Hands-on With Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom's Awesome Battle System

From IGN - February 8, 2018
By Marty Sliva

The original Ni No Kuni remains one of the absolute best traditional JRPGs that the PlayStation 3 has to offer, so its no surprise that we were super stoked to hear that the sequel, Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom, is just around the corner. While the incredibly-talented Studio Ghibli is no longer involved this time around, developer Level-5 has continually given us confidence that this follow-up is in good hands.

We got a chance to play about four hours of Revenant Kingdom, which included all manners of its new, incredibly expansive gameplay. Here are three major reasons why were excited for its March release.

While our initial reaction to the sequel getting rid of the Pokemon-esque Familiars made us worried that the battle system would lose much of its charm, Im happy to say that its quite the opposite. Revenant Kingdoms combat is a frantic and consistantly-entertaining mix of the Tales series, Kingdom Hearts, and Pikmin -- yes, Pikmin. Well get to that later.

Battles occur fully in real time, making combat lean heavily into the action-RPG mold. While you transition into the battle screen when you encounter an enemy on the open-world map, combat occurs seamlessly while youre in a dungeon or smaller area. You have full control over any of your three current party members as you run and jump your way around the battlefield and use any combination of melee, range, and magic attacks. Simultaneously, your other two party members have pretty solid A.I. and a sense of self-preservation, meaning that theyll actually hold their own in combat and not have to be babysat the entire time. Juggling between weapons, managing when to use magic and your special attacks, and actively blocking and dodging enemies means you constantly have to pay attention to whats happening in battle, which I really loved.

The final piece of the combat puzzle are the Higgledies, which sort of act as Revenant Kingdoms replacement for Familiars. These cute little elemental sprites adorn the battlefield in small little groups (seriously, they look like gaggles of Pikmin mixed with Koroks from Breath of the Wild) , and add a really interesting layer of strategy into the mix. When you approach a group of them, you can activate them in order to use their abilities, which range from creating a ring of healing, to transforming into a cannon and blasting flying enemies out of the sky, to forming a giant dome that protects you from fire attacks. I constantly found myself keeping an eye on where my Higgledies were at in any given moment, and swooping in and out of combat in order to use their awesome abilities.

While Studio Ghiblis lack of involvement in the sequel is definitely a bummer, Revenant Kingdom is still a gorgeous game that kept surprising me with new characters and settings. In my four hours of hands-on time, I encountered a roving gang of sky pirates, snuck into a den of Wyverns, got lost in an ancient luminescent forest, and found a Japanese-inspired village obsessed with gambling, luck, and fortune.


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