Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to my review of a highly anticipated game: Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom! Developed by Level-5, and published by Bandai Namco., It is my pleasure to write this review as I have been seriously looking forward to this release for a long time now, and let me tell you, I was not disappointed. This is our Ni No Kuni II review for the PC.
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is a JRPG, open world game with action combat. This is a direct sequel, set hundreds of years after the events of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. The story revolves around two primary characters, Evan and Roland, as they work towards building a new empire together. Ni no Kuni II provides the player with numerous objectives aside from the main story in the form of side quest’s, city building, and “war games,” as I like to call them.
The story on Ni no Kuni II revolves around Evan and Roland. Set in a high fantasy world where demi-humans range from cat people to actual cats/rats and other animals. At the start of the game you witness Roland transition into the world directly in the middle of a coup to overthrow the Kingdom of Ding Don Dell. Your mission as Evan and Roland is to build a new Kingdom where no one has to fight anymore. Besides the main story, there are a ton of side quests to do, some for equipment, some to recruit new citizens for your Kingdom. Needless to say, plenty of story to go around.
I found the story to be really engaging. The game was hard to put down. I felt like I wanted to know what happened next, a trend I haven’t had in recent memory. What made the story for me was the art direction. If you’ve played the original game, or even looked at the previews for this game, you can’t help but notice the distinct art direction very similar to Studio Ghibli. While the first game had a direct collaboration with Studio Ghibli, the sequel does not. However Yoshiyuki Momose, and Joe Hisaishi, whom worked on the first, came back to make their mark on the sequel! I think without the current art direction the way it is, the story would be lacking, or at least diminished. It really brings a lot to the table.
One thing of note is most of the story cutscenes are fully voiced, English and Japanese. This was a great addition to the game.
Story aside, the gameplay was very fluid and appealing. I like to think the combat system is most similar to the combat system in the Tales series of games. Once in combat, it turns into a very action oriented combat system. More fluid and appealing than the Tales series, but very similar.
You play the game through two maps, an over world map, showing the entire world, and individual “zone maps,” that are specific to the area you are in, such as a town or dungeon. On the overworld map you can choose to run from a monster, or stand and fight. You have that choice, no random encounters. Sometimes it’s difficult to run away, but its there non-the-less. The same applies to zone maps. While sometimes you aren’t capable of bypassing enemies, you at least have a chance to, especially when it comes to large level difference between your high level and the mobs low level.
There are no “stats” so to speak, you can’t really add stats to your character. What you can do is use the Tactic Tweaker. It allows you to unlock talents to give you more attack or defense to a certain monster type, or to get more exp or better item drops in general from combat.
Each zone is unique and beautiful. They put a lot of work into the zones to differentiate them from the rest. Dungeons feel unique and not simple copy paste models of a dungeon. Each dungeon brings a unique feature to it, such as the dungeon associated with Hydropolis. In this dungeon you have little water slides you have to activate in order to navigate the dungeon itself. This is a really cool concept and it just works.
The gameplay doesn’t end with just the main story. There are dozens and dozens of side quests and other activities to do. You have a kingdom to build, city builder style, and war games to play out. While the Kingdom builder is very linear, meaning you have no control over what building goes where, it is a nice feature and I enjoyed building my kingdom. The War games weren’t my favorite mini-game. It’s fully possible it was simply because I did not research any of the research points from my barracks to support that mode.
One feature I wasn’t too fond of was the overworld map. I loved the concept, but I hated the “chibi” characters. I’d much have preferred regular sized characters, or just something different to the chibi characters.
If there was one thing I could demerit the game on it would be performance with the mouse. With a controller it works flawlessly, but the mouse needs some work and love. The game in general is fluid and extremely optimized. I was pleasantly surprised by how smooth and fluid the game ran at max settings. There were a couple bugs I encountered at max settings that required a restart but it was easily fixed.
Overall, the game is extremely enjoyable and addicting. The story is fantastic and the general gameplay mechanics just work. I have a hard time finding anything wrong with the game. It has its flaws, as every game does, but it’s very small things that most people wouldn’t care about. If you were a fan of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, or JRPG’s in general, you will not be disappointed with this game! This is the first title in a while that took my attention and held it firmly. I’ve had plenty of fun, great made games over the past few months, but this one takes the top so far.