Level-5’s most prestigious franchise, and Studio Ghibli collaboration Ni No Kuni is returning after what will be almost a 7 year absence with the highly-anticipated sequel: Revenant Kingdom. Many key members of the Ni No Kuni team have returned for the second entry in the franchise, including the game’s story writer Akihiro Hino, character designer Yoshiyuki Momose, and Joe Hisaishi once again composes the soundtrack. The Controller Crusade team had the chance to play through not one but two boss battle demos of Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, and not only were we blown away by the stunning visuals yet again, we also found ourselves thoroughly enjoying the new combat system.
In an all-new adventure, players will take on the role of Evan Pettiwhisker, who is the true king of Ding Dong Dell. He is betrayed and exiled from Ding Dong Dell by the new king, Otto Mausinger. Once exiled, Evan meets Roland and Tani, who become his comrades, helping him on his journey to return to his rightful throne.
The first demo we had the chance to play through was the trial of courage. To prove his worth as a King, Evan must complete the trial of courage to be taken seriously and gain the help that he needs. The trial consisted of a boss battle against the giant gorilla, Thogg. This was our first chance to experience the combat system, which has received a dramatic overhaul, but we’ll touch more on that in a minute. After the trial Evan earns a kingmaker named Lofty, and form a king’s bond. Lofty is an adorable little bugger who basically serves as the game’s mascot, taking the place of Drippy from Wrath of the White Witch.
The second demo jumped us further ahead in the story, where we are introduced to a new kingdom. We get acquainted with Pugnacious, who is the leader of Goldenpaw. Pugnacious’ kingmaker, a giant dragon named Longfang has gone rogue, destroying the city. Evan and the gang step in to put a stop to Longfang’s destruction, and proves to be a much more difficult adversary than taking on Thogg in the first demo.
The combat in Ni No Kuni has been given a complete overhaul, opting for more of a real time experience. The small creatures that were a large portion of the first game, known as familiars, have been completely removed from the game, so players will no longer have to navigate through menus and give commands. While there may not be familiars, there are tiny little sprites called Higgledy, which assist you in battle a few different ways. The first way the Higgledy will assist you is by providing buffs such as healing and elemental shields, which can be activated when a group of the sprites cluster together. The Higgledy come in four different elements, and when Evan uses one of his skills, the nearby elemental Higgledy will modify the attack.
Although the familiars have been removed in the sequel, Ni No Kuni II introduces a Kingdom Mode. Since Evan has been banished from Ding Dong Dell, he must create a new kingdom from scratch, recruiting townspeople to help build his community. Evan can give the people of his kingdom tasks such as building structures and running shops. There will be more details on the Kingdom Mode closer to Revenant Kingdom‘s launch.
Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom was definitely one of our favorites games of the show this year, providing a really strong showing across both demos. Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom will be available on November 10th for Playstation 4 and PC.
Be sure to check out the rest of our E3 2017 coverage, including more hands-on previews here.