Nid­hogg 2

Faster, messier and more swords: Nid­hogg 2 is a text­book se­quel.

PC GAMER (UK) - - CONTENTS - By Chris Schilling

Nid­hogg 2 is hor­ri­ble. Which isn’t to say that the grace­ful aus­ter­ity of the first game has been stamped into mush by this se­quel, but that its new art style is mem­o­rably grotesque. If you spliced mis­shapen clay men with Peter Jack­son’s Bad Taste, you’d get some­thing close to Toby Dixon’s squishy, messy, de­light­fully grisly art – a far cry from the orig­i­nal game’s min­i­mal­is­tic vi­su­als.

The best mul­ti­player games are those that prompt the most spon­ta­neous ex­cla­ma­tions dur­ing play and that’s still true of Nid­hogg 2. But now you can add ‘eww!’ to the list.

Oth­er­wise, not an aw­ful lot has changed. Nid­hogg worked small mir­a­cles in squeez­ing depth and nu­ance from a two-but­ton (one to jump, one to at­tack) con­trol scheme. You could throw your sword, jump and dive kick or slide into your op­po­nent. Tap­ping up or down changed your stance and your sword’s po­si­tion. That’s all still here. Once your op­po­nent is down, you’ll still race off to­wards your des­ti­na­tion. They’ll still res­pawn af­ter a few sec­onds. It still feels like a weird, but fun, hy­brid of fenc­ing and tug of war.

If Nid­hogg 2 was to have a sub­ti­tle, it would be ‘Nid­hog­ger’ – it’s

Nid­hogg, only there’s more of it. There’s more va­ri­ety in the weapons, for starters: along­side a rapier, there’s a quick, highly throw­able dag­ger, a heav­ier but rang­ier broadsword, and a slow-fir­ing bow. Ar­rows can be re­turned to sender with a well-timed swipe, though you can re­turn the favour in kind, which can lead to the odd silly ar­rowten­nis in­ter­lude.

The en­vi­ron­ments, too, are dif­fer­ent, and not sim­ply be­cause they’re much richer and more de­tailed than the spar­tan set­tings of the first. Py­ro­clas­tic flow and con­veyer belts change your mo­men­tum, forc­ing you to read­just your tac­tics on the fly, there’s high ground and low ground, tun­nels that see you fight­ing in sil­hou­ette, and rooms within rooms where doors be­come a fac­tor. Even if you didn’t take to the new aes­thetic at first, you might well warm to it as you play. The ex­tra de­tail some­times makes the ac­tion a lit­tle less read­able than the orig­i­nal, but it lends a char­ac­ter to the bat­tles that makes them more amus­ing to watch. Stomp­ing on a grounded op­po­nent un­til they’re noth­ing more than a pud­dle of brightly-coloured goop is just the right level of gross to be funny.

To the point

It’s such a bril­liant lo­cal mul­ti­player game that it al­most doesn’t mat­ter that its sin­gle­player com­po­nent is a bit rub­bish, and that its on­line still suf­fers from lag. The lat­ter’s an im­prove­ment on the first game, but it’s still an­noy­ing for those who don’t have a friend or fam­ily mem­ber avail­able for a scrap. But if you do – god, what a game. You could ar­gue that Nid­hogg 2 is an un­nec­es­sary se­quel, but if you loved Nid­hogg – and if you didn’t, get in a bin – it’s an al­most manda­tory pur­chase.

If Nid­hogg2 was to have a sub­ti­tle, it would be ‘Nid­hog­ger’

A hand­ful of mod­i­fiers let you change the rules.

Clouds is the pret­ti­est stage of the lot.

You can set up lo­cal tour­na­ments.

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