DFTG’s First Impression of Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom Gameplay and Story at E3 2017 (VIDEO)
The “dream team” is back for Level-5’s Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom and that means Akihiro Hino (Story and General Director), Yoshiyuki Momose (Character Design), and Joe Hisaishi (Music) are returning for a spectacular sequel to the highly acclaimed Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. The last two names may sound familiar since both have worked with and for the famous animation studio known as Studio Ghibli. Momose worked on hits like Spirited Away and Grave of the Fireflies. Meanwhile, genius composer Joe Hisaishi has been working with the Ghibli company since the 1980’s for various films like Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, My Neighbor Totoro, and Howl’s Moving Castle to name a few. Similar to the previous title, the Revenant Kingdom still offers fans old and new the compelling anime style cinematics to tie into the game. Coupled with the whimsical Ghibli style magic, traditional RPG aspects, and triple-A standard – Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom won’t disappoint hopeful JRPG fans.
We got our hands on the gameplay demonstrations of Revenant Kingdom, there were two boss encounter demos to try. Players can fight Thogg or Longfang, whose descriptions can be viewed below. Regardless of either Kingmaker players decide to try out, the reinvented, real-time combat system was one of the most notable aspects of Ni no Kuni II. Unlike the previous title, the mechanics have moved away from a hybrid turn-based structure and resulted in fast-paced battles. In addition, Higgledies are a new and different companion feature introduced. Unlike the somewhat stagnant ones from before, these creatures offer a dynamic and invaluable advantage in fights by giving players buffs, heals, and shields.
The overall theme and feel of Revenant Kingdom is much like the otherworldly experience prevalent in Studio Ghibli films. From the beautifully animated cut-scenes, to the colorful buildings, environment, outfits, and characters – it’s nothing short of enchanting. Though it is a game, there’s also a story to be told – an emotional coming of age journey of courage, trials, and tribulations.
Players get to take on the role of Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum, a kind-hearted young boy whose rightful place as king was taken away when doubts surrounding his ability to lead a kingdom arose. Otto Mausinger, one of the antagonists in Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, is the manipulative mastermind behind a coup that dethrones Evan from Ding Dong Dell. To escape the certainty of fire consequences, Evan escapes with the help of his guardian Aranella and a mysterious stranger named Roland. With little hope of seizing back Ding Dong Dell for now, Evan seeks out to build his own kingdom. In order to do so, he must seek out Kingmakers and prove his worthiness to be a ruler. He meets all sorts of people and interesting characters, creating long-lasting bonds and friendships along the way.
- Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum is the main character and true king of the Ding Dong Dell in the land of Ni no Kuni. Driven out of the kingdom by a sinister antagonist, he sets off to create his own kingdom with the help of friends. In order to do so, he must seek out Kingmakers across the land.
- Aranella is Evan’s protector and the one who helps him escape the wrath of Otto Mausinger.
- Tani is tenacious young girl who teaches the main character courage and bravery in the face of danger. She travels alongside him and Roland to discover different King Makers and explore the world. She is also the daughter of Batu.
- Roland is a man who helps Evan escape from Ding Dong Dell. Seeing much of himself in the true king and by choosing to travel with the boy, he vows to nurture and help Evan into becoming the best leader he can be.
- Batu “The Cloud Snake” is another character the trio can team up with as well. He is leader of the Sky Pirates.
- Lofty the Kingmaker is an unsuspecting fellow that wields the commanding power to deem those worthy of becoming a ruler.
- Otto Mausinger is the New king of Ding Dong Dell and the main antagonist of the storyline. He is an humanoid rat character and the one that overthrew Evan Tildrum’s rightful position as king.
- Pugnacious is the greedy, unfair ruler of Goldpaw and runs a gambling area in the city. He enjoys taxing the people. He also looks like a pug.
Higgledies in Combat
Higgledies are different from the companions that were available in Wrath of the White Witch. In the sequel, these wispy sprites are born from the various elements (i.e. Water, Fire, Earth, and Air) and contribute greatly to combat and strategic approaches to battles. They provide offensive and defensive stat buffs, healing, or shields. They are definitely a game changer this time around, adding an unusual, fun, and extremely helpful element to the reinvented, real-time combat system. Their general design looks like a mix between the Kodama in Princess Mononoke and Calcifer from Howl’s Moving Castle. Of course, their colors correspond to the element they represent. For example, the red Higgledies provide a flame shield to protect from fire elemental attacks, while the green ones offer minor HP recovery. There are, of course, certain limitations with the use of these sprites. While they do run around during enemy encounters, their abilities can only be activated in a stationary area for a short period of time. So players must strategize around the Higgledies movements as well.
- “Set out from the sky pirates’ base and journey to the king’s cradle, where Evan must take a trial to prove his worthiness to rule.”
- Young Evan and his gang must defeat a Kingmaker named Thogg “The Monstrously Muscled Mettle-Tester” in the Trial of Courage. By doing so, he can become the king of the Sky Pirates. At least, that’s what is implied.
- Longfang is another Kingmaker who resides in Goldpaw – a city of luxe, fortune, and gold.
A game mode within the game that allows the player to physically create a kingdom for Evan and his crew which is drawn in a “dioarama-like fashion”, according to Level-5 CEO Akihiro Hino. In Kingdom Mode, players get to place construct buildings and assign characters to various roles. In doing so, it allows the kingdom to grow and increase in size and helps ease the progression of the game. However, to do that, people must be persuaded into joining the cause. It’s a major component to Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom and it’s so extensive that Hino has mentioned that the “system alone is enough to make you want to make a game around it”. Otherwise, there are big secrets that have yet to be divulged for this game mode, but more will be revealed in time.
So, here’s the bottomline: there’s something about anime meets video games that brings a whole new level of immersion. Just based on the gameplay demonstrations we got our hands on, it’s apparent that Level-5 is ready for people to go on yet another journey into the land of Ni no Kuni. While the main focus will be the progression of story, combat and graphics were equally important aspects of telling Even Pettiwhisker Tildrum’s story. It’s clear that the feedback from Wrath of the White Witch was taken into account during the development of Revenant Kingdom since Level-5 isn’t afraid to move toward innovation and reassessing their approach to game creation. With Ni no Kuni II, those who have not played number 1 can still enjoy what it has to offer. Even though the game won’t launch until November, it has easily become one of the most anticipated titles I am looking forward to this year.
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Hoi Duong2131 Posts
Hoi is an elusive figure at DFTG, whose favorite past-times include chillin' in the Fade, reading manga, watching anime, collecting novelty items, and gaming.