Nidhogg released and was a great game as it was, offering countless hours of local multiplayer for those who could get a few bodies into one place to joust. The simplicity of the game was a smart sell in an industry where the mantra of more is better has divided gamers up. So, a jaunt with Nidhogg is exactly what I needed when it was recommended to me, boy, this looks stupid I thought. Oh, how wrong I was, and this thought carried over when they announced Nidhogg 2; here I am again, telling you how wrong I was.
This is a sequel to a game that was far from graphically pleasing, the original game was basic – which was sort of its charm. So, I asked myself, how could they improve on a sequel? Well, better graphics for one, as the gameplay itself is already near-perfect, thankfully, the gameplay is nearly untouched, as you run at them with a weapon in hand.
You see, you can hold your weapon in low, mid, and high stances, or, you can throw your weapon in ditch effort. Players are also able to jump and sweep the leg, dive kick, and slide at the opponent to best them.
So, what is the point of Nidhogg 2? Well, you will duel enemies, the winner gets an arrow that allows you to move to the next screen, ultimately, you want to land in the mouth of Nidhogg, the legendary serpent in Norse mythology. How you get there is why the original Nidhogg was such a success with gameplay that featured a lot more depth than it leads on. Each matchup leaves it up to the player on how you’ll get to the end, it’s left to the opponent to prevent them from moving forward. No match ever goes one way, often creating hilarious scenarios and battles.
A huge change to the formula is the addition of weapon types – you fence your opponent and try to disarm them. Now, we get to see new weapons like a bow and arrow, a broad sword, and a dagger. I’m happy to say that each new weapon feels fine and offers a new playstyle, providing you with new and exciting ways to approach your opponents.
Players can also limit what weapons appear in a match if you wish to stick to one weapon type, you can, or a strict ranged weapon match for example. Customizing your character is also available, however, this happens before the match starts but doesn’t allow for you to save what you created.
Tournaments are fun and frantic, and easily the best local game mode you can play in, there are things like double elimination, weapon types, and even cheats. Sadly, this is a local-only mode and the lack of multiplayer, if even by invitation only is a letdown.
Nidhogg 2 is not an easy game by any means, surprisingly, I was taken by how strategic you must think to beat your opponent because simply running at enemies will often result in your death. The trick is to disarm and engage your enemy and bend them to your playstyle. You often need to calculate your opponent’s movements and act on it.
Despite all the new changes and upgrades, mistakes have been repeated, for example, playing against the AI is one-sided and the arcade mode is barebones in terms of content. Aside from unlocking some trophies, there isn’t much to do here.
Online play has some issues that harken back to the original Nidhogg, many matches would hang and disconnect shortly after connecting. Other matches would lag and freeze. It was rare that online worked the way it is intended, and in today’s industry, this is a shameful issue I can’t stand for.
Nidhogg 2 is a worthy sequel that improves on the systems of the first title, but, the issues that remain outstanding from the first Nidhogg haven’t been addressed; a shoddy online component brings down an otherwise good game, even though Nidhogg 2 plays better locally, this needs to be addressed to alleviate my concerns.