The Pros and Cons of Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom

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.

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.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • 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!

Tips and Hints for Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom

Here are some spoiler free tips and hints as you begin your journey with this spectacular and breathtaking new JRPG from Level 5.

Author: Nathan Doverspike

I have learned a lot with during my time with Ni No Kuni 2: Higgledies are like adorable Pikmin but better, I am pretty sure I would love the Tales games if the combat is anything like Ni No Kuni 2, and open world JRPG’s still bring out that wonder you normally only feel as a kid. Here are some spoiler free tips and hints as you begin your journey with this spectacular and breathtaking new JRPG from Level 5.

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Exploring the world is an absolute delight!

Play the Game Your Way

This might sound obvious, but it’s especially true with Ni No Kuni 2. After the somewhat brief (compared to other JRPG’s like Xenoblade Chronicles 2) tutorial, it becomes abundantly clear that there are many more moving pieces going on here that you can interact with and enjoy. Or not. That’s your choice! Do you want to focus on upgrading and nurturing new Hiddledies? Would you rather build up your city into a glorious and magical new kingdom? Or do you want to hunt down all the tainted enemies that inhabit the world to truly make it a peaceful world? You can do all that and more, or choose to just play through the story with minimal to no interaction with the numerous systems available. That’s just one of the great things about this game that I hope people don’t overlook.

Don’t Rush To Sell All Your Items

I made this mistake about half way through the game. I though that I needed all the gold possible (trust me, you don’t), so I decide to sell all the extra armor, weapons, and miscellaneous items I had in my inventory. Turns out, I definitely needed those to complete side quests a couple hours later and had to spend a lot more gold than what I received for selling it to get similar items for those quests. Word of advise, don’t sell all your items unless you have plenty extra or are more focused on completing the main story and not the majority of side quests.

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The combat is very different from the original, and that’s not a bad thing.

Upgrading Your Spells Will Make Combat a Piece of Cake

The Spellworks building in game allows you to upgrade your skills/spells for each character. If you want a challenge, don’t upgrade them to the max or unlock the upgraded version of them. However, if you want to feel really powerful by the end and exert your power as King Evan by demolishing anyone who stands in your way (i.e. tainted monsters), then upgrading these will definitely help you accomplish that goal. By leveling up the building, having the right personnel assigned to it, and completing research you are ultimately working towards building an unstoppable team of charming adventurers.

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Did I mention they are really cute yet?

Higgledies Aren’t Just Cute, They’re Useful Too

Going into this game, I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about the combat. I loved the first game, and really enjoyed the familiar catching and evolving that reminded me of an open world Pokemon game. Still, I went into this one with an open mind about the combat and, like everything else in this game, it doesn’t disappoint! Each Higgledie has an elemental affinity, like normal, fire, nature, just like the familiars in the original game. Unlike the orginal game though, you don’t take direct control over them. They are still important since they can boost your stats, or even awaken and use special abilities like transforming into a cannon or raising your resistances to certain elements. Having the right combination of Higgledies in your party can sometimes mean the difference between defeating a tainted enemy, or having to retry the battle from the start. By upgrading the Higgledie Hut and nurturing new ones, you can make sure you’re prepared for any enemy you want to take down. Plus, they are really, really cute.

What do you think of Ni No Kuni 2? Has it lived up to your expectations? Are you enjoying the change in combat more or less? Let me know in the comments and feel free to post any other hints or tips I may have missed.

Unboxing Ni No Kuni 2’s Premium Edition

Author: Nathan Doverspike

Not only is Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom a really good game, the Premium Edition is well worth the extra $20USD! It comes with additional weapons that were useful for the first half dozen hours of the game, a really cool paper craft, the OST disk, and a gorgeous steelbook with the ability to store the game and CD in it. As far as exclusive editions go, this one doesn’t feel like a cheap way to make a quick buck. It feel genuine, just like the amount of care and effort put into this fantastic JRPG. Check out more images below and let me know in the comments if you’ve picked up the game and/or your thoughts on it!

Ni No Kuni is the Open World Pokemon RPG We’ve Always Wanted

Four and a half years later, this gem of a video game is STILL the best open world Pokemon game (not named Pokemon but close enough) that more people should play.

Author: Nathan Doverspike

Since Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness, there hasn’t been a 3D open world Pokemon game with the name Pokemon in it. In January of 2013, Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch made it’s way to North America, a little over a year after its Japanese release to much excitement and hype. Four and a half years later, this gem of a video game is STILL the best open world Pokemon game (not named Pokemon but close enough) that more people should play. With the release (and undeniable success) of the Switch, it has been speculated that a new Pokemon open world RPG is finally on its way. While I am definitely excited, I highly recommend picking up a copy of Ni No Kuni since it has numerous improvements that Game Freak still has yet to fully realize in their current Pokemon games. Here are some major improvements they could borrow from the overall superior Ni No Kuni.

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  1. More Engaging Combat

The combat in the main Pokemon titles has always been turn based, and Ni No Kuni kicks it up a notch with a hybrid between turn based and real time, usually called Active Time battles. Think something like Final Fantasy XV, but with Pokemon…er monsters. You can use your regular attack that doesn’t require the use of mana (which drains with each spell/attack), or you could use some of that mana to cast a more powerful attack. You can actively switch between monsters at anytime in the battle, which includes changing characters and using their abilities and monsters. This provides a much faster pace to the battles (most are done in 20-30 seconds), and also makes the boss fights more frantic and rewarding. I grew up as a kid playing Pokemon Blue, which is why I would love to see some sort of implementation of this combat in a new Pokemon RGP.

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2. Better Quest System

The popular Yo-kai Watch had a slight quest system in place, which helped add some depth to that game, but ultimately didn’t provide you enough information to help you find where the quest-giver was located or sometimes even enough information to know how to solve the quest. Pokemon, on the far side of that spectrum, has no quest system. That’s right, if Swimmer Joe wants to see a Goldeen and doesn’t feel like getting his face wet while he’s floating in this magical fluid called water where the Goldeen live, then you have to remember to go grab your Goldeen, and then run the whole way back to him (because why would he be close enough to walk) AND remember where he was, just to get a usually trivial reward like money. Ni No Kuni has a whole quest board, and even highlights the characters that have quests with a glowing blue point on the map. Since the game provides you with specific hunts that let you battle optional but powerful foes, those are also marked on the world map so you know exactly where they are and don’t have to surf for half an hour to find the quest. This might not seem like a big deal to people with a lot of time on their hands, but trust me, having a quest system like Ni No Kuni in Pokemon would go a long way to making those games so much better.

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3. Easily Navigated Open World

What’s that, a big marker where you are supposed to travel to for the main quest? WHAT?! No, that’s not something we need! We love wandering around for hours until we accidentally talk to the right person who isn’t easily identifiable to progress the main story. That’s MUCH more entertaining than saving time and patience with markers and clear indicators of where to go and what to do. Pokemon Sun does have a map marker of where you are supposed to go, most of the time. I have found times where I had to search the Internet to figure out where in the world the game wanted me to go. That’s not good quest design, that’s just poor design. For all the things Pokemon games do well, this is one area in particular that needs to improve in order for me to keep enjoying their games.

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4. Better Story

Ok, so the stories in Pokemon games are generally meant for a younger audience. Even with that said, I feel they are too reliant on people playing them just to catch Pokemon and not because the story is engaging or enjoyable. I’ll admit, I am normally one of those people. However, after playing Ni No Kuni and LOVING the story and characters, this is quickly becoming a glaring problem moving forward. For all the good things Game Freak does, this one is probably the weakest aspect.

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5. Make Evolving Pokemon Less of a Chore

This one is probably just me, but I feel that as the years have progressed and as more and more Pokemon games have been released, it is becoming increasingly annoying to evolve certain Pokemon. Take Eevee for example. In order for you to evolve it to Leafeon, you have to get a Leaf Stone. Ok, not too bad right? Well in order to evolve it into Sylveon, you must have it like you enough and then it will evolve in to that form. Yup, it needs to LIKE you, which means you need to feed it candy and brush it or something like that to make it like you, and THEN it will evolve. I miss the days when Charmeleon would hit level 36 and evolve into Charizard, no matter if you were his best buddy or not. In Ni No Kuni, all they have to do is hit a certain level and the option to evolve them is there. You can sometimes get and extra move by leveling them up further, but you can certainly take the road most traveled and just level them up at that time. No need for a ton of petting or grooming or snacks, just hit a level and BOOM you’re done.

With Ni No Kuni 2 right around the corner, I can’t wait to see the changes they’ve made and enjoy what looks to be an incredible story. I still play Pokemon, and have high hopes for a new iteration of the franchise on the Nintendo Switch, but have some reservations about whether or not they can hit all the high notes that Ni No Kuni already hit back in 2013. While I wait for the inevitable announcement of a (hopefully great) new Pokemon RPG, I’ll go back to the wonderful story, beautifully done cutscenes courtesy of Studio Ghibli, and fantastic combat of Ni No Kuni.

What are your thoughts? Do you still play Pokemon games? If you do, what do you enjoy about them? Is there anything you wish they would improve? Let me know in the comments!