I said it before during my hands on of Ni no Kuni II during E3 2017, that I simply wasn’t a fan of the first game. Which lead me to not even consider checking out the sequel. Which would have been a huge mistake, but one that was corrected thanks to the kind folks at the Bandai Namco booth at E3 2018. They had asked if I wanted to try the game as were there to check out another huge game from the company. I think they asked like three times before I submitted and got my hands on the controller. And I’m so damned glad I did.
Nearly a year later, I’m once again blessed to get some more hands-on with the game. This time in the form of a review code that Bandai sent our way. It’s everything I remembered from my brief hands-on and more. I’ve spent the last few days getting acquainted with the game, its characters, and the mechanics. Let’s just say that fans of RPGs are going to love this game, even the ones who weren’t even looking forward to the game. Just about everything so far has been amazing. However, if I had to point out what puts this game over the top for me, it would be the combat system. Especially since the first one was known for being a drag, and is one of the reasons why I avoided the original game.
You’re given complete control of your characters, as you hack and slack your way through battles. You’re given an item that lets you equip multiple weapons, both melee and ranged, that you can use during combat. Telling you now, this is going to spoil you. In addition to that are spells, that provide plenty of offensive and defensive abilities. Combined with full-360 degree based combat, giving access to the entire area of battle. Charge on up to an enemy and smack them around for a bit, or sit back and chip them away via your ranged attacks. Adding to that, I have to say that Evan’s magical abilities make me feel like I’m playing a Dragon Ball game. Ni no Kuni II‘s combat is so good that you want to wait to dive back into combat. Something that I’ve been doing over and over, with a huge grin on my face. It just feels, easy and natural.
It’s not just the combat though, as Ni no Kuni II simply has this charm that I just can’t explain. It’s the look of the game, that looks like a Studio Ghibli film has come to live. Or the fantastic voice acting, yes I’m talking about the dub, that just feels so right. Or the character that you can’t help but connect with. It’s all here. The game’s presentation is easily some of the best I’ve seen in a game in quite some time and I haven’t even scratched the surface.
Then there’s the Higgledies, the replacements for the Familiars of the first game. These guys are so damned cute, I wish they actually existed. They serve not only as the comedic relief but also assist you on your journey. They’ll heal you during combat, or dish out some attacks or buff you and your party. And they’re completely autonomous, you just need to be near them and they’ll do the rest. Damn, why don’ these things actually exist?!!?
While we’re at it, I played the game on my PS4 Pro, with 4K enabled. Sadly, I did have to disable HDR as I have my PS4 Pro connected to my Elgato 4K60 Pro as it doesn’t capture or handle HDR. I also did not choose to enable supersampling for the recorded footage as I noticed some stuttering. With it off, the framerate was buttery smooth, just how I like it.
I typically get tired of combat in RPGs after a few hours. Yet here I am, 7 hours into the game and I’m addicted. There’s also a nice amount of creating of your kingdom, some RTS styled-mechanics, crafting, cooking and so much other stuff to do. There’s just so much going on, but we’ll save that all for our review. our full review of Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom will be live next week, so be sure to watch for it!
After playing Ni no Kuni II, I don’t know if I could go back to other JRPGs. Now if you excuse me, I have to get back to creating my kingdom.