Every now and then an unexpected game comes along. Ni No Kuni II is one of those pleasant surprises. Writing a Ni No Kuni 2 review is easy because the game is so good.
A beautiful mix of gameplay and storytelling packed into one JRPG. I’ve always a enjoyed the genre but it’s always been hard to recommend JRPGs to friends.
However, this Ni No Kuni 2 review lets me do just that. Developer Level-5 has made it easy for me to do so. Ni No Kuni II has all the elements to be engaging for almost all players.
What’s even better is the way it has been put together. An easy, entry-level game for the genre that still includes everything hardcore JRPG gamers expect.
Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom
Ni No Kuni II takes you through a tale of a young king named Evan. Just as he is about to be sworn in a strange man named Roland appears in front of him out of thin air.
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As Evan and Roland discuss his strange appearance, Roland discovers that they are in the middle of a coup. With no choice, Evan and Roland must help each other escape the kingdom to survive.
Once out into the open world Evan convinces Roland to help him start a new kingdom, one in which everyone can live happily ever after.
The story really helps with how Level-5 has built the mechanics of the game. Not only does it have standard JRPG elements it has some welcome additions.
Ni No Kuni 2 Review
The world map can be traversed, complete with enemies which wander around on the map. These enemies can be engaged and in battle, you control one of the three party members you choose to be the leader.
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The battle system is played in real time and features hack and slash mechanics. It’s also much more than that.
You can switch weapons on the fly and a have a ranged weapon equipped in addition to your melee weapon. This allows you to change your strategy depending on the enemy you’re facing at the time.[perfectpullquote align=”left” bordertop=”false” cite=”The story really helps with how Level-5 has built the mechanics of the game” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””][/perfectpullquote]
In some cases, you’ll face multiple enemy types and need to utilise all of the tools at your disposal.
Another inclusion in the battle system is the Higgledies. They can be used as an aid in battle with a multitude of types and abilities. One of my favourite uses is that some of them can turn into a cannon and start shooting cannonballs around the battlefield.
Actraiser, we hardly knew ye
They can also aid in other ways such as healing or shielding. They remind me of Pikmin if Pikmin were little forest creatures made from the four elements.
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As you progress early in the game you’ll get to start building your kingdom. This is where some of the newer gameplay mechanics come into it.
You start with a simple kingdom featuring a couple of necessary buildings such as a weaponsmith and general store. Building your kingdom happens in the settlement builder.
As you progress, more people want to join your kingdom and it will need to grow. As you grow you can have people assigned to things like the farms or the mines to produce materials.
This also allows you to research and develop better weapons and armour to craft.
Build the Kingdom
Defending your kingdom takes you to an entirely new battle system. This is for when you’re attacked by invading armies and bandits.
It’s a skirmish style fight with a central commander. You can build your army as more people join your kingdom.
This also means you get access to different unit types to use as well.
The goal is to take out the opposing army while maintaining your units.
Similar to the Fire Emblem series, units are included in a triangle as blue, green or red. Simply, it means certain unit types are more effective against other units.
There’s just so much to like about Ni No Kuni 2.
Your favourite Ghibli movie brought to life
The battle system is simple enough to understand early but comes with enough depth for the more devoted player. What’s great is that if you want to play just for the story and keep the gameplay simple you can.
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On the other hand, if you’re a hardcore JRPG player you can really customise, craft and sidequest to your heart’s content. There is also a good amount to do in the endgame for the completionists.
One real highlight of Ni No Kuni 2 is the art style and visuals. Easily one of the prettiest games I’ve ever played, Level-5 clearly took a lot of influence [perfectpullquote align=”left” bordertop=”false” cite=”Easily one of the prettiest games I’ve ever played” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””][/perfectpullquote]from Studio Ghibli for Ni No Kuni 2.
The art style feels like a Studio Ghibli animation and works incredibly well with the cell shading. All of the character and NPC designs are fantastic.
Environmental design in Ni No Kuni 2 is nothing to short of gorgeous. Each different kingdoms has its own beautiful topography and each is teaming with life.
Beautiful Anime, Beautiful Game
Similar to its predecessor, Ni No Kuni 2 includes different races of humanoids. Evan himself is from the race of cat-like people called Grimalkins. The leader of the coup to usurp his throne was a royal adviser from the mouse like race.
As with the typical cat and mouse relationship things have always been tumultuous for the Grimalkins and mice-people. Racism has always been rife in the world of Ni No Kuni 2 and the game does not shy away from it.
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If anything, it’s one of the ‘cat-alysts’ (Ouch, this pun – Editor) that drives Evan’s determination for peace.
If you’re a fan of the first title you won’t be disappointed with Ni No Kuni 2. Although it mostly feels like an entirely new game, it is for the better.
All the new additions actually improve on the previous title. The story and world almost feel detached but there are enough references and easter eggs to keep you happy.
Ni No Kuni II has surprised me in a lot of ways. Even for someone who’s never played a JRPG this is perfect. The battle system is intuitive and easy to grasp and the story is fun and well thought out.
Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom was reviewed on PS4 using a digital code provided to PowerUp! by Bandai Namco.
Game Title: Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
Game Description: A driving title for the JRPG genre.