No doubt, the original Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch was one of the prettiest games out on the previous generation of consoles. Studio Ghibli’s artistic touch gave an otherwise traditional RPG a unique feel that made it stand out among the numerous J-RPGs that came out during that time. It feels like Bandai Namco is aiming to have its sequel, Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom follow the original formula closely, with just as much visual flair.
Revenant Kindgom is headed by protagonist the prince of Ding Dong Dell, Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum — you better be ready for plenty of pun-tiful in this preview — who after his father’s passing, goes through the process of becoming a king, but not before all of it is foiled by Otto Mausinger (told you!), who’s obviously behind the king’s death, taking the crown for himself. Evan’s mission to retake his kingdom takes him to a journey all across the world of Ni no Kuni, as well as through the trials of courage that bestow him his kingmaker, a spirited little being by the name of Lofty.
Lofty’s role in the game is similar to the familiars in the first Ni No Kuni: as support, he’s able to throw healing spells, charged attacks and even special commands during the more action-oriented, direct input battles that are very similar to the “Tales of” series. The rest of the party’s comprised of Tani, a spark plug of a girl who’s the daughter of the leader of a group of sky pirates, and Roland, the president of another world outside of Ni no Kuni, who takes Evan under his wing during his trials to become the true king of Ding Dong Dell.
The demo had Evan’s party arriving in Goldpaw, a casino city headed by a greedy dog-like creature by the name of Pugnacius, who controls all the gambling and has a paw in everyone’s coin buckets. From there, the story pushed the group to fight Longfang, an usually docile dragon who for some reason decided to attack the party. It’s during that fight that the Higgledies — who are basically support sprites that you find throughout the game — showed their true strength by offering loads of offensive and defensive abilities such as elemental magic and protective barriers.
Aside from the traditional J-RPG gameplay, Ni no Kuni II also offers the seemingly substantial Kingdom Mode, in which citizens can be assigned to a bunch of different roles in order to help develop the country. It feels like something anyone who’s really into the lore is bound to pump a lot of extra hours into the game.
As mentioned before, the impeccable art direction from Studio Ghibli is back in this sequel, as well as the orchestral score headed by none other than Joe Hisaishi, the mastermind behind practically all of the production house’s features, so it’s bound to sound great in the final release. Sadly, the show floor was incredibly loud, and I was not able to hear much of it. Given his track record, though, I’ve no doubt in my mind it’ll be epic.
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom will be out on PlayStation 4 November 10th.