Nidhogg 2 Review: On Guard
Kalvin Martinez / Jan 4th, 2019 No Comments
Competition is one of the cornerstones of video games. From the early days of gaming when players would try to beat each others’ high scores in the arcade to the new, exciting world of esports, determining who possesses the better set of skills has been paramount to gaming. Only a few competitive video games have been able to capture the intensity of the final moments of a close match.
Nidhogg 2, like its predecessor, delivers gameplay that is harrowing and thrilling from the beginning. Every moment and action can be the deciding factor between winning and losing. Each match is a test of skill and will to be offered up the Wurm.
The Essence of Competition
There is no greater test of skill than a showdown between two equally skilled warriors; two people facing off against each other to prove their prowess in combat. Nidhogg 2 is all about the art of the duel. Each battle is about anticipating what the opposition will do, and countering it to land a killing blow.
The beauty of it all is that even with a killing blow, the fight isn’t over. The only way to ensure a victory in Nidhogg 2 is to sacrifice yourself to the Wurm for the most glorious end. Death is only temporary. Every killing blow only gets rid of your opponent for a short time until he or she respawns. Luckily, any strike to your opponent’s flesh is a killing blow.
Killing your opponent is important for two reasons: it gives you control of the screen and allows you to run unfettered.
In Nidhogg 2, the duel is about controlling the screen. Whoever controls the screen can run to the end of the level and sacrifice themselves to the Wurm, clinching victory. Without control of the screen, you cannot run to the next area of the level and any time you run off screen results in death. Killing your opponent not only gives you control of the screen, but it also gives you time before your opponent respawns to run to the next area.
When you have control of the screen, you’re job is to keep landing finishing blows on your opponent to maintain control. Doing so allows you to keep up forward momentum and gets you closer to becoming a sacrifice for the Wurm. But maintaining control isn’t easy. Your opponent will respawn every few feet. This means every step toward glory is a fierce fight that will require strong reflexes and a steely resolve.
There are four screens you need to clear before making it to the final screen. At every point until that final screen, you will find yourself at risk of losing control. Every new screen is a chance for your opponent to take back control.
A great match in Nidhogg 2 is about trading strikes back and forth where control is constantly shifting. One person gains ground, but the other quickly gets revenge trying to make up the lost ground.
In the first Nidhogg, duels were contained to rapiers, but Nidhogg 2 adds additional weapons to keep combat fresh. Not only can you use classic rapiers, but now you can use long swords, bows and daggers. These additional weapons change up the strategy and nature of combat.
Whereas the rapier is a largely lunging strike, the long sword has more swing and gives you the opportunity to disarm your opponent with a well-timed strike. Daggers are for close-quarter combat and make for great throwing weapons. Bows are unique in that they have charge and range, and arrows can be deflected back if you time a strike just right.
The additional weapons open up the complexity of duels. Now, you’re not simply mastering the rapier, but you’ll have to figure out several additional weapons.
One of the coolest aspects of Nidhogg 2 is that you can randomize weapons when you respawn in a match. This means you never know what weapon you will have to use. You must become adept at all of them if you want to prove you’re truly worthy of the Wurm.
Lipstick on a Nidhogg
Nidhogg was characterized by its streamlined graphics bolstered by a striking art style. Nidhogg 2 features a whole new look, but the Claymation-style character models and more complex backgrounds are a welcomed change.
The gruesome violence returns, but it is more visceral than ever thanks to more robust graphics.
However, the stark art style of the first game isn’t lost with the new look. There are now more opportunities to play around with level design. Also, the Wurm is now absolutely terrifying, which makes it an even greater honor to sacrifice yourself.
Nidhogg 2 is all about intense action. The combat is fast-paced and never lets up. Mistakes can be punishing, but you will have a lot of opportunities to turn your fortunes around with a well-timed strike.If you want a game that will let you feel a gamut of emotions and let you show your dominance then Nidhogg 2 is a game you’ll want to get.
If you want a game that will let you feel a gamut of emotions and let you show your dominance then Nidhogg 2 is a game you’ll want to get.
Nidhogg 2 was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by the developer.
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