Soul Cores in Nioh 2 can be attuned to Guardian Spirits and provide players with a range of unique demon abilities. This guide will explain how to get and equip Soul Cores, as well as how to use, upgrade and turn them into Fragments.
One of the biggest new features in Nioh 2 is the addition of Yokai abilities which the player can use to damage enemies. These come in the form of Soul Cores which can be collected by slaying powerful Yokai, and Attuning them to your Guardian Spirit. To use them in battle you’ll press [R2 + Triangle or Square] when you’ve got enough Anima stored up. Oh, and let’s not forget you can perform Soul Fusion to upgrade the stats of your Soul Cores.
Following all this so far? No? Well, we don’t blame you. It’s a convoluted system with a number of complex parts to wrap your head around. However, once you break through the pain barrier and break it all down, it does begin to start making sense. At first it’s overwhelming, but the more you fiddle around with it, and use the abilities in-game, the more natural it’ll become.
In the sections below we’ll take you through everything you need to know about Soul Cores, Soul Attunement, Soul Fusion, and Resting Rites.
Nioh 2: Soul Cores explained
Soul Cores are unique items which hold remnants of a powerful Yokai’s power. For a complete rundown of how they work, we'd recommend working through this guide in order.
However, if you already know your stuff on one topic, but aren't so sure about another, our nav bar should come in handy!
What is a Soul Core?
Soul Cores give the player unique demon powers, but require differing amounts of Anima to activate. Essentially, you can claim a number of pesky demon abilities you’ll encounter out in the world during missions as your own, and use them against the Yokai themselves.
How do you get Soul Cores?
To get Soul Cores you need to defeat powerful Yokai, including boss Yokai.
Defeat specific Yokai bosses and they will always drop their unique Soul Core.
Powerful Yokai enemies found during missions will have a high drop rate, but it’s not guaranteed you will get a Soul Core every time you slay them.
When you see a Soul Core drop on the ground, simply interact with it as normal to claim it as your own.
How do you equip Soul Cores?
Before we go into how you activate them during battle and the resources needed to use them, we first need to go over the purification process.
When you first grab a Soul Core, you cannot use it straight away as it’s impure. You must first purify your Souls Core by praying at a Shrine.
If you fall in battle while carrying impure Soul Cores, your Guardian Spirit will keep hold of them for you. However, if you perish without visiting your Guardian Spirit’s grave, you will lose all of the impure Souls Cores you previously had in your inventory.
So, you’ve purified your Soul Cores. Now what? Well, head into the “Manage Soul Cores” tab to begin equipping them.
You will be presented with a list of your “Purified Items” on the left side of the screen. In the screenshot above, we’ve got an Enki and a Gaki Soul Core. Hover over them and it’ll display their stats on the right side of the screen, as well as the Yokai ability itself.
Press [X] on a Soul Core to proceed to the Attunement Screen. At the top left you’ll see which Guardian Spirit you’ve imbued. Below this, you’ll see two empty slots - this is where you’ll equip your Soul Cores.
And just below this you’ll spot the “Attunement Limit” bar. This determines how many Soul Cores you can equip. The lower the level of the Soul Core, the less Attunement Limit will be taken up, and vice versa.
On the right side of the screen, you will see all of the purified Soul Cores which you can equip. Again, you can hover over them for info on the bonuses they’ll confer, and pressing [Triangle] will preview their ability too.
Next, press [X] to equip your chosen Soul Core and you should see it clunk into place in the left hand window. The top slot will bind the Soul Core to [R2 + Triangle], while the bottom slot will bind it to [R2 + Square], so adjust this setup accordingly.
How do you use Soul Cores in battle?
To use your Soul Cores in battle, you need to Attune them first. Once you’ve done so, press [R2 + Triangle] or [R2 + Square] depending on how you’ve bound them. Refer to the section above if you’re unsure of how to Attune your Soul Cores.
Your Yokai abilities cost Anima to use, and the amount of Anima you have is denoted by the purple bar just below the green stamina bar. If you don’t have any Anima, then you can’t use these abilities.
To charge your Anima bar, perform melee attacks on enemies or cleanse Yokai pools with Ki bursts.
You can increase your Anima bar with the help of passive bonuses from weapons, armour and other items.
How do you upgrade Soul Cores?
If you have multiple copies of the same Soul Core, you can perform Soul Fusion to upgrade them.
Head into the Soul Fusion menu via the “Manage Soul Cores” menu.
On the top left of the screen you will see “Base”. This is the Soul Core you will upgrade by sacrificing your other copies of it.
Your copies will be listed under the “Material” header.
At the bottom, you will see “Finished Item”. This is the Soul Core you will end up with once the Soul Fusion process is complete. You can hover over it to see the stats it has gained.
In the example above, we’re fusing a level 1 Gaki Soul Core to the base Gaki Soul Core which is level 6 - a much higher base, than material. This is why the finished product isn’t going to be much stronger. However, if you swapped them around, then you’d get a more effective result.
More essential Nioh 2 guides:
- 1. How to quit Missions - Nioh 2: How to quit missions
- 2. How to reset your level and skills - Nioh 2: How to reset your level and skills
- 3. Yokai Shift - Nioh 2: Yokai Shift explained
- 4. Soul Cores - Nioh 2: Soul Cores - Attunement, Fusion and Fragments explained
- 5. Purple Kodama - Nioh 2: What to give the Purple Kodama
Can you scrap Soul Cores?
Yes you can perform Resting Rites to dispose of unwanted Soul Cores in exchange for Soul Fragments. Collecting Soul Fragments will grant you Shifting Skill Points.
The more powerful the Soul Core, the more Soul Fragments you'll receive in return.