Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom Game Review
Cute characters and new storylines
Same stuff as the previous franchise
About The Game
2010’s Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was a JRPG triumph for esteemed developer Level 5, which attracted the classical formula to the modern era with lovingly crafted care. With the support of Studio Ghibli, they pieced together a masterful adventure filled with joy, heartbreak, and positively tidy Welsh accents. The Revenant Kingdom is a welcome return to this wonderful little world, where another whimsical journey awaits. We’re just hoping its many components come together to form a meaningful whole — as right now, there are a few too many cooks in the kitchen.
Ni no Kuni 2 concentrates on the story of Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum, the young king of Ding Dong Dell who has the job of producing a land where everyone can live happily ever after. Of course, this is easier said than done. After finding himself dethroned and subject to mutiny, Evan teams up with Roland and Tani to travel the world and put things right. It is a well-executed setup with a throw I’ve already grown to love; It is exciting to see how they will develop in the complete experience.
The biggest offender in this regard is Kingdom Battle, a relatively simple RTS manner that feels like a game of rock-paper-scissors.
Controlling a miniature version of Evan, surrounded by a group of soldiers. A push of a shoulder button rotates them as we move forward, with specific troops demonstrating effective in certain situations. It follows a similar arrangement to Fire Emblem, for example — but, regrettably, it lacks the depth required to be compelling. I imagine the aim of Kingdom Battle is to reveal King Evan gradually regaining his kingdom, but it is not the most fun to play. Hopefully, this is but a small blemish on an otherwise gorgeous experience.
Ni no Kuni 2 was hugely enjoyable, with the battle system a substantial departure from the previous title, although no less fun and engaging. Your party is composed of Evan, Roland, Tani and odd elemental creatures called Higgledies. They operate along with you screeching excitedly, offering you offensive and defensive buffs depending on the circumstance.
One particular battle had me facing Longfang, a humongous dragon capable of hurling giant meteors across the field. Just before impact, the Higgledies would form a circle into which I could sprint, where I could smash a button and protect myself from the inferno. This offers an intriguing dynamic to battle that makes it impossible to spam attacks to succeed. You need to think on your feet to stay alive, equipping specific Higgledies to fit each new experience.
How extensive this mechanic will be is a mystery, but it appears they will replace the familiar system from Wrath of the White Witch, which saw you recruiting monsters in the world to fight alongside you. Beyond this, battles are fast, frantic and surprisingly challenging in their difficulty.
The characters wearing new outfits in the sections that played spread throughout Ni no Kuni 2, filling me with a hope that a customisation system of some sort will be present. You will love nothing more than kitting out party with new equipment, particularly when it has both a practical and aesthetic difference. Evan has to be a king with style!
Evan and friends have a multitude of unique skills to deploy that may be billed throughout each fight and unleashed with visual bravado. They also move easily, animated beautifully as they rush behind enemies and away from obstacles. Creatures wander the over-world and dungeons publicly, letting you instigate combat when you want for side quests or a quick bit of grinding. Ni no Kuni 2 is very archaic in its JRPG trappings but is still a joy to play, largely as a result of its irresistible Ghibli allure.
Ni no Kuni 2’s world is beautiful, explore its cavalcade of cities and towns. Like its predecessor, every location is carefully crafted to feel like a living, breathing place. It’s the excess detail expected from a Studio Ghibli work. Every NPC and building feels like it could tell a story of its own, drawing me into a vast, anime world for which I’m a complete sucker.
Much like Kingdom Battle, the over-world is explored with chibified variations of Evan and friends as they sprint through deserted canyons and sprawling valleys. It is a bit jarring at first when transitioning into combat encounters. There would have been a small way of imagining a world of this scope without shrinking the player down in some way.
Ni no Kuni two: Revenant Kingdom has the potential to be one of 2018’s finest adventures, with a lovable cast, gorgeous world and engaging combat system.
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