In recent years, the genre of Japanese role-playing games is experiencing the best of times. Of course, the developers periodically delight us with wonderful projects like Persona 5 and Xenoblade Chronicles 2, but it is foolish to deny that the number of quality JRPG in our days significantly decreased. Japanese Studio Level-5 is struggling to preserve the tradition of classical genre, but regularly brings something new and fresh in their game. Today I will tell you about the wonderful role-playing game Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom (Russian version of the name – “Ni no Kuni II: rebirth of a king”).
Game: Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom
Platform: PlayStation 4, Windows
Release date: 23 Mar 2018
Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
We must start with the fact that the game is the sequel of a wonderful JRPG, released in 2011 under the name Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. In the prequel, the player assumed the role of a boy, Oliver, who in the course of unexplained magical events comes from the real world into the world of fairy, where he will undergo a lot of testing, to eventually bring back to life his dead mother. A touching plot, vivid characters and animation inserts created by the artists of Studio Ghibli (I hope that my readers are familiar with the works of legendary animator Hayao Miyazaki?), great music, written by composer Jo Hlsalshi (“My neighbor Totoro”, “spirited away”, etc.) – all this did not go unnoticed by fans of the genre. Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch has gained success among game critics and sold over one million copies.
Event Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom takes place hundreds of years later after the ending of the first game. It all starts at the moment when a certain country in a real (read – our) world is subjected to nuclear bombardment. Motorcade of the President of Roland crane overtakes the blast wave, but instead of die, a politician magically transferred into the fairy world inhabited by wonderful creatures. Roland finds himself in the Kingdom of Coronel in the midst of a coup. So he meets a young Prince Evan Doripenem Nangalam that must ascend the throne after the death of his father king Leopold. But it turned out that the previous ruler was poisoned by his former ally – sneaky Crisaean. Of course, the heir to the throne in the person of Evan him alive is needed so the Prince opened a real hunt.
Roland, being a man of kind and sympathetic, called to help Evan escape from the Royal castle. Together they decide to restore justice and to return the young Prince to his rightful throne. For a start they need to enlist the support of magical beings, confirming Evan on Royal power, and then to unite under its banner the scattered state of huge fairy world in an attempt to put an end to endless strife and war. In the course of a long journey for Roland and Evan joined by new friends, the heroes discover a completely new abilities and learn a lot from each other. But most importantly – together they founded their own Kingdom Maluniu, which becomes a beacon of hope and a new home to many of the desperate.
Serious changes have been made to the combat system. Now everything happens in real time, therefore, you will not have to wait for your character to wait your turn, save stamina and will have the right to strike at the enemy. Also now you can’t control minions (in the first game they were called Familliars), but they are replaced by natural spirits “of Funaki” (original – Higgledies), running around the battlefield and provide you full support. For example, from time to time you can ask them to heal your wounds or be transformed into a huge gun and start shooting at the enemies. Pro funasa we thoroughly talk later, but for now take a closer look at other interesting features of the updated combat system.
In the battle can participate up to three characters from your party, each of which you can control by switching between them. All the characters are happy owners of so-called “ring-Arsenal” — a magical accessory that can accommodate from four types of weapons: three melee attacks and one for ranged. In other words, each character has on hand, for example, three swords, three lances or hammers, and one weapon like a pistol or bow (extra bonus: the ring generates infinite ammo!). Why do you need so many weapons? It’s very simple. Attacking enemies with a sword, you gain it magical energy. The higher the energy, the more damage the weapon does to enemies. But if you use special attacks, magical energy is rapidly consumed. At the moment when it ends, it would be best to switch to the next weapon with the accumulated mana and so on. If you do not want to bother with manually switching between their swords – can be trusted with this function the automatic tuning in the special menu. There all just like in the car: manual, semiautomatic and automatic. In fact, the system is intuitive and very easy to use.
Every character in the game has a set of five basic characteristics: melee attack, remote attack, magic attack, physical defense and magical defense. They pumped automatically as growth of level of the hero. Of course, you can also improve performance by magical pendants, rings and rings, but in the game another great way to improve the combat performance of the characters. This system is called “Fighting equalizer”. Obtained during battles with the enemies “battle points” you can spend the setting is very important parameters. For example, to strengthen the attack against certain types of monsters (reptilians, fairies, demons, animals, Golems and so on). You can also make members of the squad resistant to the attacks of the elements (fire, water, wind, light, darkness), or to negative effects like poison, sleep and confusion. There are equalizer such perks as accelerating the flight from the battlefield, enhancing the effect of healing items, increased melee attacks and so on. You can even adjust the loot drop from defeated enemies. For example, you can get more materials and resources, weapons and accessories, gold, or spit on the material world and to focus on increasing gains experience. In other words, “Fighting equalizer” — a very useful thing, and to master its intricacies you need in the first place.
As I said above, to replace the “Pokemon” from the first game came natural spirits of Funaki. These magical creatures will be a great help in the course of your adventures and fights with enemies, so try to give them due attention. All funasa has its own element — fire, wind, water, light or darkness, which gives them attack power of this element. During the battle of Funaki attack opponents along with the main characters, but also allow you to use their special attacks and skills. Unfortunately, the level of funas not grow by itself, so in between battles do not forget to feed them with different Goodies. With a battle you can take only a few of these magical creatures, so carefully plan the encounter in advance, depending on who is your opponent. At a certain point in the game you will create a new funasa for his party, but we should not forget that especially rare spirit helpers you can have in your army only on special altars, making the right offering.
Fundamentally new mechanics for the game is the presence of strategic battles. Yes, I mean the elements of this strategy in real time, quite harmoniously embedded in the core gameplay. From time to time, the troops of the young king Evan will face the armies of the enemy. Battle takes place on the world map. You control a tiny main character, around which are concentrated several types of troops: archers, swordsmen and so on. Rotating them around the protagonist using the buttons of the gamepad, do you give vulnerable troops in the background, sticking out forward the most appropriate at the moment fighters. Everything is subject familiar to fans of Japanese games “system triangle” when the sword is stronger than the hammer, the hammer is stronger than the spear, and the spear is mightier than the sword. Have your troops and special attack, with which you will be able to call, e.g., air pirates, bombarding the enemy from the air, or to paralyze the enemy troops with a powerful electrical discharge. Your army, like the army of the enemy, there is a certain stamina, which is consumed to replenish its numbers, and special attack. Don’t forget to follow this value, otherwise there is a risk to attack an obviously stronger enemy.
Very cool implemented in the game the possibility of developing their own Kingdom, namely the Royal castle and the adjacent territories. You start with the search of building materials for the erection of a magnificent castle, and then place around it are numerous buildings like shops, ateliers, workshops, farmland, sawmills, magical academies and centres for the breeding of funasa. In General, the development of the Kingdom resembles a cross between a mobile “fun farm” and wonderful Japanese role-playing game Suikoden. In it, the player also had to develop their Kingdom, why it was necessary in the first place to search for professionals in various fields. In Ni no Kuni II you also have to look and make their subjects (usually after performing some simple quests), a talented swordsmen, merchants, magicians, lumberjacks, weavers, travelers, miners, farmers and so on. Each new occupant of your Kingdom can work in the best building in the area adjacent to the castle territory. And it is here that the fun begins.
Each structure brings tangible benefits to the Kingdom. For example, mine provides you with the bonus minerals and ore, lesoruby – wood and farm vegetables and meat to create culinary masterpieces in the Royal dining room. In the shops you can buy everything you need, if you are going on a long journey and in the Studio, or the gunsmith to improve the weapons and armor. But the most interesting are such institutions as the Academy of magic, granting you new combat spells, or the Center of the city, providing characters useful perks like accelerating movement on the world map. All this you can get the studies for which you will have to pay from the Royal Treasury a special game currency that accumulates in real time depending on the population of the Kingdom (taxes is). Level buildings over time can be increased, which in turn increases their effectiveness and unlocks access to new items, spells, perks and abilities. In my opinion, to mess with the development of the Kingdom is incredibly interesting. Sometimes I’m a few hours distracted from the main story quest, ran through the cities, looking for new subjects, doing their job and pumped to the castle. Great new mechanics, which I am sure will satisfy many players.
The world is fully open, as this allows the story. Of course, in order to get to other continents, you have to first build a ship or to get at their disposal another means of transport. Also sometimes to open a passage to the new locations you will have to use special spells. But as soon as you get anywhere, I can always go back to this place because of the very convenient system of teleportation. And then you will meet the so-called “travel gems” — with their help, you can save the game (don’t worry, the game has also an automatic save), to treat wounds and recover from the negative statuses. Amused me in the game, a private social network called “Instabook”, where the inhabitants of a fairytale world made them publish photos and accompany them with a funny comment. The player can even “like” these photos if they appeal to him.
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom incredibly beautiful, and when I say beautiful, we mean that one can admire them for hours and even days on end. Every location, every city, every even the most minor dungeon drawn with such attention to detail that you unwittingly awed smile. The feeling that you were inside a cartoon film of Studio Ghibli (though on the second part of this Studio worked only artist characters) is warm and Sunny. The main characters and heroes of the second plan have a strong personality and well-animated, and the setting of the story inserts and does not raise any problems. All this beauty is displayed in full HD resolution at 60 frames per second. Sometimes, however, I noticed deep dives in framerate when the screen has too many highly detailed objects. My PlayStation 4 (normal, not Pro) started to sweat and stress to howl, trying to calculate and display such a complex picture. Another major shortcoming, I think is too small the font in the game menu. Sometimes I had to get up and walk to the TV to read anything, and this despite the fact that I have 100% eyesight and 47-inch diagonal screen.
The music deserves special mention. Longtime Ghibli composer Jo Hlsalshi wrote for Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom dozens of musical compositions. Every song you hear, in perfect harmony with what is happening on the screen, defines the atmosphere and literally puts you in the epicenter of the exciting stories about the adventures of a young king. With sound, things are not so perfect, however, bad called voice acting I can also not turn. The dialogues of the characters are voiced only in part, because of their huge number. Most often the text dialogue accompanied by short exclamations that convey the emotional state of the characters. In plot boxes the game completely. In the settings you can choose English or Japanese audio track.
Very nice that the game was fully translated into Russian language, because rare JRPG awarded this honor. But me from the first seconds of surprised the literary adaptation of Russian texts, the meaning of which is strongly at odds with the English sound track. Sometimes the differences are so great that the meaning of the phrase is almost completely distorted. With the names, the situation is exactly the same way. How was it possible to translate the name of the main character Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum like Evan Darispan Sandal? Or the name of the Kingdom of Ding Dong Dell, as Coronell? It may well be that this is very much a powerful literary adaptation or localizers take the basis of the Japanese version of the names (I carefully listened to the Japanese language, but the evidence for his theory is not found). In General, when you play with Russian subtitles and hear the English language, the eye begins to twitch slightly. Although for some it won’t be a problem.
- A fascinating story, exciting player for dozens of hours.
- The feeling that you were in the cartoon film of Studio Ghibli.
- Great graphics, animation and memorable characters.
- Open world that you can explore endlessly.
- Interesting combat system with lots of interesting nuances.
- Good playful sense of humor, which today is rarely seen in games.
- Elements of real time strategy and simulation of urban development.
- Own hands you create a Kingdom, just like in Suikoden.
- Enchanting music of the talented composer Jo Hlsalshi.
- Full text translation to Russian language.
- Very small, almost unreadable fonts in the game menu.
- The game slows down when too many objects.
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom great in the first place so that she can take you in the amazing atmosphere of a fairy tale. Sit you’re tired after work, in my head there is nothing but the hum of the transformer. Turn on the game and forget about all the problems and fatigue. It’s like she brings you back to life, and smile involuntarily appears on your face. This is the inexplicable magic of this game. Great story, memorable characters, excellent battle system, open for exploration of a huge world, a lot of the game mechanics – all of this makes Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom one of the best games in 2018. Highly recommend her to acquire all, without exception, his readers. Even if you are not a fan of the JRPG genre, give the game a chance and you will not regret. I give her 10 out of 10.