Nidhogg 2 Review, A True Sequel

It’s been well over three years now since Messhof released Nidhogg, a tug of war fencing game. This time, the snake from the Norse mythology makes it way on both PC and PlayStation 4 as Nidhogg 2. So let’s find out if it lives up to its predecessor.
 
Without being too ambitious, Nidhogg 2 can boast a richer visual performance than its older brother. Indeed, while the first used a minimalist graphic style,the second is much more polished in fantasy details and colorful decorations . The backgrounds feel more alive, teeming with details without losing the small retro effect of Messhof's independent status. The characters themselves lost the highly pixelated silhouettes look in favor of a look that would fit perfectly in the saturday morning cartoons from a couple of decades ago. But the most important thing is that the cartoonish style fits perfectly the spirit of the game, and that is a very good point. The risk ? That the pronounced bias in terms of artistic paw does not appeal to everyone.

Thankfully, the original concept of the game remains unchanged. Two players face each other with weapon in hand. The goal for the player on the right is to move to the left of the stage, and vice versa. To do this, you must butcher your opponent and be able to advance. They will respawn along they way to kill you, which then gives them the opportunity to advance. From there you have two choices, face them head-on, or jump above them and try to keep progressing past them (and risk having a weapon thrown into your back). Once at the last screen, the Nidhogg congratulates the winner by...eating him, literally. A successful formula at the start and finish, since this time again, the grip is almost as immediate as the fun felt. In addition, it is possible before each game to personalize your character. An evolution in terms of customization that perfectly illustrates the shift with Nidhogg, first of the name.


The exuberant artistic direction is not alone in the department of novelties. The rapier is no longer the only weapon available (not counting your fists). The dagger, the heavy sword and even the bow make their appearance, no longer reducing Nidhogg to the simple rank of fencing game. An addition that is far from being innocuous as it deepens the gameplay, and makes it is so much better. Each weapon has its specificity, and the different mashups make the battles more tactical than they appear. The arrows of the bow can be shot by standing or kneeling, but can be sent back to kill the archer, the heavy sword disarms the opponent, the rapier allows swift strikes, and the dagger is thrown faster.

And in order to tame the different styles of fighting, the Arcade will be your training ground. The solo mode of the title finds its best use here, because the player confronts the AI level after level, with an arsenal that is expanded with each combat. A good way to warm up for online matches and discover the maps, which also have their peculiarities, obstacles and traps. This is the only real use of the solo mode, which is ultimately rather illusory.
 
But we will quickly pass this side of the game, clearly minor compared to the true appeal of Nidhogg 2: the multiplayer mode. Somewhat plain in the first game, Nidhogg 2 rectifies the shot with a friendly online system, which pits you against friends or strangers for a match full of backstabbing and head smashing. The lag, while still present, is much less invasive than for the original game. A pleasure accompanies another, since the local multiplayer is the great success of the title. The parts are linked together and the joy of skewering or crushing the face of a friend remains the same. For groups, Tournament mode is always part of the game to crown the best slayer of the band, in blood and good humor.
 

A mode that clearly wants to impress by offering many options to customize the experience. Similar to fighting games like Smash Bros, you can restrict a weapon type, activate the Boomerang mode when you throw a sword, change the gravity... A way to integrate new ways of Beat, to move, in short, to show himself strategist to tame the Nidhogg with a single slogan: to have fun.

Conclusion

Nidhogg 2 is a real sequel to the first title. We are not talking about a little graphic and content update, but a profound change in the way we play, enhancing an already effective formula. A game that will remain unavoidable for a long time.
 
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