Every once in a while there is a game that comes along that you start, get dragged into and then can’t stop thinking about or playing it.
This is what has happened with Ni No Kuni 2 for me. Ever since starting the game up and doing that first part in Ding Dong Dell with Evan and Roland, the game has gripped me and kept me going.
The story starts with a coup of young King Evan… Well, I don’t think he was King just yet, it was going to be his coronation when things went pear-shaped. Roland, who comes out of nowhere and quickly becomes a strong ally to Evan.
Evan now without a kingdom goes out into the world and creates a new kingdom, and as part of the game you have to build a kingdom, recruit people for the different areas and build it up to be the best it can be.
From the charming art style to the delightful combat system that the game has, Evans story of building a new kingdom for all will have you running around doing quests and intrigued as to what is to come next for the young King.
The first thing that I am going to talk about is the art style of the game. I found the cell shading style that is being used very similar to that of Breath of the Wild, especially in the use of colours. Which isn’t a bad thing, in fact, I love the art style from Breath of the Wild and this only builds on that charm.
As you play through the game and past the first part, you end up in the main world, and the style changes again and becomes a more top-down shot with what I can only describe the characters being designed as Dorbz characters.
I think the change was done like this due to the sheer size of the world and it makes it easier to get around, although I will say getting from the sky pirates base to Goldpaw of the docks in the south does still take a good walk, and there are beasts set all around in which will either attack you or leave you alone, depends on how they feel. I think if they left it as a third person perspective it might have been too overwhelming, but then again, would that have been a bad thing? There could have been plenty to put about in terms of side missions, people to help and recruit for your kingdom etc.
But take nothing away from how it has been accomplished, the world looks stunning and full of life regardless of which view you’re in.
The combat system within the game as well is very different from the first Ni No Kuni game. This time the turn-based element has gone and it’s a more real-time battle system. You’re stuck within a certain area, which if things are getting too hairy and you need to get away for the sake of your sanity you can run to the edge of the area and you can then escape.
I did find with the combat that it is a little two-fold. When you’re up against enemies at your level or lower it can be very easy to get past, and I found it a good way to grind and level up your characters easily. You then have the beasts which are way above your level that you can come across, and these tend to be a bigger fight, more complex and need a better strategy to beat, sometimes though it can be a hard fought battle if you don’t have the right elements and plan for it. Such as going up against a fire element beast, the best course of action would be to counteract with water attacks. However, if you don’t have any water attacks, then it doesn’t matter, you can still take the beast on, but it’s going to be a little harder to fight and take down.
Then we come onto the Skirmishes. These are basically getting your army together and taking on other armies to either get something back for a quest or to show your kingdoms might, which if you’ve been through the story becomes kind of contradictory to what they’re trying to do….
You have different regiments to the command in battle, from archers, ground soldiers, heavy weapon soldiers etc. Each has a weakness and a strength and it’s yours (Evans) job to command and put each regiment against their weakest opponents for a quick battle win. Sometimes though, if you don’t have the right regiments there, it might be all 4 of them could be up against a stronger opponent, which can prove problematic as the stronger opponents may just smash through your armies. Which isn’t a good thing!
I absolutely love the music from this game, it fits so well to each area, my personal favourite being the music from Goldpaw. It’s such a delight to listen too and makes the game that all more enjoyable to come back to.
One of the most enjoyable elements of the game that I found and touched on above was the creating and looking after your kingdom. The first level of this is quite simple, the shops and everything are quite cheap and can be fully done quite quickly. Then once you have 25 people in your Kingdom and you have the required 5000KG (Kingdom Guilds) you can move onto level 2 which takes a lot more time to effort to get through. There are a lot more spaces now available, and some which have requirements such as having another building or in this case entire area unlocked before you can go ahead.
There is a lot of strategy to this because you have to think of what is important to the town, what do you personally need more of ? This is what is so brilliant about this, everyone is probably going to build their Kingdom up differently, at the end they will all be the same, but the strategy for doing it, what your needs are etc will be different.
The only downside I will put to this game is that it can get bogged down with the different systems it has, the tactic tweaker I have found a little confusing as some enemies can be borderline when it comes to deciding which sections to put it against. However when you get this right and especially when going up against one of the bigger beasts with an aura around them, you can see the difference that the tactic tweaker makes.
I have to admit that this is a game that has taken over my life, I was a bit reserved about it when starting as I hadn’t played the first one (albeit, really wanted too) so was unsure what to expect, but this game does what I love games to do and that is draw you in from the start, make you sit back and take notice and want to keep on going.