Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: Level-5
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Platform: PC, PS4
Tested on: PS4

Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom – Review

Site Score
9.0
Good: Story, Atmosphere, Graphics
Bad: Skirmishes break the flow a bit
User Score
9.7
(3 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)

The first Ni No Kuni game did not pass by unnoticed, as the game received great reviews all over the globe. While the game possessed great qualities in terms of storytelling and mechanics, it was the partnership with Studio Ghibli that truly placed the game on the map, allowing it to get a lot of attention beforehand. Nonetheless, due to this the expectations were high, but Level-5, the developers behind the game, passed prejudice with flying colors and were able to deliver a great and charming title. We weren’t surprised when a sequel was announced, that seemed to be heading in the right direction in terms of quality. We were ready for an entirely new fairytale-like story, with spiffy mechanics and a shiny new world to explore.

Ni No Kuni II Revenant Kingdom

Story

The story starts off in what seems to be the United States of America, on our Earth, where the president is driving towards a city. Sadly, he never reaches his destination as the city is bombarded and his car gets wiped off the road in the process. He then finds himself in a strange new world, in a younger form of himself. This odd world houses humans, but also animal-like creatures with humanlike traits, as they walk on two feet, talk and have a humanlike civilization. Roland finds himself at the court of Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum, the current ruler of Ding Dong Dell, after his father died of supposed sickness. Again Roland finds himself in an unfortunate situation as he appeared in the kingdom in the middle of a coup, where the Mousekin’s leader Mausinger is trying to kill Evan. Roland steps up to the plate, defends Evan, and escapes from the clutches from Mausinger, ready for an entirely new journey, one where Evan builds up a new kingdom with Roland by his side, but first he’ll have to pass through a scary new world, make new friends, fight many battles and find inhabitants for this new kingdom.

The story is truly fairytale-like and is pleasantly built up throughout the entire game. You’ll get enough story content, even when you’re playing the side-quests, as these also allow you to build up your kingdom. Overall the story is truly worthy of the Ghibli name, and you’ll have plenty of hours worth of story content.

Graphics

As mentioned before, Level-5 has partnered up with Studio Ghibli when it comes to the graphical theme of the game. This means that you’ll be treated to a fairytale-like universe, with typical traits from the Ghibil movies, which means that the characters could easily star in one of the studio’s feature films. The cinematics are all done in a vibrant and colorful fashion, and the same can be said about the cities, dungeons and the characters that roam around in them, including but not limited to your party of adventurers.

Outside of the pearly gates of the different cities and dungeons, you’ll be looking at an overworld map, where your characters are portrayed as chibi versions of themselves, making it easier to traverse greater distances, without having to resort to loading sequences, shrinking the world or other items that would ruin the immersion. We would have loved a bit more detail on the characters on this overworld part of the game, but it’s still a fun way of portraying traveling, with monsters on your path, in a very retro-esque fashion.

Sound

The Music in Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom can range from very upbeat in a cheerful surrounding, to very ominous when the situations requests it to be as such. You’ll be treated to a fairly elaborate soundtrack that suits every situation in the game.

One thing is regrettable when it comes to the sound design of the game, namely the voice acting. The voice acting itself is great, but there is very little of it to be found within the entire game. There are a few cutscenes that are fully voiced, and some lesser important conversations as well, while others only have a few phrases voiced, and the majority of the rest only has one or two words properly voiced. It would have been such an immersive experience if all, or at least most of the key conversations, would have been completely voiced.

Gameplay

Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is an action RPG which revolves around Evan’s ascension to the throne in an entirely new kingdom, after he lost his own due to a coup. You’ll be exploring the rather expansive map, with different cities, dungeons and other exploration sites, all while battling monsters, gaining experience and building up your own kingdom in the process. The latter will only unlock after several hours of gameplay and will progress rather slowly at the beginning, but proves to become a valuable part of the game after a while. All of this means that the game is divided in different portions, ranging from the actual exploration, kingdom building, battling and even skirmishes with your recruited troops, presenting yet another layer of gameplay.

You’ll be thrown into a rather large world which is accessible for the most part from the beginning, but you’ll simply end up dying if you head into deep waters before you’re up to the task. On the world map there are also wild monsters roaming around, which will target you if you walk into their sights. As some areas are really crowded, it’ll be impossible to pass by unnoticed, rendering that location off limits. Nonetheless, there will be different areas within your target level, so some exploring beforehand is possible, and if you like the grind, you can easily access newer areas before you’re supposed to go there as well, paving the way for later quick travel points and so on. Monsters respawn every time you walk into a dungeon or town, so that’s easy to remember if you want to grind for some experience.

The actual combat, be it on the world map, or within a dungeon is fairly easy. You can have a party of three, and some extra so-called ‘Higgledies’ (little elementals) aid you in combat. Out of your party of three, you can choose which character you control, and thus play with your favorite party member. Of course some missions require you to play with Evan, so other characters will be off limits then. The Higgledies will aid you in combat as well, out of their own free will, or when being beckoned to do so. When all foes are dead, combat ends, you can pick up the loot and go on your merry way. The hack and slash-like combat is intuitive and not too hard. There’s a system in place that every weapon you use (up to three different melee weapons) gets charged to deal more damage. When you use a skill with a charged weapon, its charge counter will reset and start filling again. This makes the combat fluid, fast and above all, fun.

Another portion of the combat are the skirmishes, which put Evan at the lead of army forces. Evan can control up to four different troops, often diverging between ranged and melee troops. These battles aren’t that frequent, but some main quests require you to do them, so there’s no weaseling out. Truth be told, these battles feel a bit random, less fluent and a lot less fun than the rest of the game. While this is a somewhat appreciated change of pace, the structure feels all wrong and it sometimes just seems as if this was rushed to be added into the game. You’ll be playing with your four troops against many of the enemy, and it’s hard to properly assess when you can beat them easily and when you’re in a disadvantage. Add the skills that deplete your troops, healing abilities that also weaken your troops and you can’t make sense of it at all.

Last but not least there’s the kingdom building portion of the game. Around six to eight hours into the game you’ll forge your own kingdom and you can build buildings, collect money, do research and of course attract possible inhabitants. The latter is done by completing story quests, which will only provide you with key characters, but when you do a lot of side-quests, you’ll also get more and more people in your town, which you can put to good use in your different facilities. The more people you have, the faster research is done, the more money you’ll make, and the more resources you will produce. While this sim portion is fairly basic, it’s actually a fun addition to the game, introducing a new mechanic, and allowing the player to let his own kingdom grow, giving him more power by adding the choice to do side-quests or not.

The game tries to be a bit of everything, and for the most part it actually works very well. There is no real familiar system like in the last game, safe for the Higgledies, but you now get the skirmishes and kingdom building as a replacement. It’s fun to see the new additions to the game and it shows that this is a series that can still go in every direction.

Conclusion

Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is a great title, not only for fans of the franchise, but people who enjoy somewhat traditional RPGs. You got a big map to explore, lots of monsters to battle, many people to get to know and an entire kingdom you can build with your own two hands and some extra elbow grease. The story portions of the game are entertaining and intriguing, which works great with the Studio Ghibli graphics, which wrap the game in a very appealing fairytale blanket. If you’re looking for a great RPG to sink in for over forty hours, then this one might be a great companion to spend the coming weeks with.

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Rating: 9.7/10 (3 votes cast)
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Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom - Review, 9.7 out of 10 based on 3 ratings
Ibuki
Ibuki


Aspiring ninja.

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