Now that the Nioh 2 beta is out, we’ve gotten a proper look at the combat in all its flashy glory, one of the flashiest being the power to turn into yokai, huge demon monsters that can bring down all but the toughest of enemies. But while hitting enemies with sticks is simple enough, turning into a demon can prove a little more complex - and we’re here to give you a full, easy-to-understand tutorial on how to become an unstoppable force.
What are Yokai in Nioh 2?
In japanese mythology, yokai refers to a certain type of supernatural spook in the whole demon/ghost area. In Nioh 2, it’s used as a catch-all term for “monster.” Anything that’s not a human is probably a yokai, unless, of course, it’s a ball-shaped cat.
As a “shifter,” your character can be either human or yokai, the latter acting as a temporary power-up during which your character is immortal, does a lot more damage, and becomes capable of additional moves and abilities. It’s a hell of a power-up, best reserved for the most deadly enemies and bosses in order to keep yourself alive. It’s also kind of poorly explained for such a useful mechanic, so we’re going to go over the basics here.
How to Use Soul Cores
So the first thing you’ll need to do is find a “Soul Core,” special items dropped by certain yokai enemies. It’s not guaranteed that any yokai will drop them, so you’ll be fighting against the RNG on this one. Still, it should be obvious when one is dropped - it’ll be a large glowing red circle that prompts you to interact with it when you touch it.
Once you have a Soul Core, slowly back away from anything that can hurt you and run back to the closest shrine. Dying before you deposit the Soul Core will cause you to lose the damn thing, forcing you to farm for them all over again.
Assuming you didn’t get shanked by samurai, pray at the shrine and select “Manage Soul Cores” from the menu, then “Attune Soul Core.” Depending on which yokai you killed to get the Core, it should unlock a monster-specific special move that you can then put into your yokai form, assigning it either to R2+Triangle or R2+Square on the shrine menu. There’s a lot more nuance to this already-complex system, but for now just know that you’ve unlocked a whole new attack, referred to by the game as a “Yokai Ability”.
How to Use Your Yokai Ability
No, you’re not at your monster mode yet, but stick with us. Once you go back into combat, you’ll notice that stabbing and killing enemies should build up the purple bar in the top left - your “Anima Meter.” This is a lot like a mana bar in any other game, the fuel you need to perform your deadly Yokai Abilities. Press whatever button combination you assigned the move to, and assuming you have enough Anima in the tank, you should unleash a powerful attack, one that changes according to what monster gave you the Soul Core.
As you start killing monsters with your Yokai ability, you should start to see that ANOTHER meter fills up a little every time you damage an enemy with it, the grey circle with a picture of an animal in the top left. This is your Amrita meter. Again, stay with us on this, you’re nearly there.
How to Fill and Use Your Amrita Meter
Your Amrita meter is what you need to fill up to become a great big yokai monster. You can do so by hurting enemies with your Yokai ability, as well as gaining a small amount through using the special Burst Counter move (R2+Circle).
An important thing to remember - if you died and haven’t gone back to your grave yet, you’ll need to do so in order to start filling your Amrita meter. They won’t let you start filling it if you haven’t gone and scooped up your own organs first.
Filling your Amrita meter can take a decent amount of time, the final step of a three-stage process: convert regular attack damage into Anima, use your Yokai ability to convert Anima into Amrita, then convert Amrita into time spent as a growly demon monster. Assuming you did fill it up, this is where things get interesting.
How to Turn Into and Play as a Yokai
Now your Amrita is full, wait for a powerful enemy to show up, then press Triangle+Circle at the same time. There’ll be a deceptively brief cinematic showing you turning into your Yokai form, and now you’re ready to wreak havoc… provided you’re very careful about it.
That’s the mistake we made, at least. Yokai might be scary and big, but so were all the monsters you’d fought so far, and they still got killed by some frowny fellow with a katana. So don’t go rushing in guns blazing, but instead play as you have so far, just a touch more aggressively. Ki/Stamina is no longer an issue, meaning you can whale on enemies as much as you like, but taking damage will reduce your time spent as a Yokai, and getting caught in an enemy combo can end your godly power shockingly fast.
But being a Yokai isn’t just a stat boost. You’ll also have a new attack performed through pressing Triangle+Circle again, which decimates enemy Ki, and your grapple attacks are suitably devastating. You also have a counter-attack called a “Fang Break,” used by pressing L1+Triangle, which when timed correctly can interrupt enemy attacks and stagger foes. Make the most of this all-too-brief window of power, as well as the time spent working your way up to it. If all the enemies are dead and you still have some time left, press R1+Circle to end your Yokai form early, saving some Amrita in the process.
Well done on becoming a true monster of the battlefield! If you want to know more about Nioh 2 and want to try out the Beta, you can find all our details on how to play it here, or you can see our review of the original game here.