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Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom Preview: Return of the King

/ Jul 10th, 2017 No Comments

Ni no Kuni II Preview

Back when it released in 2013, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch absolutely floored me. It was one of the best JRPGs of the last console cycle. When Bandai Namco announced Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom two years ago, I couldn’t wait for it to come out or even to hear a little bit more about it, but the news had been sparse following its announcement.

Fast forward to now. Not only did Bandai Namco have a playable demo on the show floor, but it had the biggest surprise of E3 with the announcement of a Nov. 10 release date for Ni no Kuni II. After playing the game, I feel confident that Ni no Kuni II feels ready to come out, finally.

A Pact

Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum is the true king of Ding Dong Dell, but his reign is overthrown by Otto Mausiger. After the violent revolt in Ding Dong Dell, Evan embarks on a journey with Roland, a president from another country/world who sees a bit of himself in Evan and decides to groom him, to restore himself to the throne. To do so, Evan must undertake trials in order to be recognized as king again.

For his first task, Evan must visit king’s cradle to form a kingsbond with a Kingmaker. To get to king’s cradle, Evan makes a deal with Tani, the daughter of the Sky Pirate, and she gives him vehicles to fly there. As Evan, Roland and Tani take on the first trial, they quickly find themselves face to face with a terrifying, burly beast called Thogg.

Ni no Kuni II Preview

Beating the Thogg is about using speed and maneuverability against his lethargic strikes.

In order to form his kingsbond, Evan and his party must take down the Thogg. It is obviously easier said than done. Thogg hits hard with lots of powerful combos and has plenty of minions running around keen to slice up Evan and crew. But the Thogg is slow, giving Evan and his party plenty of time to evade hefty hits and devastating charge attacks.

The first taste of combat of the two Ni no Kuni II demo is extremely satisfying. It eases you into how Evan moves, evades and attacks with quick and powerful sword strikes, magical spells and long-range wand strikes. There is an extreme smoothness to the combat and it gives you everything you want in an action RPG: satisfying attacks with plenty of evasion and defensive capabilities.

Ni no Kuni II Preview

Roland is a great ally for Evan and has a tremendous desire to see Evan become King.

You also get your first outing with the Higgledies, which are helper sprites that aid Evan and crew in battle. The different types of Higgledies have various skills that range from passive healing to elemental protections. They function as the fourth party member in battle.

When you finally best the Thogg, Evan is able to forge a kingsbond with Lofty, his “mighty” Kingmaker. Now the journey finally can begin.

In Fire and Pointy Tooth Maw…

Later in Evan’s journey, he visits Goldpaw, the city of casinos where decisions are based entirely on die rolls by the leader Pugnacius. During his visit to Goldpaw, the city’s Kingmaker, Longfang, goes on a rampage. Evan takes it upon himself to stop Longfang’s rage before Goldpaw is destroyed.

Longfang is a ferocious dragon with powerful claw strikes and a tremendous control of fire. As you square off against this fearsome dragon on a tiny, craggy platform, he’ll do everything in his power to end you.

Ni no Kuni II Preview

Longfang is a deadly adversary with plenty of attacks to make your battle hard won.

During the battle, Longfang shoots fireballs, drops lava boulders, rends the earth to form lava wells and breathes deadly fire all over the area. It is a battle of stamina. Longfang is extremely strong, meaning you won’t end the fight with a few sword strikes and a wag of your wand.

Players must dodge, build their skill meter, use skills smartly, utilize your Higgledies’ fire elemental protection to ward off wide-sweeping fire attacks and wait for the right moment to unleash attacks. Oh, and hopefully you’ll be able to unleash your ultimate attack that gives you access to extremely powerful Higgledy-assisted special attacks.

The battle is intense, and it was a perfect way to show off the nuances of combat and how dynamic boss battles in Ni no Kuni II will be.

A Kingdom to Call Your Own

While we got a good taste of combat on the show floor, we also got a bit of a tease of what’s to come this November during a developer-run presentation of Ni no Kuni II.

Ni no Kuni II Preview

Patience is key to taking down Longfang. Wait for the opportune time to strike.

Since Evan’s journey is about becoming a proper king, you’ll be able to build your own kingdom in the game’s “Kingdom mode.” During this mode, you’ll recruit citizens to help expand your kingdom. By expanding your kingdom and attacting new citizens, you’ll be able to research magic, craft armor and weapons, and more.

A Real Contender

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom has the potential to be better than its predecessor. It looks utterly gorgeous and even more like a living, breathing Studio Ghibli movie than even the first game did. The combat has been refined to make it into action RPG perfection. What I played on the show floor left my jaw on the floor, making Ni no Kuni II an easy pick for Best of E3 2017.

Ni no Kuni II

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is Best of E3 2017.

In a packed year of heavyweight GOTY contenders, Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom has the potential to be high on the end-of-the year lists and could be the best JRPG of this console cycle.

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Kalvin Martinez

Kalvin Martinez

Senior Editor at Gaming Illustrated
Kalvin Martinez studied Creative Writing at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He writes reviews, prose and filthy limericks. While he is Orange County born, he now resides in Portland, OR. He is still wondering what it would be like to work at a real police department. Follow Kalvin on Twitter @freepartysubs
Kalvin Martinez

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