Games of the Year

Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom

Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom Screenshot 1
Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom Screenshot 2
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Welcome to the beautiful world of Ni no Kuni! After being overthrown in a coup, the young king Evan sets out on an extraordinary quest to found a new kingdom, unite his world and protect its inhabitants from the dark forces that threaten them. Join him on an unforgettable adventure which blurs the line between animated feature film and video game. Developed by LEVEL-5, Ni no Kuni II features enchanting character designs from the legendary artist Yoshiyuki Momose and a stirring soundtrack composed by the world-famous Joe Hisaishi.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

Whether you like Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom comes from how you approach it. If you come in expecting more of Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, you'll be disappointed as very little aside from some art styles and a few parts of the world are the same. If you approach it as its own game with tenuous ties to the original, you may enjoy it better.
This is a full action RPG rather than the hybrid turn based active battle system that the first game did. You have AI controlled characters, and this time the AI uses them pretty effectively. You have MP, but it is pretty limited and you will need to do melee attacks to regenerate your MP. Your weapon skills can be pretty strong, but you can only use them once, maybe twice in trash fights and sparingly in bosses. Magic is sadly weaker than in the first game due to the MP system. You also have access to a dodge roll, and positioning is quite important. The golden glim returns, this time it lets you do more damage and have infinite MP for a time. It's quite amazing with Tani and her arrow rain skill, or Evan and some of his late game potent spells.
Characterization is OK, a few characters have a lot of development but others are just kind of there. The overall story isn't quite as good as the first game, and unlike the very threatening present of Shadar in NnK1, the villain here is not as visible. While I wasn't fond of Drippy from NnK1, he at least has a personality; your fairy companion Lofty has barely any characterization.
Artwise it's a mixed bag. The character art and cutscenes are the same gorgeous Ghibli inspired fare you expect. The terrain is more realistic, which doesn't mesh well with the character art. Finally, the world map and the skirmishes use plastic toy like chibi characters which are just not my style.
Animations, with one glaring exception, are also great. The characters have great motion and feel. The exception is that when you jump or dodge roll as Tani, you get a flash of her panties. Tani can't be more than 12, just why did you think this was OK, especially with Ghibli doing the art and animation?
Environments and level design are also mixed. Some areas look great, and main story dungeons are also great and complex. Optional areas however do not have a lot of variety. You'll see a lot of the same reused rooms, corridors, and caves. It can also be hard to find some of the areas on the world map, they're not always well distinguished from the decorations.
The rest of the game is mixed too, there seems to be so many competing factors and aspects. The main action RPG segment is great. There's a large town building aspect which I find quite good. Next, there is a skirmish mass combat aspect, with its own separate exp system. Some optional dungeons are randomized. Finally there's a crafting system. Like NnK1, there's a creature collection system but it works differently.
The town building is one aspect I quite love. You obtain citizens for your kingdom via the story or by doing sidequests, and these citizens can be put to work at buildings in your kingdom. They can collect crafting resources, perform research that unlocks more crafting options or give you permanent boosts, and gradually level up over time. There are a large number of buildings, and upgrading and staffing the right ones can give you a number of rare crafting ingredients for crafting, creating higgledies, upgrading spells, or doing sidequests. It's quite fun to manage, and you have easy teleport access to the city so it's easy to pop in, do some upgrades and start some research, then go back to progressing sidequests or the main story. Do not neglect the city building aspect is there will be required upgrades you have to do!
The skirmishes are mass combat, where you control up to 4 units that can rotate around you. Three of them, hammer, spear, and sword are in a wheel where one beats another while is beaten by the third. Then there's archery/spells that have no strength or weakness. You will eventually earn more units, each with their own passive abilities and active skills. Generally though, active skills aren't worth the expense and you're usually better off just using the military power resource to restore your units power as they're beaten down. Skirmishes have their own experience and level system, totally separate from your character levels. It can be difficult, especially early, as there aren't many ways to level up to have a chance. The good thing is that even if you lose a skirmish (and the game over screen pops up), you actually don't lose anything (unless you spent kingdom currency on bolstering) and keep whatever xp is earned! You can just slowly beat yourself against a difficult skirmish and you'll eventually get enough xp and power to win. I didn't enjoy the skirmishes much, but it's something you will have to power through. Do not neglect skirmishes as there are required ones during the story!
Crafting is better than NNK1, but still not enjoyable. There are a number of crafting options that aren't really connected to one another (except all being unlocked through your city building aspect of the game), so it can feel a bit disjointed. Some of the top end gear requires grinding a lot of ingredients from an end-game randomized dungeon, adding a lot of false longevity (both the grind and the horrible randomness).
As for weapons, you'll find most of the weapons and you'll generally only craft when you're drowning in high end materials. Each character can equip 3 melee weapons and one ranged weapon, and there are three types of weapons (swords, axes/hammers, and spears). Two characters can equip each type of weapon, so it's a good idea to only have one wielder in your party so you don't have two characters competing for the same one. Unlike NnK1, you CAN swap Evan out of the party, and it may be a good idea to do so until he gets stronger as he levels up (and swapped out characters gain XP just fine). Evan gets very high stats later on, but in the early to even mid game he's on the weak side.
The creature collection this time are higgledies, these are up to 4 little minions that appear in battle with you, They'll do some minor attacks or skills (like minor healing) and occasionally show a circle. If you enter the circle and activate it, they'll use their active skill. These can range from a healing field (useful), to spawning a cannon, to dropping a hammer with a decent chance to interrupt, summoning a knight to fight with you, or doing a high damage gravity field (very useful and you get access to a higgledy with this early!). These can be leveled up with crafting too.
Overall I did enjoy it, it's not quite as good of a story as Wrath of the White Witch, but it's a decent game set in the same universe. I do wish it was more focused, I think it just tried to do too much. Just the action RPG and the city builder, or just the action RPG and the skirmishes would have been a lot better. With the resources spread out so much, I feel that too many aspects weren't explored enough. Worth it on sale if you like jRPG's, just don't expect more of NnK1.

Review from Steam

Ni No Kuni 2 is a bit of an odd duck.
First, this game has nothing to do with Ni No Kuni 1. Zero. The world is different, the characters are different, and the events of the first game are not referred to at all except as very minor Easter eggs.
Also the battle system has been completely changed from NNK1. NNK1's pokemon-esque familiar system is completely gone, and here, you control your characters directly. Battles are entirely real-time with no turn-based elements, and involve dodges, blocks, and timing your attacks. You control one character, and the other two on your team will be controlled by AI. Unlike the first game, the AI is quite good and while it doesn't have a huge damage output, it will generally keep itself alive even through difficult fights, except for a handful of cheese attacks that certain bosses have that are easy for a human player to see coming but they will chew the AI up. All in all, though, the battle system in this game represents a massive improvement, and while the battles are quite repetitive, I never got tired of them.
Aesthetically, the game is nowhere near as good as NNK1. In the first game, the aesthetics were the primary selling point, but in NNK2, while not bad by any means, it's a massive downgrade. The beautiful Ghibli art and animations are gone, the soundtrack is not fully orchestrated, the wonderful illustrated wizard's companion is nowhere to be seen, designs are quite a bit more generic-anime, and the majority of the game's dungeon areas are bland, procedurally-generated hallways. Overall, this game does have better gameplay, but I wish the aesthetic qualities had carried over from the first title.
The Story of Ni No Kuni 2 follows a middle-aged grey-haired president from a modern-day city whose country is obliterated in a bombing. His mangled and dying body is magically transported to a fantasy kingdom where he wakes up as a perfectly healthy young twentysomething swordsman. His storyline is promptly forgotten until the end of the game; meanwhile, he becomes the companion and advisor to a young 12-year-old boy king who is ousted from his kingdom by a coup. The young ex-king decides to build a new kingdom, and then to unite the countries of the world by peace treaty. As the player travels from country to country on this reunification mission, the Big Bad of the game, a mysterious masked wizard type, works against them. The main story is pretty silly overall, but the individual chapters themselves are fine.
This is the best Suikoden game since Suikoden V (2006). NNK2 draws extremely heavy inspiration from the Suikoden series. The central mechanic of the game is the kingdom you build. The kingdom starts small, and will grow throughout the game via a small townbuilder-style interface. The game has ~105 recruitable citizens, most of whom join after completing optional sidequests. These citizens can be assigned to buildings in your town, where they will gain EXP and passively generate money, crafting materials, and research towards passive combat bonuses, which can then be reinvested into expanding the kingdom and building upgrades. There are also a number of Suikoden style "tactics" battles involving your recruited folks. The townbuilder is very addictive, and through the main game at least, it really helps cut down on the need for grinding fights.
Overall, I could not put down Ni No Kuni 2. I had a crazy good time with the game all through the main story. However, like Ni No Kuni 1, the postgame is terrible. It is not possible to fully complete your kingdom until the postgame, as you are locked out of the last ~6 people you need until the main boss is dead. However, as soon as you get them, the kingdom you have worked so hard to build up becomes completely useless, as you now need hundreds of crafting materials that are higher-level than anything the kingdom can passively produce, and you have no need of money. Meanwhile, the endgame content, and there's a LOT of it, consists of running through dozens and dozens of long, randomly generated dungeons trying to farm rare materials, one absurdly high-level superboss, and something literally called the "Solosseum Slog", a series of a few dozen Colosseum fights against waves of enemies and bosses that have to be completed in an arbitrarily set time limit. I liked the game quite a bit, so I dove headfirst into the postgame, which over the course of a few hours really started sapping my joy.
If you dip out for the postgame, Ni No Kuni 2 gets a thumbs-up from me.

Review from Steam

2022 - This game has so much more to offer than you can perceive from the videos and reviews. There's crafting, there's lot's of fighting, city management, tons of side quests, companions, a tactical mini-game, exp grinding for end game content, it's awesome, I had it on my wish list for a long time. It's been a while since a game caught me this way, playing it non stop when I can, thinking how can I improve the dmg output to kill a difficult mob or progress in end game. I would say it's full price is a little high but worth it. If it's on SALE TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Review from Steam

If you remember the Dark Cloud games from playstation 1 and 2 days, this is the best and closest game to those I have ever played. Very enjoyable. City building, rts, open world rpg, this game really does all of them well. Highly recommend.

Review from Steam

First of all, if you want to buy this to get first game's sequel, you will leave with a bitter taste in your mouth. They are similar in spirit but not at it's core gameplay. There are references to the previous title but world map and mechanics are not similar.
What's great about this game is most definitely it's combat - it's fun and challenging with many ways to win a battle. Story is good, world map is excellent and pimp-my-kingdom was a great addition as well - cuts out grind for items. Skirmish battles also give a new rabbit hole to fall down into.
On the downside it falls victim to plague suffered by many RPGs - need to get players to spend 60+ hours. That means that there are 90% cookie cutter dungeons and 10% cool ones. Traveling in dungeons is slow because they are just too big.
Audio also takes a backseat on this, compared to it's precursor - voice acting is rare and music is sometimes completely off to their environment (especially on Broadleaf).
Side content was good but again, too much. I would have liked Trails in the sky approach with <10 sidequests per chapter than padding the game with bunch of fetch quests.
Overall, good game. Definitely worth when it's on sale.

Review from Steam

Evan is the young prince of Ding Dong Dell, but on the day of his coronation to become king, Roland materializes out of thin air from another world in front of him. Both are very confused and it gets even worse when Roland and Evan realize that Mausinger, the previous King’s trusted advisor, has staged a coup in an attempt for glory. Evan escapes with Roland’s assistance and vows to make his own country- A place where there is no war and everyone can be happy- and here starts this tale of a small king and his advisor building the soon to be legendary kingdom of Evermore from scratch. Recruit citizens, forge alliances with other kingdoms, uncover various schemes and create unbreakable bonds; but beware: something stirs in the background, and you, my friend, are in their way.
55+ hours to complete, Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom is honestly kind of boring until the third chapter. Chapters 1-3 are all about setting up the story and it’s not until a couple hours in you actually get to really play and get into city-building. Once you start though? Amazing, fun, intuitive, the combat is my favorite and I would get into fights just for the fun of it. The number of items you could pick up made my little packrat heart happy; and I say this to you with all the love and experience as someone who has completed this game – Do not sell anything, ever. Especially shoes. Every item you get will be needed, either to complete a quest or to create an item. Even the pebbles.
The DLC is a must-buy; especially if you’ve played Wrath of the White Witch. The story ties in and I’m genuinely a bit salty I listened to people who said it doesn’t matter which game you play first, it does. The Labyrinth is an incredible place where you get a ton of EXP and equipment that are far better than literally anything in the base game; and while I had significant issues such as every 1 out of 4 runs crashing and the occasional exit door not spawning; it was absolutely still worth using it to level to the 150 cap. After that, the Winnower quest and Tale of a Timeless Tome, tie into White Witch and connect the stories.
TLDR; 55+hrs, city building, fun combat, amazing DLC, lots of side quests, make alliances with other kingdoms. Don’t sell anything ever; and play Wrath of the White Witch first.
EDIT: I've played Wrath of the White Witch and hated it, Revenant Kingdom is significantly better; if you want, instead of playing, I would actually suggest going to youtube and watching all the cutscenes in one single movie, look up information on The Conductor, then play this one.

Review from Steam

Ni No Kuni 1 was a unique experience, one of the best games I've ever played. It was one of the most polished, most precise, most well thought out and most beautifully executed video game stories I've ever seen. It was a masterclass of game design, especially in terms of its artwork, music, and writing; God, its writing!
This is not that, I'm afraid. Compared to its older brother, Ni No Kuni 2 falls short. However, compared to most other games on the market, it shines. It's easy to compare it to the first game and be disappointed, and when I first played it I quit after a few hours because of that. But, when I gave it another chance, I was delighted to find a fun game with charming characters, engaging gameplay, and a lot to love between its rough edges.
There's probably never going to be another game like the original Ni No Kuni. Don't expect this one to live up to that. Instead, take it as a solid JRPG which competently manages both gameplay and storytelling, keeps you invested with the best sidequest reward system I've ever seen, and which still has a score by Joe Hisaishi. I'd say you won't regret the purchase unless you go in dead-set on seeing a true sequel to the first game.
Overall, I give it a high 8/10.

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