Nidhogg 2 Loses Some Of Its Charm The Second Time Around

7.5
  • Playstation 4
  • Windows
  • Fighting
2017-08-15
nidhogg-2-review
Nidhogg 2 is still fast and fun, but doesn't have the same charm as the original Messhof Games

Bigger and prettier doesn’t necessarily mean better, as is the case with 2D fencing/fighting game Nidhogg 2. While gameplay is still as fast and energetic as the original Nidhogg, the sequel just doesn’t quite capture the same charm and simplicity.

Nidhogg 2 may look like an easy game to pick up and play, because it is. Two players each pick a fighter, with every fight ending once one player has gone all the way to the left (or right, depending on which side you start on) through multiple screens of a stage to get to the end and be devoured by a giant, flying worm. It’s very strange, but it is what it is. To move to the next screen, you’ll need to have the advantage, which means the most recent kill. To get the advantage back, you’ll need to take out your opponent before getting the green light to continue your quest to the end of the stage.

All this is identical to the original Nidhogg. What’s different are new weapons, new stages to fight on, updated graphics and more advanced character models. In the original, players could only use a long sword. In Nidhogg 2, there are different types of swords, short daggers and even a bow and arrows, introducing ranged weaponry for the first time. While some weapons do allow for different play styles and tactics, most employ the same “get in and get the kill as fast as possible” strategy found in the original game.

The updated graphics don’t really do much for me. Nidhogg stood out from the rest by not doing retro NES-style graphics, but by going all the way back to emulating the look of an Atari game. Nidhogg 2 jumps a few consoles to instead ape a 16-bit SNES art style.

While some of the new artwork is nice, and a few backgrounds (like the forest level in particular) look great, the graphics feel like extra flash with no substance. I prefer the dated look of the original. There was more charm and innocence watching pixelated block people goring each other with swords compared to Nidhogg 2’s Muppet-like character designs, complete with bursting guts and bones after each death.

Nidhogg 2 adds some extra game modes, too. While Nidhogg ’s shining moments come when playing next to a friend, the sequel adds a single-player arcade mode to test your skills against a virtual opponent. The mode is simply a series of one-off matches until the player has had a match on every stage in the game. The first time I played it, I beat the arcade mode in 20 minutes. While I could challenge myself for a faster time, my enthusiasm for this mode dropped dramatically once the final fight was done.

Under all the new bells and whistles, there still is the same core gameplay in Nidhogg 2 as there is in Nidhogg: Incredibly tense tug-of-war battles between you and a friend (or multiple, with the added tournament mode). Even if you don’t like the art style, you’ll still be shouting and cursing at your buddy, who just lost his weapon mid-fight, but managed to kick you into the ground anyway. If you’re a gamer who has mourned the death of local multiplayer games, Nidhogg 2 is just the cure to get your friends all back together in one room, staring at a TV screen or computer monitor.

Because of gameplay similarities, I will probably find myself going back to the original Nidhogg for multiplayer gaming sessions. The updated artwork just doesn’t do it for me. If you don't mind or like the changes in art, you're in for a great experience.

Nidhogg 2 is now available to download on PS4 and PC via Steam.

So what do you think? Are you interested in fighting your friends in Nidhogg 2? Did you play the original Nidhogg? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

REVIEW SUMMARY
Nidhogg 2
7.5
Nidhogg 2 Loses Some Of Its Charm The Second Time Around
Nidhogg 2 is just as fun, fast-paced and frustrating as the original, but there feels like a little less charm this time around.
  • Same great fast-paced action as the original
  • New weapons are fun to experiment with
  • Not a fan of the new art style
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