Have you played… Nidhogg 2?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

The original Nidhogg was a tense, terse swordfighting game best played in local multiplayer. Nidhogg 2 changes the art style, adds an array of new weapons, and in the process makes it less tense and less fun.

I can understand the desire to expand on Nidhogg’s core concept. Nidhogg 2 adds axes, longswords, bows and arrows and more, but in doing so creates asymmetric fights that seem naturally less dramatic and thrilling than the original.

The new art style doesn’t help. It trades the pixel warpscapes of the original for something fleshier, more real, and no less grotesque, but also makes scenes harder to read. Nidhogg occasionally looked like a visual migraine, but Nidhogg 2’s more literal rending of a flaming backdrop makes it harder for me to track where characters are. Its fleshier bloodsacks make the moment of a stab a little harder to register.

It’s not all bad. The netcode is improved, though still not perfect, and I like that the art brings with it some environmental storytelling. Nidhogg 1 still exists, too, so it’s not like the option to play it doesn’t still exist. But Nidhogg 2 feels like a game aiming to satisfy those who found Nidhogg 1 ugly and overly simplistic, which were complaints I personally never had. Your mileage may vary.

8 Comments

  1. EvilMonkeyPL says:

    Many a night spent with friends laughing and screaming while playing Nidhogg… the first one.
    But if you’re looking for a 2d smashy fighting game check out Apotheon. A nice selection of melee and ranged weapons, fun combat, nice maps, great art style.

  2. Viral Frog says:

    I have not played it because it only came out two months ago. I rarely pick up games within the first year of release. And from everything I’ve read, I’m not really inclined to play the sequel over the original (which I have also not played). The original sounds better, though I think the sequel is more aesthetically pleasing.

    As an aside, I really enjoy these articles when they focus on games that weren’t released within just a few months and/or the same year of the article being posted. I have found some fantastic older games through these articles. When newer games that have been covered on RPS already within the last few months show up in a “Have you played…” article, it’s rather disappointing. The WIT for Nidhogg 2 was posted just two months and four days ago.

  3. The First Door says:

    It strange, I keep forgetting Nidhogg 2 has been released, and I’m not sure why. I adore Nidhogg 1 and I had an amazing time playing 2 at a local gaming event before it was released. Heck, I really enjoyed the bigger variety of weapons and the new art style. For whatever reason, however, I’ve just never gotten around to 2. Perhaps I should watch for next time it goes on sale!

    • Darth Gangrel says:

      I came to the comments section exclusively to read about people complaining about the art style. Even with only 4 comments so far I was not disappointed.

      However, I’m pleased that not everyone dislikes it. It’s no fun if everybody thinks the same.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Drib says:

    Gameplay or not, I despite the visuals on Nidhogg 2. I think it would stop me from enjoying the gameplay.

  5. Vodka, Crisps, Plutonium says:

    Wasn’t this game reviewed, like, last month or two? Is the PC library running out of games to have a retrospective look at or is it the world that keeps spinning at a faster pace by every passing orbital cycle?
    I’m afraid soon we’ll have to suffer from a life with such short-lived memory lifespan that Definitive Editions will get their release dates a week after publishing the original title.

  6. poliovaccine says:

    I was never religiously devoted to the first one or anything, which is probably why I actually like the new art style. It’s decidedly laterally different, not just iterative upon the original, so I can see how it would lose some fans along the way, but I think the animations are more amusingly springy and easier to read in 2.

  7. aerozol says:

    Massive fan of the original, so cautiously got into some same-screen Nidhogg 2 action, and I think we’ll be sticking with 2 for quite a while!
    The environments and the Nidhogg designs are absolutely amazing (even if you don’t like the character design), and the bigger and varied level selection will be very welcome if you’ve played the originals to death, different weapons add spice too.
    The combat is less tight though – it seems less instantly responsive, but the good online players don’t seem to have that issue, so maybe it’s something to get used to.

    I would say Nidhogg 2 is the better game for hanging out with friends for quick fun, or for someone who isn’t necessarily into niche indie games, but Nidhogg be the one for tournament play or similar, with its very tight and very visible set of mechanics. It will always be the indie baby.

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