Ni no Kuni 2

Ni no Kuni 2

Ni no Kuni 2 Revenant Kingdom is an anime inspired RPG. This sequel to the popular original combines the sweeping storytelling and gorgeous visuals with an all new plot. With artists and composers from classic Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli, the overall appearance of Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is immediately familiar to fans of films such as Spirited Away. The game combines traditionally animated cutscenes with bright visuals to create a dreamlike world with a classic RPG base, blurring the line between game and animation. While the gameplay itself, based around capturing and training monsters, is no great leap forward for the genre, this takes a back seat to the overall experience. Sweeping scores and great world building take the player on a fantastic grand adventure, with this sequel focusing on the tale of young king Evan. It should be said that the decidedly non-mature world of Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom may not appeal to all gamers, however.

After being overthrown in a coup, the young king Evan sets out on an extraordinary quest to found a new kingdom, unite his world and protect its inhabitants from the dark forces that threaten them. Join him on an unforgettable adventure which blurs the line between animated feature film and video game. Developed by LEVEL-5, Ni no Kuni II features enchanting character designs from the legendary artist Yoshiyuki Momose and a stirring soundtrack composed by the world-famous Joe Hisaishi.

Ni no Kuni 2 Review

The major focus of Revenant Kingdom is combat, and this too represents a radical departure from Wrath of the White Witch. Forget any link to the turn-based traditions of old, Revenant Kingdom’s combat is fully real-time and feels wonderfully fast and responsive. You’re leaping at enemies with light and heavy attacks, casting spells, blocking or dive-rolling to avoid damage, and largely letting your party members take care of themselves while you focus on controlling your character of choice.

Everything in your kingdom takes money to fund and time to develop, but more than just investing in these services, you need to staff them with citizens from across the world. This means tackling a lot of sidequests, acquired either by mingling with the populace or by completing tasks for the taskmaster. By and large, sidequests are either a fetch quest or a kill-x-number-of-enemy bounty. These are common fare for RPGs, but nevertheless frustrating to see relied upon so heavily here. On the other hand, Ni No Kuni 2’s humorous writing and endearing NPCs shine through, lending something worthwhile to even the most common interactions. They aren’t all winners, to be certain, but the distinct accents and colloquialisms spread throughout the world play nicely into the visual variety on display.

When exploring the world map, managing your kingdom, and diving into RTS skirmishes, the camera pulls back and everything is given a rough-hewn, super-deformed appearance. Though you can bend over backwards and call it a potentially necessary evil, that doesn’t excuse the sinking feeling that there must have been a better way, one that doesn’t require the game to hide its lovely, cel-shaded face. Near the end of your journey, this shift rears its head during a battle that’s intended to feel epic and intimidating, but is ultimately deflated by the simple presentation and impersonal perspective; one last reminder that Ni No Kuni 2, despite its outstanding qualities, bears obvious flaws.

Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom distinguishes itself from its predecessor by layering fast-paced, real-time combat and an engaging kingdom building system atop more traditional RPG systems and quests. It’s a shame it delivers so few truly memorable characters and restricts so much of its storytelling to text on screen, but by the end of Ni No Kuni 2 the broader themes certainly resonate and the 40+ hour journey has been well worth it.

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Ni No Kuni 2 is a robust game that offers ample ways to spend your time, and even if they aren't all up to the same level of quality, it's easy to appreciate how they collectively contribute to the bigger picture. It's chock full of excellent battles and surprising moments that make for a far more memorable experience than you initially expect and leaves you impressed by your own accomplishments. If you didn't play the first game, don't let this one pass you by too.
  • Excellent anime-inspired visuals
  • An interesting world filled with delightful characters
  • Demanding combat that rewards reflexes and smart decision making
  • Multiple interconnected pursuits with multi-layered benefits
  • Relies too often on basic fetch quests
  • Secondary activities resort to an off-putting visual style
Gameplay - 8.7
Graphics - 8.6
Audio - 8.6
Longevity - 8.6

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