent.

While Nidhogg 2 repeats the original game’s success as a tense, frantic and exciting multiplayer game, it’s a shame that more wasn’t done with the single player this time around, as it really would have benefitted from major improvement. The new visual style may also be difficult to stomach for some, although the increased detail in both the characters and the backgrounds is certainly appreciated. With everything said and done, Nidhogg 2 isn’t the type of sequel that can be called superior in every single way, as there’s some things that just didn’t need changed, but it is a sequel that is superior in a lot of ways, adding in even more tactical play into a formula that already required you to make use of differing tactics to overcome your opponent.