The first Ni No Kuni game came to the world as a welcome breeze that blended traditional RPG exploration with Studio Ghibli visuals that hooked players as well as a sweeping story. We had a chance to see it first hand at Bandai Namco’s E3 2017 booth.
The game is set hundreds of years past the events of the first game and finds the cat and mouse tribes at war in the town. The mouse tribe initiates a hostile takeover of the kingdom and the main protagonist, Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum from the cat tribe is tossed from his kingdom. He sets out on a mission to reclaim his throne, aided by his allies Tani and Roland.
Gameplay unfolds in third person, as in the first and you are able to freely roam the overworld to explore towns, dungeons and other locations across the world. Ni No Kuni 2 will allow players to build and manage their kingdom for a nice chunk of management side activities. When you exploring the overworld, the game is rendered in an adorable chibi style that is incredibly endearing. It’s honestly hard to play this game without feeling this cushion of happiness.
When you encounter an enemy in the world, the game enters into its battle system. These play out in its own area that you can freely explore and you are able to move your characters all around the battlefield. When you attack enemies, you make use of melee, magic and beings known as Higgledies. These Higgledies are spirits that take on several forms and provide some powerful support, both in combat and out as they can help you while you explore with tasks like reaching inaccessible areas.
In the demo I was able to take on 2 bosses, the dragon Longfang and the primate-like Thogg. These were some large spectacles that put the system to the test. You use everything at your disposal including your powerful skills and you are rewarded for timely execution. I was able to bring down both bosses in the demo and felt that the battles are fun and fluid and the art style makes them a very immersive experience. The battle system really shines with depth, and belies the vibrant palette. It may look like a kids game but it doesn’t play like one at all.
Ni No Kuni 2 is shaping up to be another helping of cake for those who loved the first game. It retains the charm of the first game and the graphics are still outstanding despite no longer being done in conjunction with Studio Ghibli. It’s trademark visuals have been bolstered by an evolution in its battle system and more options for gameplay and should capture hearts when it releases November 10th, 2017 for the PS4 and PC.
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