Author Topic: Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom - PRINCE’S EDITION (Switch) Review  (Read 273 times)

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Offline TedHazell

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A JRPG that is truly fit for a king.

Over three years after its initial release, the second video game set in the Ni no Kuni universe, Revenant Kingdom finally made its way to the Nintendo Switch this year. Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is, on paper, a sequel to Wrath of the White Witch, but it is a stand-alone story from the first. This means you need no prior knowledge before diving into this JRPG. With the Nintendo Switch version, you are handed the PRINCE’S EDITION. With this version of the game, all prior DLC is included, which adds hours of additional gameplay and story to add to an already meaty tale.  

The story begins in a real-world like ours where an explosion goes off in a possible attempt to assassinate the president of this land. Instead of the president falling, he is transported to the world of Ni no Kuni in front of Evan - the should-be king of Ding Dong Dell. Roland, the president, arrives before Evan, where his kingdom is being taken over by an evil villain, Lord Mousinger. Roland helps Evan escape and the two of them set out on an epic adventure to found a new kingdom and to save his people from the evil that currently exists. The narrative of Revenant Kingdom isn’t anything truly special or unique, but it is the setting, the characters and the gameplay that turn this tale into a truly magnificent one. Evan is an incredible main character, I very rarely played as anyone else during my time. I adored him and wanted him to succeed in his quest. What a lad.  

The Revenant Kingdom is an epic adventure indeed. The cut scenes, which are fully voice acted and look stunning, transition seamlessly between the gameplay of Ni no Kuni. This makes you feel like you are the main character in a fantastical anime series. I couldn’t put this game down. Both Ni no Kuni games have a unique art style. You can always tell you are playing a Ni no Kuni game based purely on visuals. Whilst Studio Ghibli worked directly with Level-5 on Wrath of the White Witch, they did not for the second video game. They did however collaborate with character designer Yoshiyuki Momose who has worked on many Ghibli films in the past to ensure that Revenant Kingdom looks just as good - if not better - than the first game. Tie these visuals with the stunningly composed soundtrack and you do have an epic anime-inspired video game.  

I found almost no fault with the visuals and performance of Ni no Kuni. Load times were fast, the gameplay and cutscenes flowed perfectly and there were no issues with character models or settings bugging out. I did find that there were the odd framerate issues when I increased the camera movement speed a little. I found that turning corners or using the camera too quickly to survey the area caused some framerate drops, but they would quickly pick back up when stationary. This didn’t harm the overall experience or prevent me from falling deeply in love with the aesthetic and charm of Ni no Kuni.  

The visuals especially pop in combat, where I feel the game truly shines. When in an area where you are exploring, making contact with an enemy initiates the battle. Revenant Kingdom uses an action-based combat system, with one button for light attacks and another for heavy attacks. You also have a button for a ranged attack and the ability to dodge as well. As you progress through levels, you’ll unlock skills that can also be used in combat. Alongside your party, you have higgledies. These are cute, little creatures that you can collect through your journey who will assist you in battle. They can either boost your abilities or even deal huge damage to opponents, so are always handy to have around. The combat system is very simple, but that is not a bad thing at all. It’s easy to pick up, flexible in a way that you can attack how you wish to, and super fun no matter your approach. I never grew tired of the repetitive wild enemy encounters on my journey and the boss battles were incredibly enjoyable.  

Whilst the combat is simple, many things can be done outside of the actual battles to add huge amounts of depth. In the pause menu alone, you can: change your party around, edit your party’s weapons, armour and skills, manage your higgledies, and also oversee your army for a true RPG experience. You can also use the Tactics Tweaker. With this tool, you can change the way you battle by adding boosts to certain areas for your team such as damage bonuses or experience/loot buffs, and you can also use a sliding scale to give yourself an advantage against certain types of enemies. This was a neat tool to play around with in between battles to see how this affected the following fights and use this to my advantage.  

Outside of combat and the main towns or key locations, you enter an overworld exploration mode, reminiscent of the older Dragon Quest games. Evan and your party will take on a Chibi art style as you travel from one location to another. I wasn’t keen on this art style at all; however, it can easily be forgiven, due to its brief nature. This art style is also used in scrimmages, which are larger scale battles where Evan leads an army against an enemy's battalion.

Possibly second to combat in Revenant Kingdom is the kingdom building. Once you have found a settled land to start your kingdom on, you will be tasked with literally building it from the ground up. What starts as a bunch of tents and wooden scaffolding, will soon (with a lot of time, money, and effort) become a grand kingdom, better than that of Ding Dong Dell! This was a positive change of pace from the combat, where you can take your time upgrading and creating your own ultimate kingdom for Evan. It was surprising to me how deep this area of the game went with the number of management options you have available.  

Like I imagine how Roland feels, you are constantly being handed information in this game. Whether it be lore, new characters, the way the world works, or new game mechanics, something new is always being presented to you throughout your playtime. Ni no Kuni delivers this in a hugely accessible way where you never feel overwhelmed, and the knowledge would just stick. I would find myself returning to my adventure a day or two after my last session, and easily recall how to do everything, which is great given the amount there is to do.  

As with most JRPGs, Revenant Kingdom is a grand, and long, adventure. If you are ignoring any side quests and avoid too much tinkering around, you can complete the story in roughly 40 hours. If you’re focusing on everything there is to offer, you’ll be in for almost double that time. A perfect game to get lost in.  

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom has an incredible amount to offer, and everything that it does is delivered and executed to the highest standard. The art style is undeniably gorgeous, and the gameplay will have you hooked from the moment you arrive in Ding Dong Dell. A charming adventure that I am so happy to have gone on. All hail King Evan!