The Ni no Kuni story is back from the grave with a fresh new Kingdom to Come! Is the game that Level Five created a worthy successor to the first installment, or is it a drag along the road?
Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers.
About Ni no Kuni 2:
Ni no Kuni 2 is a game developed by Level Five, the same company that created the Dark Cloud series and many other popular JRPGs back in the early (well it is still the early) 2000s. The game is actually set of about a couple hundred years after the events in Wrath of The White Witch. In that case, this game may have some cameos of other characters and you will most likely see some recycled assets, hear some similar jingles, and some similar gameplay features.
The game's development may have been started during 2014 (or initial concept and designs), but it was introduced publicly in 2015 at the PlayStation Experience Event.
The main characters of the game are a young cat-boy named Evan, a samurai-looking boss called Roland, and other people you will pick up for your bustling kingdom to rule.
Game Trailers (From various channels):
To get some idea of what the game looks like and such, take a quick moment to watch and explore Ding Dong Dell that will sell.
My Video Review:
Here is a short video review that is part of this article. Talking is faster than typing a ton of thoughts.
The Game Itself:
I wasn't particularly fond of the switching between the world map's artwork and then the detailed zones. The world map art doesn't even match the overall setting of the game, and I figured it was probably rushed because Ni no Kuni (the first one) had a much better-looking world map with better details (for real). The characters are okay, but I'm not fond of any of them, yet, they are all not interesting to me because, Roland seems like a powerful and wise man, but he hardly gives off any sense of courage or bravery. Then Evan, the main boy, is what every kid used to be until they grew up (in which we will most likely witness in the course of the game's story).
The gameplay is pretty fun and not as tiring as a hack-n-slash. You have to have some tactics and avoid enemy patterns to win battles. The game has so many small features, that they build up to the simplistic game-play making it seem like a lot, but it really isn't. The game without all those extra features such as those small creatures used for battle, switching weapons, element weakness, and skills, is not that hard to implement and only supplement the battle system to be rich in combat. Alongside the actual battles, we also have skirmishes which are a much simpler version of any tactics game. You merely fight groups of enemies on the world map with your army and win battles. They are pretty fun, and I do like them because it reminds me of Suikoden 5, and those skirmishes were awesome (story-wise and eye-candy).
The voice-acting is lacking. The game is not fully voice and for an AAA title, that was disappointing. I forgive Level 5 for that, because it's better to imagine how they would sound like, and kids can just use their imaginations!
The sounds, music, and user interface are standard. I feel like I hear some re-used assets honestly from other game titles. However, that is understandable because Level 5 probably tweaked some of their old assets and maybe had additional resources to use from other game studios since the game is published by Bandai Namco.
On a personal note, I wish there was a cute female character, but I haven't seen one yet. I also was sad that I can't name my kingdom (or maybe I didn't get far enough into the story?).
Now for the story, it's not something serious at all. Level 5 did a great job in making a story that every young kid dreams of: building a kingdom. I know that it's cheesy and it's a lot of more work than what the game shows. However, the story has a foreshadowing of two forces working together in the fantasy world and real world. I can see that maybe we will see a clash of the two worlds collide.
One thing about the game that's also interesting is that the other kingdoms you visit could symbolize countries today, in a subtle manner, and of course, Evan wants to unite them to his kingdom of ridding of suffering and all that.
In between cutscenes we also see Evan and another young boy talking while having tea, so we are experiencing a story that is of omnipresence. Until we catch up to that point of the actual timeline with those two, we will not actually see any character development. For this type of game, it's probably okay because what can you expect from a President and a kid that was king already? Not much. We could see some subtle changes, but it won't be anything exciting, the real story is exploring the world, building a kingdom, and pure adventure (which is feeding our curiosity).
The game will probably conclude with us uniting our own kingdom only to find out that it was for the wrong reason, and we see that Roland's place is probably in turmoil. Then that will lead to Roland having to ask Evan for help in his world to restore his country as well, to normal. Then we could witness a time paradox, and everything is restored to normal after the events of Evan's father getting poisoned or so. I believe that's what will happen because of the hints laid out with what the story has already told us. I mean, we have no clue where, why, and how the weasel's (or what animal those mouse? rats?) came, but that may be the only link. Or I'm completely wrong, and it really is as simple as building a new kingdom and taking over the world with sunshine and rainbows!
Was it A Good Buy:
I'm not biased or anything, but for the hours that you will spend on this JRPG, which could easily topple 35 hours, I highly feel that it justifies the price of $60 USD, or whatever it markets for. Ni no Kuni 2 is a game any adventure lover should try out because the game itself is based off that feeling when you were young with curiosity and the drive to do something good for the beautiful world!
Also, if you buy the game, and feel convinced that you should go out there right now and buy it, then below is an Amazon link, that is obviously a referral link that helps me live and make my own Nation, thanks.
That's it for this very short review of the Ni no Kuni 2 game. If you don't end of feeling convinced or you are not interested, then you are truly missing out on an experience that brings you back to the good old days of story-telling. Have a fantastic day.