Friday, 23 March 2018 14:35

REVIEW: Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom (Playstation 4)

Written by Brett Hale
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Leading up to the launch of Ni No Kuni 2, the buzz was around it being the follow up of the 2011 Playstation 3 game Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, a game I’d never played, but fret not, playing Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom without the knowledge of the first won’t punish you.

Ni No Kuni 2 is a strange title name, but the game is quite easy to understand. Revenant Kingdom is set 100 years after Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch and this time the focus is on a cat and mouse tribe who are both in a town called, don’t laugh Ding Dong Dell... The story for the most part follows a boy king, Evan. Some drama occurs right at the start of the game, he has some stranger named Roland pop up out of nowhere who’s from another world, long story short he wants to take back his castle and Roland and others Evan meet’s help him on his journey.

You know those hats or socks you buy where it's one size fits all, well that’s how the difficulty is in Ni No Kuni 2, forget easy, medium or hard it's just one and if I’m honest it's not even difficult, sure dying might happen but it's nothing to smash a controller over. The boss battles themselves are a piece of cake, and that’s when your facing giant creatures, most other battles you’ll fight much smaller enemies but there in there numbers.

The HUD shows the worlds mini map, either as a still image or it can be switched to rotate, health bar and level XP bars, weapons you have equipped and objectives are also shown.

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On your path you’ll pick up all sorts of items, you can use these items or sell them. Skills are something you’ll get for your playable characters, 4 can be equipped per character and these will be stronger attacks against enemies. The same goes for weapons, roughly 4 per person and once any skill or weapon is equipped to a person no one else can use it. Weapons are a range of swords, wands and even a pistol. Characters can be customised as well, some attire can be better than others, stats really count so always check on your weapons and attire to have the best equipped all this is found in the pause menu.

The story spans across 9 chapters and takes you to a variety of locations, and they all stand out. Characters don’t just interact with each other but with the environments around them, if the winds blowing you’ll see hair and things like skirts, and capes blowing along with it.

There is fast travel present, but isn’t branded as that, Ni No Kuni 2 calls this "Trip Doors", there bluish flame looking doorways. Simply approach one and it’ll always remember you, if your ever wanting to travel to that place at anytime. Something else that has its own name compared to other games is the save points, there called "Way Stones" and you can fully heal your characters as well as choosing to save your progress, they're hard to miss as there big and bright.

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Now, Roland and Evan will help each other in battles, and further on others as well, but there are small little critters being a mix of blob flame looking things and they’ll help you with attacking, defending and healing in battles. Majority of the time playing is running around conversing, battling and then there is also a puzzle element that’s called "The Trial of Knowledge", imagine a huge board with large squares on it and some statues, prior to starting your told a small story, with hints and you must go from one statue to the next in the correct order, fail to go the right way will have you restarting. But that’s not all each square you step off falls away and it's possible to be stuck on a square having no way to get to another forcing you to restart.

There are 2 visual choices, at least there is on the PS4 Pro connected to a 4KTV, there is the standard 1080p 60fps and 4K 60fps, and well I tried out both and there is a noticeable difference when going from 1080p to 4K. I didn’t notice any stuttering or real performance issues, combat was strong as it's in a fluent 60 frames. It’s animated characters really look impressive, the game does mix up it's style ever so slightly, as moments in the game will change to a 3D visual spectacular. Mixing between the two types in a nice even way as for cutscenes there all cartoon animated. I can't forget that sweet ass HDR support either. Ni No Kuni 2 really looks it's best with HDR. Audio has some volume controls, but most importantly is the choice of the language people speak, either Japanese or English. Being in the JRPG genre, some of these titles get lost in translation, but not this game!

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I will say that the odd issues I did face was when people spoke, or shall I say when they didn’t. Cutscenes people spoke, but other times it just makes you read the subtitles, it was all over the place, and when they didn’t speak it just seemed out of place to be so silent. Music on the other hand really hit the spot at particular moments, if it was for dramatic moments or times of suspense, the times characters were being mischievous the music never let the game down. Something you never expect to hear when playing any JRPG’s is Aussie slang, but hey, I guess there's a first time for everything, I heard people saying thing’s like ‘Crikey’ and ‘Blimey’

Here is a game well worth the time for Playstation 4 owners, it isn’t a short game either, roughly 40 hours to complete everything across the 9 chapters. It had a good narrative and the visuals really looked amazing. If you've played the first on Playstation 3 or if you're a Ni No Kuni virgin it's worth the play through.

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 4.5 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PC, PS4
  • Developer: Level-5
  • Publisher: Level-5, Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Genre: Action / Adventure, Role-Playing