Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom has finally come to the Nintendo Switch, three years after its initial release, including all of its expansions and add ons. It is the complete Ni No Kuni II experience. The game starts a hundred years after the events of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, initially kicking off with a cutscene of the President of a United States-like country. The President’s convoy is destroyed in an attack leaving him unconscious. President Roland then finds himself transported to the Kingdom of Ding Dong Dell. The kingdom is in the midst of an impending coup, taking place on the eve of a young King’s coronation.
After the initial cutscene, Ni No Kuni II gets you straight into the thick of it. Roland meets young King Evan Pettiwhisker immediately, right as it’s all beginning to kick off. You arrive just in time to save the would-be king from an assassination attempt. Leading to Evan deciding to build his own kingdom, in his own image. A kingdom of peace for everybody with Roland by his side.
Ni No Kuni II is my introduction to the franchise, and it is a testament to the game and the story that I never felt lost in this world. You learn the rules of the world alongside Roland, and it is relentless. The game doesn’t slow down, you’re constantly being taught lore or new mechanics as you progress, even going as far as to introduce building a kingdom itself. Much like everything else in the game, it is incredibly well done — often these kinds of mechanics can just feel like a bit of a chore, but that is never the case here.
The kingdom building, on top of the combat and story, ensures Ni No Kuni II feels like a very complete experience with plenty to offer, but there are a few standouts. The main one is combat. Ni No Kuni II does not have turn-based combat. Instead it is a fast-paced hack-and-slash with light and heavy attacks, tight dodges and blocks, as well as a variety of different ranged attacks weaved in as well. There are a lot of different mechanics to wrap your head around, but it doesn’t take too long to figure out and master. It’s an incredibly satisfying way to play when done well, that’s only complemented by strong designs and varieties of enemies you’ll face along the way.
The second greatest thing about Ni No Kuni II is just how aesthetically pleasing it is as a package. The music is amazing, and the way the game looks is also stunning. The art style looks like an animated film, it’s truly a spectacle to look at. Sadly, there are a few technical issues that come with playing the game on the Nintendo Switch, however, none are overly egregious, and once again, having a game of this size on the go, by far outweighs any of the negatives. Luckily it looks just as good docked and handheld.
The story of Ni No Kuni II is not here to do anything groundbreaking, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t an incredibly satisfying journey. The plot acts as a good vehicle to push you through the depths of its gameplay, which is incredibly easy to get distracted and lost in. I found that the side-quests could become stale and repetitive, but that is genuinely one of the only criticisms I can hold against this game. The whole, all-around experience is incredibly enjoyable, and the characters themselves are fascinating to get to know. Like many JRPGs, there are plenty of fresh faces to meet, with their own bizarre stories and tales to get wrapped up in. All of this helps make Ni No Kuni II feel authentic.
Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is a must-play JRPG boasting slick combat, great kingdom-building mechanics and a world you have to experience. There’s an eclectic cast of characters in this fully realised experience that has its hooks in you from the moment it begins.