Every now and then, a “simple” port can be enough to get excited about a new release. This week, there are two of those, as we check out Nioh 2 in the Complete Collection on PC and the Nintendo Switch port of Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption.
Nioh 2 – Complete Collection (PC)
We’ve enjoyed Nioh 2 on the PlayStation 4 since it came out just under a year ago, which is probably no surprise if you’ve read our review of the base game, or even our looks at some of the post-release DLC here and here. What also wasn’t a surprise was that the game has now come to the PC, because the original Nioh was also ported after an initial period of PS4 exclusivity.
The first Nioh wasn’t the best port when it came to its performance and visual options though, so our main focus when playing Nioh 2 on the PC was to see how the porting process fared this time around. After all, we’d already covered the game’s contents extensively, and the PC port does not feature any content that’s new or exclusive to this version. If you already had the PS4 version, then it’s worth pointing out that an upgrade to the remastered PS5 version is free for you as well.
While Nioh 2 on the PC isn’t the same as the remastered version of the game on the PS5, it does feature advanced graphics options that push the game beyond what players got on the PlayStation 4, with gorgeous visuals that really make the environment shine and the characters pop out. And as with the PlayStation versions, you’re rarely ever stuck on a loading screen – a feature that’s often touted as a benefit of next gen consoles but is implemented very well in this ‘last gen’ game due to some excellent design decisions.
The development team has also learned from the release of the first Nioh on PC, and some of the post-release improvements for that version are there from the start for Nioh 2. There are enhanced control options if you prefer something other than the standard gamepad configuration, but the biggest appeal comes from the visual enhancements that were added. Some are of the obvious variety where you can enhance resolutions and pump up the frame rate to 120 frames per second (in line with the remastered PS5 version), but you can also tweak the visual experience more by adding and/or removing elements from the HUD to make the experience either more audiovisually immersive or more focused on knowing what kind of damage you’re dealing (and taking).
PC gamers who aren’t interested in jumping over to Sony’s platform can rest easy this time around, knowing their port of Nioh 2 is a great way to enjoy one of the PS4’s best titles from its last year as Sony’s flagship console.
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption (Switch)
For a number of years now, the Switch has been a welcoming platform for ports of older PC titles, some of which include classic adventure games, which were always a rarity on consoles. And although you wouldn’t think it based on the title alone, Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption has firmer roots in classic adventure gaming than you’d think.
Released for the Switch only now by Transolar Games and Silesia Games, Hero-U: Rogue To Redemption was first released on PC back in 2018. Fans of the genre were immediately triggered by the fact that Lori and Corey Cole were behind the game as well, as they originally worked on the Quest For Glory games by Sierra. Those who’ve been around a long will probably also remember that it was once famously renamed, after first being called Hero’s Quest – a name that didn’t survive the fact that Games Workshop had a similar-sounding franchise in the market at the time.
Unlike the modern takes on the genre (from the likes of Telltale and Dontnod), Hero-U is firmly rooted in the classic adventure games – ones that actually required you to type out your instructions and conversations. That’s a thing of the past, but the firm emphasis on storytelling and a leisurely pace through the narrative are definitely here.
As protagonist Shawn O’Connor, you’ve just enrolled “Hero-U”, and during your time at school you also learn that this game differs from other adventure games in the sense that it features RPG elements as well. This ties into the many activities you can engage in, making this a far less linear experience, but also relates to the turn-based combat and the fact that you can level up your character over the course of the game.
Some of that is tied to missions and side quests, but even everyday activities on the school grounds can help you level up your stats. But although there’s a lot to do and choose from, there’s also the everyday routine of school – learning the trade of a hero (which as we know come in many forms), but also making sure you stay in line and don’t get expelled. Adhering or straying from certain routines can also mean that you might miss out on optional conversations or tasks, which is a way to encourage future playthroughs.
Hero-U: Rogue to Redemption packs an almost overwhelming array of gameplay mechanics and content into a game that is rich with retro appeal for adventure game fans from the golden days of the genre. Combined with hunting for items, clicking through conversations and leveling up your character, however, this may deter those who are more used to the modern streamlined adventure games. Those with a history in classic PC adventure gaming will certainly feel the warm blanket of nostalgia with this one though, even if it has modern elements like achievements and controller support.