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Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom Review

Video Review:

Ni No Kuni 2 Revenant Kingdom, is a sequel to the popular JRPG that was released on the PS3 back in 2013. Even if you haven’t played the original you would recognize the distinct art style. Developed by Level 5 and partnering with Studio Ghibli, the Japanese animation studio behind films like Spirited Away. While Studio Ghibli was less involved in the sequel, character designers and composers return to make the sequel just as great if not better than the original. I tried to finish the first game multiple times, but only probably got through half of the story. If you haven’t played either game yet, I would recommend you start with the second game and in this review, I will explain why I enjoyed the second game so much more.

Revenant Kingdom is a traditional JRPG in many aspects in many aspects but adds enough new mechanics that keep things fun and fresh during my 60+ hour journey. At first, I didn’t expect the story to be anything special, and based on the style and characters thought the plot would be superficial and focused on younger audiences. The plot revolves around a young king, Evan, who is forced to flee his kingdom and rebuild a new one to unite all kingdoms under a new banner where everyone could live happily ever after. You visit four distinct kingdoms each facing their own internal turmoil, that you must help solve before they join your alliance. During all this, there is an ever growing threat from a bigger evil that threatens to destroy the world.

What makes a great game ultimately revolves around the characters, especially the villains. I was surprised at how much depth each of the characters, including the leaders of each nation had. Even the ultimate villain, trying to bring the destruction of the world, was multidimensional and made the conclusion that much more satisfying to resolve.

The combat is probably the weakest aspect of the game in my opinion. The battle system does away with familiars that were present in the original and focuses more on the action combat similar to those of the Tales series. You have a light attack, heavy attack, dodge and block during battle. Familiars are present in the form of higgledies, which provide attacks and buffs, that you can activate on the battlefield by running into them while a circular indicator is present. Even on hard difficulty, most battles will be won by mashing the attack button, and out gearing or out leveling your enemies instead of utilizing many strategies or support characters.

Similar to the original, the overworld has visible enemies and their levels above them and you can engage by touching them to start the battle. The chibi characters in the overworld and kingdom are charming and fit the style of the game. While I’m glad random battles in JRPGs are being phased out, exploring the bland overworld was a bit of a drag. I enjoyed the towns that were more vibrant, and dungeons where all enemies where present and battles started immediately without needing to go to another battle area.

A new major feature in the Revenant Kingdom is the kingdom building. After solving a nation’s issues and allying with them, can revisit the town to recruit citizens to your kingdom. As you recruit more citizens and build up your nation, you can upgrade your nation to unlock more facilities that provide upgrades to items, resources, drops during combat, and much more. I kept returning my kingdom to collect resources and spend them on upgrades.

Another feature that may be hit or miss was the skirmish battles. When recruiting new citizen to your kingdom, some also bring their military units. You can equip up to 4 military units of varying types, that have their strength and weaknesses to other types, similar to rock, paper, scissors. These units also gain experience and level up to take on higher level skirmishes. While not particularly fun, the dialogue and background that lead to these quests made it worth spending the time to complete.

What I love about the Revenant Kingdom and holds true to great JRPGs is the number of optional sidequests, errands, and tainted monsters that you can do along with the main quest. The reason why the game doesn’t become tedious like many JRPG games is the charming character and well-written dialogue. Even fetch quests are made enjoyable by rewarding you with quirky dialogue, character names, and supplying you with exp, items, or citizens for your kingdom.

If you haven’t played a Bandai Namco game, this is a great place to start. As long as you are expecting a long adventure, giving the story time to develop its characters, and enjoy the action focused battles. I loved this game and would give a 9/10, with a solid story and characters that more mature than I expected.

I hope you guys enjoyed the game too, let me know what you thought of the Ni No Kuni games.

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