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Nioh 2 PC performance report - Graphics card benchmarks
By Chad Norton on February 4th, 2021 at 11:00am - original article from game-debate

Nioh 2 is finally arriving on PC after almost a year of exclusivity on PlayStation, and with it the PC edition brings many new features specific to the platform like 4K, 144Hz, and up to 120fps support, along with a few others. So let's take a look at the PC performance benchmarks for Nioh 2...

First of all, in this PC performance benchmark article for ¬¬g_id:35648[Nioh 2]¬¬, we benchmark a range of graphics cards going from the higher-end ¬¬gc_id:5013[RTX 3070]¬¬ (recommended for 4K/60fps or 1080p/120fps) as well as the ¬¬gc_id:4051[RTX 2060]¬¬ (recommended for 1440p/60fps); to the lower-end ¬¬gc_id:2266[R9 380]¬¬; and the mid-range ¬¬gc_id:3540[GTX 1060]¬¬ (which is close to the recommended GPU for 1080p High graphics settings) as well as the ¬¬gc_id:2438[GTX 970]¬¬ (which is the minimum required GPU for 1080p Low graphics settings).

Then we go through the FPS test results of each graphics card running at 1080p, 1440p and 4K screen resolutions. From there we can see the performance of the minimum and recommended system requirement graphics cards and consider how well optimized Nioh 2 really is.

Nioh 2 unfortunately does not include an in-game benchmarking tool, so for these results we started in one of the early levels of the game and ran around the area taking in the sights. Generally we found performance wasn't much different during unless you turn the Effect Quality setting to "High" (more on that later). So overall we found this benchmark run to be pretty representative of your typical gameplay experience in Nioh 2.

Additionally, Nioh 2 on PC does not have a large amount of graphics settings to choose from and customize. In fact, there are really only two available graphical presets: Very Low Quality, and Highest Quality.

The only graphics setting to have more than two options available to choose from is Shadows Quality, which goes from Off, to Low Quality, to Medium Quality, and finally to High Quality.

Since this is the case we decided to stick with the two graphics presets listed above and see the difference in performance between them. In addition, since there aren't that many graphics settings available we opted to check the performance impact of each individual graphics option - much like in our usual Most Important Graphics Options articles - and pin them at the bottom of this article.

DLSS support is also coming to Nioh 2 in the future, whether at launch or in a post-launch update. This does mean that most graphics cards tested here will see a much greater increase to performance with this setting when it becomes available. However, it was not available to us in the review build unfortunately so we could not test it.

Finally, Nioh 2 has an FPS cap setting that can only be changed from 30, to 60, or 120. Unfortunately you cannot turn this setting off and so some of our average FPS results were a little below 120 as the graphics card could not reach above 120fps and so any dips in frame rate were recorded giving a number lower than 120. We just thought that was worth mentioning before jumping into the results.

With that in mind, let's jump into the PC performance benchmarks for Nioh 2...

Nioh 2 PC Graphics Settings

Check your PC can run Nioh 2 system requirements

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Nioh 2 minimum system requirements

Nioh 2 recommended system requirements

(*Some of the requirements listed only suggested a certain brand of hardware. So we've chosen the closest matching AMD specs based on the hardware description provided)

Nioh 2 recommended GPUs for high framerates and resolutions:

Team Ninja also provided some addition system requirements pertaining to specific graphics cards needed for certain high framerate/resolution settings. For instance 4K 60fps, or 1440p 120fps.

Resolution FPS Graphics card
4K 60fps ¬¬gc_id:5013[RTX 3070]¬¬
1440p 120fps ¬¬gc_id:5003[RTX 3080]¬¬
60fps ¬¬gc_id:4051[RTX 2060]¬¬
1080p 120fps ¬¬gc_id:5013[RTX 3070]¬¬

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CLICK ANY IMAGE IN THIS PAGE TO EXPAND THE IMAGE

Nioh 2 RTX 3070 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3070 Aorus Master | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Nioh 2 Nvidia RTX 3070 FPS performance graph 1080p 1440p 4K

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:5013[Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070]¬¬ in Nioh 2 @ 1080p

Nioh 2 Very Low Quality Highest Quality
Average FPS 119.2 115.7
Min FPS 109.2 97.4
Max FPS 120.4 120.5
1% Low FPS 98.1 72.6
0.1% Low FPS 18.1 16.9

The FPS performance of the RTX 3070 at 1080p in Nioh 2 is really good. This is the recommended GPU for 1080p 120fps gameplay and we have to say it is pretty spot on. The only reason the frame rate drops below 120 is because the FPS cap limit is set to 120, and so the graphics card can never reach numbers than that, which means any dip in performance is recorded in the average frame rate.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:5013[Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070]¬¬ in Nioh 2 @ 1440p

Nioh 2 Very Low Quality Highest Quality
Average FPS 118.7 96
Min FPS 109.8 77.8
Max FPS 120.4 114.6
1% Low FPS 91 65.8
0.1% Low FPS 21.1 15.2

At 1440p, the RTX 3070's FPS performance in Nioh 2 is really good, although it takes a drop on the Highest Quality setting. This is still well above 60fps though and so is perfectly comfortable for playing.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:5013[Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070]¬¬ in Nioh 2 @ 4K

Nioh 2 Very Low Quality Highest Quality
Average FPS 76.9 59.8
Min FPS 68.4 50.8
Max FPS 90.9 69.8
1% Low FPS 56.6 45
0.1% Low FPS 19.8 17

Finally at 4K, the FPS performance of the RTX 3070 in Nioh 2 is still pretty good, even though it drops slightly below 60fps on the Highest Quality setting. This was still comfortable to play nonetheless.

Overall, the RTX 3070 is perfectly suitable for playing Nioh 2 at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K resolutions at the Highest Quality setting.

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Nioh 2 RTX 2060 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia PNY GeForce RTX 2060 | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Nioh 2 Nvidia RTX 2060 FPS performance graph 1080p 1440p 4K

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:4051[Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060]¬¬ in Nioh 2 @ 1080p

Nioh 2 Very Low Quality Highest Quality
Average FPS 105.9 80.1
Min FPS 92.6 59.4
Max FPS 120.4 97.1
1% Low FPS 78 52.5
0.1% Low FPS 21.1 14.1

The FPS performance of the RTX 2060 at 1080p in Nioh 2 is pretty good and able to achieve more than 60fps even at the Highest Quality setting. In the end, the RTX 2060 is perfectly suitable for playing Nioh 2 at 1080p on the Highest Quality graphics settings.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:4051[Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060]¬¬ in Nioh 2 @ 1440p

Nioh 2 Very Low Quality Highest Quality
Average FPS 79.2 60.2
Min FPS 70.4 49.4
Max FPS 94.8 71.1
1% Low FPS 58.8 32.9
0.1% Low FPS 21.1 15.4

The RTX 2060 is the recommended GPU for playing Nioh 2 at 1440p 60fps, and judging by the FPS performance above this is indeed acurate. Overall, the RTX 2060 is perfectly suitable for playing Nioh 2 at 1440p resolution on the Highest Quality setting.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:4051[Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060]¬¬ in Nioh 2 @ 4K

Nioh 2 Very Low Quality Highest Quality
Average FPS 48.1 37
Min FPS 43 32.6
Max FPS 56.7 42.9
1% Low FPS 40.6 31
0.1% Low FPS 22 16

At 4K, the RTX 2060 does begin to struggle a bit, achieving just over 30fps on the Highest Quality setting. This is still certainly playable - especially if you set the FPS cap limit to 30 instead for more stable performance - though not ideal. 

Overall, looking at the results above the RTX 2060 is perfectly suitable for playing Nioh 2 at 1080p and 1440p on the Highest Quality settings. At 4K this GPU does not deliver ideal performance for this game, however it is certainly still playable.

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Nioh 2 GTX 1060 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia MSI GeForce GTX 1060 | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Nioh 2 Nvidia GTX 1060 FPS performance graph 1080p 1440p 4K

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:3540[Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060]¬¬ in Nioh 2 @ 1080p

Nioh 2 Very Low Quality Highest Quality
Average FPS 69.4 51.8
Min FPS 61.8 39
Max FPS 80.7 62.3
1% Low FPS 52.8 35.7
0.1% Low FPS 27.3 14.6

The FPS performance of the GTX 1060 in Nioh 2 is okay. Although it delivers just under 60fps at the Highest Quality setting, it is still playable and enjoyable and you won't see a significant impact on your actual in-game gameplay performance.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:3540[Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060]¬¬ in Nioh 2 @ 1440p

Nioh 2 Very Low Quality Highest Quality
Average FPS 51.8 39.2
Min FPS 47.3 32.4
Max FPS 59.9 45.8
1% Low FPS 43.5 30.2
0.1% Low FPS 21.2 16.6

At 1440p, the GTX 1060 is still playable in Nioh 2 even at the Highest Quality setting. However, this performance is not ideal and not recommended, but you can still play at this setting and have a good time nonetheless.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:3540[Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060]¬¬ in Nioh 2 @ 4K

Nioh 2 Very Low Quality Highest Quality
Average FPS 30.8 22.7
Min FPS 27.7 20.3
Max FPS 35.9 26
1% Low FPS 26.7 19.6
0.1% Low FPS 25.4 17.8

Finally at 4K the GTX 1060's FPS performance is not that great. The only playable frame rate here was at the Very Low Quality setting and even then is not ideal. At the Highest Quality setting the game was virtually unplayable to us as we found our skills in combat were significantly impacted.

Overall, the GTX 1060 is perfectly suitable for playing Nioh 2 at 1080p on the Highest Quality settings. At 1440p the Very Low Quality setting is better, however it is still playable even on Highest Quality. At 4K Highest Quality is pretty much unplayable, and so Very Low Quality is recommended at this resolution instead.

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Nioh 2 GTX 970 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on Nvidia ASUS GeForce GTX 970 | Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Nioh 2 Nvidia GTX 970 FPS performance graph 1080p 1440p 4K

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:2438[Nvidia GeForce GTX 970]¬¬ in Nioh 2 @ 1080p

Nioh 2 Very Low Quality Highest Quality
Average FPS 64.4 47.9
Min FPS 58.3 39.1
Max FPS 75.7 57.2
1% Low FPS 50.7 36.5
0.1% Low FPS 28 19.4

The GTX 970's FPS performance in Nioh 2 at 1080p is okay. Here the Very Low Quality setting gets just above 60fps which plays a lot better, although you can still play at the Highest Quality setting with little to no impact on your enjoyment.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:2438[Nvidia GeForce GTX 970]¬¬ in Nioh 2 @ 1440p

Nioh 2 Very Low Quality Highest Quality
Average FPS 47.4 35.7
Min FPS 43.1 30.1
Max FPS 55.4 41.6
1% Low FPS 41.6 28.6
0.1% Low FPS 29.1 19.4

At 1440p the GTX 970's FPS performance starts to struggle in Nioh 2. Both Very Low Quality and Highest Quality settings are still playable though, but absolutely not recommended for this title.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:2438[Nvidia GeForce GTX 970]¬¬ in Nioh 2 @ 4K

Nioh 2 Very Low Quality Highest Quality
Average FPS 27.5 19.8
Min FPS 24.2 17.8
Max FPS 31.9 22.6
1% Low FPS 23.7 16.9
0.1% Low FPS 22.1 15.8

Finally at 4K the GTX 970 really struggles to get a decent FPS performance in Nioh 2. Although you can still technically play at Very Low Quality settings, it was very hard for us to play well during combat and so it is not recommended to play at this resolution with this graphics card.

Overall, the GTX 970 is perfectly suitable for playing Nioh 2 at 1080p on the Highest Quality setting. Moving up to 1440p the GTX 970 is still playable, although it is recommended to stay closer to the Very Low Quality setting instead. At 4K this GPU really struggles and so is not recommended at all.

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Nioh 2 R9 380 benchmarks and frames per second analysis performed on AMD MSI Radeon R9 380 Intel i7-5820K | 16GB

Nioh 2 AMD R9 380 FPS performance graph 1080p 1440p

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:2266[AMD Radeon R9 380]¬¬ in Nioh 2 @ 1080p

Nioh 2 Very Low Quality Highest Quality
Average FPS 55 36.6
Min FPS 50.2 30.4
Max FPS 60.5 42
1% Low FPS 47.8 29.4
0.1% Low FPS 22.3 23.3

The FPS performance of the R9 380 is actually okay at 1080p in Nioh 2. On the Very Low Quality setting this GPU achieves close to 60fps, and at the Highest Quality setting is still playable, but not ideal for this title.

Average FPS for ¬¬gc_id:2266[AMD Radeon R9 380]¬¬ in Nioh 2 @ 1440p

Nioh 2 Very Low Quality Highest Quality
Average FPS 15.8 11.3
Min FPS 14.1 9.1
Max FPS 18.9 12.8
1% Low FPS 14.2 9.5
0.1% Low FPS 10 4.7

At 1440p things get a bit complicated, as for some reason the R9 380 just completely dips in performance. We suspect this has to do with the low 2GB of VRAM on the graphics card which means higher resolutions start to struggle with performance. We tried backing out of the game multiple times to see if it was a bug with AMD GPUs or drivers, but to no avail. Overall, the R9 380 is not recommended at all for playing at 1440p in Nioh 2.

Looking at the results above, the R9 380 is perfectly suitable for playing Nioh 2 at 1080p on the Very Low Quality setting. You can still get an okay performance on the Highest Quality setting, but it is not ideal. Unfortunately, the R9 380 is unable to play Nioh 2 at 1440p resolution even on the Very Low graphics setting and so is not recommended at all.

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Nioh 2 most important graphics options

Nioh 2 optimized settings - Every video setting benchmarked

Since there aren't that many graphics settings available in Nioh 2, we decided to put this section here at the bottom of this article. Additionally, we delve deeper into the performance impact of the Effect Quality setting, which seems to have a significant impact on FPS when set to the Highest Quality.

But for now, let's take a brief overview of the Nioh 2 most important graphics options...

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Nioh 2 Graphics Options Performance Breakdown

The further to the right the bar goes, the more demanding the graphics option is.

Nioh 2 graphics options performance breakdown

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What are the most demanding graphics options in Nioh 2?

As you can see in the Nioh 2 graphics options performance breakdown graph above, the Shadows setting is the clear winner for most demanding graphics setting at a 16.57% FPS cost.

Following that, we have Motion Blur surprisingly at 4.47%, Dynamic Reflections at 3.6%, Ambient Occlusion at 1.59%, followed by Texture Quality in dead last at a 0.72% FPS performance cost.

As for Effect Quality... Well, this was our initial testing which found it at a low 1.15% FPS cost during our benchmark run. However, after a while we found that our FPS would drop significantly during fights with other enemies. Further testing revealed this was due to the Effect Quality setting turned on "High", as the issue only appeared when we set the game's graphical preset to "Highest Quality".

So we have done some further testing on this specific graphics setting below...

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Nioh 2 Effect Quality graphics setting performance breakdown

During our testing, we found that our FPS would drop significantly during fights with other enemies at random times, even with higher end graphics cards like the RTX 3070 and RTX 2060 at low resolutions. This prompted us to test further and we found the issue only happened when the graphics quality preset was on "Highest Quality".

We then were able to deduce which graphics setting specifically was causing us the problem, which ended up being the Effect Quality setting. We then confirmed that when the Effect Quality setting has a significant impact on our FPS when set to "High".

Since the FPS dropped significantly during combat, we decided not to fight any enemies during our benchmark run for the graphics card performance benchmarks at the start of this article. In our testing we found that FPS was not significantly affected by combat, so we felt that our benchmark run was pretty representative of the average player's experience running around in the world exploring and fighting bad guys.

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Because we did not get into any combat during the benchmark run, in order to further test the FPS performance impact of the Effect Quality setting, we had to create a new run in a different area. However, since combat is quite fast in this game and the effects on screen disappear quickly, we had to do a very short benchmark run in a small area with only a couple enemies.

Since doing a shorter run allows for a larger margin of error, we did 5 different runs and calculated their averages together in order to get us an accurate FPS number and allow us to compare the 2 quality settings against each other.

We also did the run with a GTX 1060 graphics card running at 1080p with all other graphics options set to the Lowest or Off quality.

Nioh 2 Effect Quality graphics option performance breakdown

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As you can see in the Nioh 2 Effect Quality performance benchmarks graph above, turning the setting up to high has a major impact on FPS performance. Simply by turning from Low to High, your FPS will drop from an average of 71.8 to 50.6 when in combat.

That's a 30% reduction in FPS just by turning this setting up and getting into combat. The 1% and 0.1% low frame rate numbers are the worst victims, getting a nearly 50% reduction in FPS.

You obviously don't want this to happen in the middle of a fight where you need to be quick on your fingers. A drop like this can throw off your rhythm and even get you killed in tense situations.

For this reason, we advise to leave the Effect Quality setting on Off in order to get the best performance out of the game. We also did not notice a huge drop in image quality, and quite frankly we barely could tell the difference and eventually couldn't recognize if it was on or not.

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Additional notes

In our testing we found some additional notes worth talking about, however we weren't sure where to put them. So in this section we'll be talking about a couple interesting things that we found that we feel were at least worth mentioning.

First of all, as we said earlier Nioh 2 comes with an FPS cap that can only be changed between 30, 60, and 120, and cannot be turned off. However, we're not sure if this is a bug in the game, but when our FPS would drop well below this number the game started to literally slow down in speed (though FPS would stay the same).

This was happening when our frame rate would reach around 40-50FPS when the frame rate limiter was turned to 120. By turning this setting down to a 60 FPS cap we fixed the problem. Again, overall frame rates didn't change but the game speed was set to normal.

This was a pretty weird issue we encountered, so for now we suggest keeping the frame rate limiter to the closest number you are experiencing. It's tempting to leave at a 120fps limit so that you can take advantage of higher frame rates. But if you're getting around 50-60fps we recommend setting the FPS cap to 60 instead of 120.

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We also encountered a weird issue with the AMD R9 380 graphics card where the frame rate would just get stuck on a lower number at a random moment. When testing the R9 380 at 1080p on the lowest graphics settings, during combat the FPS reduced to 28fps and would not go any higher or lower. When we fixed the issue, average frame rate during the run was 55fps (as seen earlier in this article).

This only happened once, and since it is the only AMD GPU we were able to test, can't tell if it is an issue with AMD graphics cards in general, the AMD drivers used, or a random bug we happened to encounter.

If this does happen to you, then the way we fixed it was just backing out to the menu and then resuming our save. Be warned that backing out tot he menu will lose any unsaved progress, so make sure you find a shrine first and pray there to save your game, then back out.

Apart from that, we didn't notice any major bugs worth mentioning that wouldn't be fixed before release. But if you encounter any to do with performance like what we experienced, then do let us know in the discussion area below and how you fixed it so that we can all benefit!

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Conclusion

Looking over the results above, Nioh 2 is a pretty demanding game and will require some high-end graphics hardware in order to play at it's best settings. Thankfully though, the game still runs well on modern hardware on lower resolutions. There are a few issues with the game's performance relating to specific graphics settings, but these are easily fixable.

First of all, the required GPUs for each system settings like Minimum, Recommended, as well as the high resolution and frame rate requirements, are pretty much spot on. The GTX 970 gets just over 60fps at 1080p Low settings, while the GTX 1060 does alright at 1080p High settings. So we can deduce the GTX 1660 Super will most likely reach 60fps in this case.

Additionally, the RTX 2060 is perfect for 1440p 60fps settings, and the RTX 3070 is also perfect for either 1080p 120fps or even 4K 60fps. Although we were not able to test the RTX 3080, we can assume it would hit at least close to the 1440p 120fps mark judging by the 3070's performance.

Even the R9 380 is able to get a decent performance at 1080p. Granted, only on the Very Low Quality setting, but you'll still be able to enjoy Nioh 2 nonetheless.

If you want to make sure that your frame rate does not dip significantly during combat, or you just want to ensure stable FPS without a major reduction to visual quality, we recommend turning the Effect Quality setting to "Low". As in our testing we found this setting to significantly impact FPS during combat.

You should also set your FPS cap limit to the closest number you are achieving in-game, as if your frame rate drops significantly lower than the limit then your actual in-game speed will slow down. For example, setting to 120fps may be tempting so you have essentially an unlocked frame rate, but if you're getting 50-60fps it is better to set the FPS cap to "60" instead. Or if you're getting 20-30fps, then set it to "30" etc.

Lastly, Team Ninja have revealed that DLSS will be coming to the game at a later date, so if you are unhappy with the kind of performance you are getting with your GPU, then a free performance boost will come at some point later down the line when DLSS gets officially implemented.