Ni No Kuni II:?Revenant Kingdom on PlayStation 4
Back in 2013, Ni No Kuni: Wrath in the White Witch deservedly earned critical acclaim for its fresh approach to the JRPG genre. It stood aside from waves of cookie-cutter titles thanks to a cutting-edge battle system, addictive collectathon of adorable familiars, and finally, by telling this charming and brilliantly written story harking back to a lot of the genres most iconic games. Unsurprisingly, then, much is expected from the sequel, Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom.
In a move that any of us don’t see so much often in the game playing industry, in lieu of rest on its laurels what iterate on prior successes, developer Level-5 has instead bravely taken the series within a entirely new direction. Beloved issues with the primary game are given away query, replaced by new content that refocuses the complete thrust of gameplay. Let alone, telling a uniquely new standalone story. It had been a risky move, but thankfully, one which has paid off in a big way. Indeed, Ni No Kuni 2 ultimately being additional than just a worthy successor – now you have an exquisite game that matches the lofty heights of that predecessor. The truth is, by delivering both a warming narrative including a brilliant gameplay experience, it is simply among the finest games I’ve played this generation.
First, let’s address the elephant in the room: the Studio Ghibli anime cutscenes which were this sort of iconic feature of the first game have ended, which happens to be an omission that can likely be a large disappointment for numerous. Feel safe, though, Ni No Kuni 2 still is utterly gorgeous, knowning that endearing Ghibli charm does remain intact, set up cutscenes employ a slightly straight-to-DVD feel about them comparatively. But importantly, the aesthetic and design are not just comfortingly familiar for fans, it’s still lush, vibrant, and captivating. The musical score is evenly as brilliant, too, featuring variations of the exact same triumphant main theme together with several charming new tunes.
Although there’s ample references towards first game, the field of Ni No Kuni 2 is distinct. Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum, King of Ding Dong Dell, is definitely the game’s protagonist on this occasion, and almost no time is wasted throwing players directly into the midst of his plight; there’s certainly no slow build-up to proceedings, because there is in the past game. The outlet scene starts frantically, as Roland, a personality (presumably) from your world is warped into Ding Dong Dell’s palace at the exact moment a coup is taking spot for a usurp young Evan from his throne. Each be capable of escape, all night . been ousted from his kingdom, Evan now seeks to forge a different certainly one of their own. But sinister forces in the shape of the mysterious Doloron seek to thwart Evan which includes a plan that threatens the very fabric of existence for a lot of persons of Ni No Kuni.
That premise tees within the game’s most substantial new mechanic: kingdom building. In Ni No Kuni 2, the ‘development’ of Evan’s new area of Evermore isn’t merely represented through cinematic cutscenes, it’s physically built by way of the player themselves. Slightly harking back to Suikoden, players are tasked with recruiting citizens and turning Evermore in a bustling metropolis. The township becomes the headquarters but not only with regards to the story, and being a hub for the player where weapons, armor, spells, and many types of a style of different resources are farmed. One can find a wide selection of side quests and other errands that reward you with new citizens to sign up for Evan’s cause, who will be then put to work to elevate production rates and unlock new abilities and items. This is a system that’s replete with depth, and hugely addictive.
This fledgling nation unsurprisingly catches a person’s eye of rival armies, bandits, and other vagabonds, therefore it needs defending. But this isn’t carried out by the game’s standard combat. Rather, Ni No Kuni 2 introduces another layer to the dynamic of the company’s gameplay in the shape of skirmishes. These Clash of Clans-like strategic battles develop the player control squads of troops, destroying and capturing objectives over a separate chibi-animated battlefield. Troops are split up into melee and ranged units, with four or maybe more different kinds centered around Evan and rotated by pressing the bumper buttons. Each unit has special abilities, there are ways to bolster potency and efficacy to get more effectiveness before each battle. These encounters don’t require a lot strategy, but they are entertaining and earn to get a welcome change of pace from standard combat.
That isn’t to state the all-new real-time combat system isn’t fun, though. Quite the opposite, it’s absolutely superb and also a huge improvement from your first game. Where before combat would have been a JRPG hybrid in the Tales and Pokemon series, the 2nd game feels considerably more Kingdom Hearts. Each battle is actually a brilliantly dazzling and exciting spectacle, and straight from the off, you’re imbued a feeling of empowerment; there’s no fifteen level delay until you could accomplish awesome spells, as often so in JRPGs. Thankfully, companion AI is much better this occassion, and switch between characters at anytime too. Battles move on a lightning pace while you attack with medium and strikes, defending with blocks and rolls, and after that firing off spells and special attacks involving. Each special ability is governed by MP, which happens to be replenished besides via necessary potions but is also accumulated by attacking enemies. It is just a key design choice that places the emphasis of combat firmly around the offensive.
However, though it looks and feels like Kingdom Hearts, it’s refined with a great deal more depth. In combination with coordinating different attacks, abilities, spells, and switching between characters inside heat of battle, players are given the opportunity to produce tactical tweaks outside it too. Making use of the Tactic Tweaker, accumulated points is usually poured into adjusting the party’s dynamic. Changes can be accomplished to effectiveness versus certain elements, for instance, or whether EXP or items drop more frequently in combat. You will find a tradeoff for every incremental benefit to add strategy, but the can be reset and adjusted at any time.
Adding another layer to combat will be the Higgledies – cutesy Pikmin-like creatures that are fitted with replaced the primary game’s popular familiars. Unlike before, these cheery and colorful critters don’t fight rather than Evan and co, instead give you a little assistance. Each Higgledie does have it’s unique ability and automatically assists with various buffs. Some morph into enormous cannons that spew flames at enemies, others form a healing safe zone to extract health and magic. You’ll find dozens to recover, “cook”, after which you can level-up with collected resources. In combat, approximately four many types work extremely well at any promptly, as each battle rages, you can be dashing between the two to quickly activate their special abilities since they sporadically appear. It’s a system that actually does add pace and excitement to combat, and thus often satisfactorily turns the tide of battle advantage as soon as the percentages seem unwinnable.
Not that you will be dying much, though, since the first fifteen hours of Ni No Kuni 2 are really a complete simple task. Initially, this bewildering lack of challenge almost frustrates. With the amount of exciting nuances for the combat, it won’t add up that you’ll be in a position to largely ignore them, plowing through battles and boss fights with punitive ease. Truly the only challenge available is away from the game’s main story. So-called Tainted Monsters – harder versions of enemies scattered world wide map. Dreamer’s Mazes, too – special multi-level dungeons that increase in difficulty in accordance with a “danger level” countdown. However the challenge is not really there in the primary campaign. Until it can be.
Suddenly, Ni No Kuni 2 steps inside the difficulty, forcing that you increase your weapon, armor, and spell research back at Evermore, and even research different Higgledie combinations. And after that all this is smart. Between kingdom building, skirmishes, the nuances of combat, creating new Higgledies, and gathering different resources, there are many layers to Ni No Kuni 2. The particular issue ramp isn’t an oversight, it’s intentional. Rather than overwhelm using its number of systems ahead of time, the design and style allows players time for it to get comfortable before it actually starts to push them. And as a result, when things hot up, you just aren’t lost by what to do or how you can it. It’s replete JRPG mechanics made modern and accessible without feeling diluted.
Everything actually does meet up sublimely during Ni No Kuni 2’s final third. The dominion building aspects of the experience all tie-in with the the RPG mechanics that govern combat and progression. There are yourself testing building different facilities and assigning new citizens to boost productivity in order that you can research new weapons and spells. Being successful getting some entertaining distraction not in the main story, but the additional layers all feel suitably in connection with the narrative. Nothing feels included as a being included. Sure, likely to almost intimidating degree of content-on-the-side to activate with, and you also can not totally forget about the majority of that, nevertheless it’s well designed, extreme fun, and adds up while in the context on the story.
Speaking which often, outstanding storytelling that’s the defining feature in the first game still is a key element takeaway at this point. Eventhough it could seem so to begin with, the plot doesn’t merely facilitate the means. It’s really a warming tale of uniting different nations and races, overcoming personal greed to the betterment of society all together, together with enough mystery and intrigue beyond the obvious happily-ever-after conclusion to compel you to definitely keep driving forward. The writing is, as you’d expect, all very PG, really clean a lot of cheeky wit that could still crack a grin about the faces of veteran gamers. This provides life a cast of characters that echo the same endearing warmth that’s this sort of highlight in Wrath from the White Witch.
That being said, I could go for any much more depth to many of their total personalities. The substance past the archetypal character tropes will there be in parts but absent on other occasions. Concerning Evan, he isn’t a hugely complex character, either, and often slightly cringy within his Rated G persona. Yet he will be strong-willed and admirably going to pursue the purity of his cause – an undeniable fact that’s highlighted with tongue firmly in cheek a couple of times. From the supporting cast, Roland is really a standout and steals the show together with own brilliant plot twist midway through the game. Elsewhere, the game’s main antagonist, Doloron, is intimidating but not as memorable when he ought to be. Perhaps that’s because Ni No Kuni 2’s voice acting is frustratingly lightweight. Where in the earliest game each character was handed a distinct and memorable voice, it’s like Level-5 ran out of budget at this point. The cinematic cutscenes, too, are quite few, but it does detract slightly through the interest from the story, especially considering that artistic presentation was this type of takeaway from Wrath in the White Witch.
That concern is somewhat exacerbated by the fact that you’ll be undertaking almost overwhelming quantities of side quests to recruit new citizens to your kingdom. Alas, Ni No Kuni 2 does make you grind towards you to your higher-level kingdom at various points amongst people. These quests feature clever writing, certainly, but when you’re desperately wanting to reach a completely new kingdom level to progress the leading story, it’s hard to resist skipping wads of text dialogue to reap the inevitable reward. And in addition they too frequently boil into fetching various items or killing monsters, anyway. There are many quests unrelated to recruitment, at the same time, speculate you can farm just about every resource hanging around back at Evermore, I didn’t feel overly compelled to have interaction with one of these.
None of the shortcomings, however, are enough to sour what is ultimately an astonishing experience. One more time, Level-5 has risen to # 1 on the previously floundering but increasingly revitalized genre. Ni No Kuni 2 pushes the envelope and reinvents the wheel while staying in keeping with its JRPG roots. It reminds me of their enchanting escapism and magic of early Final Fantasy games. Yet it recaptures it not through imitation but throughout the almost adventurous design which includes forged the legacy of many of gaming’s most seminal and iconic games. This second adventure may be well worth the wait in every single respect, with this particular already salivating within the prospect of the one’s destiny holds to your series. For the time being, though, I’m contented to at Evermore, immersing myself while in the delight of constructing my own personal Revenant Kingdom.
Score: 5/5 – Exemplary
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