Title: Ni No Kuni 2 Revenant Kingdom
Platform: PC, PS4 (reviewed)
Developer: Level-5 Inc.
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
Release date: Out now
tl;dr: Even without Studio Ghibli, Ni No Kuni 2 is still as charming as the original.
Price: PS4 – £45/$50
PC – £50/$60
Family Focus: Click here for more information.
Ni No Kuni 2 was announced at the PlayStation Experience at the end of 2016 and was a massive surprise to everyone who had played the first one, as most of us thought that it was going to be a one-off game, but Level-5 had different plans, and I’m so glad they did, because oh boy! Ni No Kuni 2 is incredible and I walked in with expectations being low after finding out Ghibli had no involvement, along with other fears such as the kingdom building and the RTS skirmish battles.
So, let’s start with giving a breakdown of the story. Ni No Kuni 2 starts in the real world, much like the original, but this time we see a convoy of black cars which are carrying one of our lead protagonists, Roland. He’s the president of a nation; which one, we never find out so, I’m going to say America. Anyway, Roland is on his way to a peace summit when he watches a nuke fly overhead and wipes out his destination, leaving Roland in bad shape trapped under rubble where he slowly disappears…
Meanwhile, we meet Evan, the soon to be King of Ding Dong Dell (Yes, the same Ding Dong Dell from the original) when Roland appears in Evan’s chamber, but now he is youthful, confused. and scared. Evan calls for the royal guard but to no avail… This is when we find out there has been a coup masterminded by the Royal Chancellor. After escaping the clutches of Ding Dong Dell’s army, Evan makes a promise to his trusted advisor that he will create a world where everyone can live happily ever after. What happens next is a series of interesting plot points which kept me hooked throughout my entire playtime, which ended around 86 hours after story and side content.
Now, let me talk about side content, and boy is there a lot of it. This varies from simple fetch quests to battling ferocious monsters tainted by the darkness that rest in the deepest recesses of their hearts, and these guys mean business. There are 60 of these creatures in total, but you have to defeat the first 50 to get access to the final 10. These mean bastards give you some of the best equipment in the game which renders the weapon shops and the such pointless, as you generally get the high powered stuff before arriving at the next town if you venture off the beaten path.
But these fetch quests and tainted monsters are not the only side content that you’ll encounter during your journey; you also have to build your kingdom. As mentioned above, this was one of the things I voiced concerns for, but thankfully, that concern was not needed, as the kingdom building is kind of fun; it reignited the joy I used to have back on my Windows 98 PC with The Sims.
In ordered to build your Kingdom of Evermore, you must complete the side quests that involve citizens from other nations to join your kingdom to help it thrive, and each of these citizens has different skills that help you get the most out of them in Evermore. For example, if they are a farmer, they will help increase productivity at your farms or maybe they are a warrior who could add to your army and train up the newbies. All of it plays together, as training up those soldiers will help you in the RTS skirmishes which you have to do for side quests or story progression, so none of this ever feels like a chore as it all flows effortlessly.
Although, we have to get onto some issues I have with the game. One of those issues is the difficulty; it’s way too easy. Bosses literally fell like flies before me and with no option to raise the difficulty, the bosses that were meant to feel like a threat were nothing to me. The other two issues can be bundled together, the first being the dialogue. Scenes will be voiced one moment, and the next it’s back to reading like in the middle of a scene; it makes the dynamic of some scenes feel off and loses some of the drama. Whilst the second issue relates to some text boxes having tiny text, and by the time you focus on it, the text box has moved along automatically. This seems to be a problem we are revisiting from the PS3/Xbox 360 days.
Finally, let’s round off on a positive, and that is that the soundtrack and graphics are both beautiful. Joe Hisaishi is back and he nails the soundtrack, giving every town, environment, and moment the perfect music. Whilst the graphical design is truly breathtaking and gives you the feeling you’re living and breathing in the air of Ghibli styled world, the team at Level-5 truly nailed the magic and wonder that Ghibli helped deliver in the previous entry.
Overall, Ni No Kuni 2 Revenant Kingdom is a glorious game that proves even without Ghibli, Level-5 can give us a journey just as magical as its predecessor.
Even if the game’s difficulty is too easy, it leads to an enjoyable JRPG experience that I haven’t felt for a long time! I cannot wait to see what Level-5 will throw at us with the season pass content, but I highly recommend people check out this game, and don’t worry if you haven’t played the original; you need no knowledge of Ni No Kuni to enjoy this game, you only miss out on minor Easter eggs.
- A beautiful and breathtaking world with a gripping narrative.
- A glorious soundtrack thanks to the brilliant Joe Hisaishi.
- A wonderful well rounded experience with vast amounts of content that didn’t need two season passes to fill it out.
- Combat was too easy and made story bosses fell like standard enemies.
- Lack of full voice acting for some scenes.
- Text can be too small in some sections of the game.
Ni No Kuni 2 Revenant Kingdom is rated T for Teen by ESRB and PEGI 12 as the game contains fantasy violence and mild blood.
This review is based on a physical copy of the game purchased for the purposes of this review.