Author: Nathan Doverspike
Instead of doing a traditional review, I am making the creative decision to do a list of pros and cons for the game (hopefully with similarly positive results like those in this masterpiece of a video game). Not only does this allow me to produce more quality content in the same amount of time, but it also let’s me provide a concise list of what features stood out the most, both good and bad.
- Art Style-continuing the hand-drawn look of the first game that stands up to Studio Ghibli’s pedigree was a smart decision. This game looks just as good as the original, and possibly even better during battles and in the over-world.
- Re-imagined Combat-The switch to a more Tales-like combat style that emphasizes mobility and quick decisions without the ability to pause the action mid-combat paid off. I think it is the most improved aspect in the sequel and a major reason I poured over 70 hours into my play-through.
- City Building-Ni No Kuni 2 introduces a robust and enjoyable city building feature that is something other games could implement in the future. While it isn’t necessary to engaged with this system, it is well worth your time if you plan on getting the platinum trophy.
- Higgledies-I wasn’t sold on the concept of Pikmin in my Ni No Kuni game, until I realized how valuable they are to succeeding in combat (in additional to be adorable). Having a Hiddledie that can boost your elemental resistance when fighting a dragon can be a difference maker, especially on late game enemies. They can also have abilities like bringing another Hiddledie to battle when they power up (Awaken), transform into a cannon with their respective element, or even boost your attack. With so many different ones to find in the world and create in your city, the variety of combinations is impressive.
- Side Quests-Most JPRG’s have fetch quests galore. Thankfully, this game mixes up the objectives required to complete the plethora of quests. From getting specific items, to completing strategic battles where you control four groups of different warriors with different abilities and battle against other groups on the over-world map.
- Pacing-Something that should not be overlooked in games is the pacing, whether it’s a story that drags on a dozen hours too much, or has too many points where you can’t progress without completing certain objectives. Whereas the first game did have some pacing problems, often slowing down the progression of the game to a crawl, I am happy to report that the pacing in this game is nearly perfect. It took me about 30-40 hours to complete just the main story, which to me felt like the perfect amount of time.
- The Map and Traversal-I included both of these in this point since they are closely linked. The traversal in this game is vastly superior to that in the original, to the point that going and playing the original has been a tough sell lately for me. The map itself may not feel as large as the original game once you acquire all types of traversal, but the layout and getting from point to point is easy and doesn’t require too much additional travel time in between. Also, the Traps (teleport spots) scattered throughout make getting where you need to very accessible.
- The Story Until The Last Chapter-I want to be very specific about this point. The last chapter in this game is phenomenal, and has a giant twist that I honestly didn’t see coming. However, until then I feel the story was slightly underwhelming and that a few of the story beats that should have been momentous instead fell a little flat. Still, overall it was enjoyable and the last chapter made up for all the previous areas that didn’t have the impact of the original game.
- Strategic Group Battles-There are battles in the game where you are able to choose four groups of warriors, each with their own individual stats, strengths, and abilities, and are asked to complete objectives that normally include defeating the enemy groups. There isn’t a ton of variety in these battles, and to fully complete the game you need to grind out a minimum of 50 of these (something I am slowly working towards completing). They aren’t always exciting, sometimes have very high level requirements, and occasionally leave me wishing this feature wouldn’t have been relied on as heavily as it is for the side quests.
Those are my Pros and Cons for Ni No Kuni 2. Hopefully you are able to find these helpful and informative. Are there any that you feel I missed? What do you think of my choices? Let me know in the comments!