Similar to its predecessor, Nioh 2 is an action role-playing game. Players can create their own playable character, who was a yōkai spirit. Players are equipped with a variety of weapons such as odachi and kusarigama, and earn new skills as they progress in the game. When players defeat a hostile yōkai, some of them may drop a “Soul Cores”. They allow players to use yōkai abilities and transform into a yōkai after they are deposited in a shrine.
At locations named “Benevolent Graves”, players can summon at most two avatars of other players, controlled by artificial intelligence, to assist them in combat. The game also features a three-player cooperative multiplayer mode.