Short Thought: Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
Recently I was invited to a Bandai Namco press event where I got to try out a bunch of games they’re releasing in the coming months. One of them is: Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom. The much anticipated sequel to Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. It emulates the feel and style of its predecessor with its new narrative and cast of characters.
Having not played the first one, the combat and its use of world exploration in the demo was very nice. Whether or not there are returning mechanics I can’t comment on, however the inclusion of combat that fits within the world and setting was interesting for positive reasons. Aside from the super empowered player, the demo on hand had four different modes with different combat encounters. The first one on hand featured an RTS-like feature where Evan was accompanied by two small armies/squads of units comprised of archers and swordsmen respectively. At its core, it follows a rock-paper-scissors combat wheel with the special attack and commands to help turn the tide of battle. Whilst simple, it could potentially lead to some difficult encounters - but this is purely speculation.
The three other modes showcased the core combat loop when playing the main game. The second and fourth modes featured exploration in the overworld and village hubs, with the third being a boss fight. Whilst I couldn’t figure out how Evan goes into an empowered state, the flow of the combat features more emphasis on close range combat as opposed to long range. Whether or not the main game allows you to adjust is something I’m not aware of currently. However in terms of its core loop, this is almost irrelevant because of the assists you can get from the weird monster beings that act as your allies who will attack and perform special moves if interacted with, when prompted to. There wasn’t any feedback to say it was possible, so checking for them was needed. Aside from the boss encounters, the combat overall was relatively fast. The boss fights were interesting, knowing where to lock on and target is recommended to help speed things up as one of the bosses faced was twice the player’s level and it took a long to time to whittle down its health before I figured out which body parts to focus on. Special attacks felt meaty, but overall it’s not incredibly challenging and would best be described as moorish content. The voice acting is probably grating for some people. For me it hit the right spot with the English VA being somewhat caricature like, but still maintaining a weird sense of authenticity that reminded me of Professor Layton - I’m pretty sure Luke and Evan have the same VA. In summary, I’d look into picking it up if I get the chance, even though I never played the first one.