Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom Review – Pure Magic (PS4)on March 19, 2018 by Mitch Jay
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom has been primed to be a must play game of 2018 since it was announced – more so, since its delay from 2017 was revealed. Revenant Kingdom will undeniably put up an amazing fight when people think over their favourite games of 2018, because it’s simply one of the best games you’ll ever play.
Revenant Kingdom is everything that a JRPG should be. Wrath of the White Witch is also an incredible game, but Revenant Kingdom builds upon it by refining the gameplay mechanics, and by adding several new modes, and it’s a force to be reckoned with. Revenant Kingdom will do for the JRPG genre what Persona 5 did for it last year, and so you can expect the world of Japanese gaming in the West to become more richer for it.
Revenant Kingdom will undeniably put up an amazing fight when people think over their favourite games of 2018, because it’s simply one of the best games you’ll ever play.
King Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum is the rightful heir to the throne of Ding Dong Dell but when Otto Mausinger stages a coup to overthrow him, Evan finds himself banished from the kingdom with only Roland, a face fresh from another world, for company.
Promising his life-long friend and mentor, Aranella, that he’ll live up to his name as king, Evan plans to build his own kingdom where the citizens will be treated fairly. Of course, he wishes to rid Otto from his wrongful place as king of Ding Dong Dell, too. Revenant Kingdom has all of that wonderful, heart-warming, tear-jerking Ghibli magic, and Level-5 has an incredible grasp on what makes their stories, worlds and characters so appealing to players.
The turn-based gameplay has been replaced by more intuitive action-based mechanics, giving you greater control over the game’s hectic battles. Battles are fast-paced so being able to switch between each member of your party of three with ease means that you can keep your offence strong, and you can utilise each character’s unique skills and abilities for the various enemies you’ll find yourself pitted against.
The Higgledies, phenomena who happened to sprout arms and legs and become absolutely adorable, can only be seen by those with pure heart. Having protected their carer, Auntie Martha, in battle, the Higgledies decide to help you out in battle by bestowing a variety of buffs to you and by laying siege to the enemy. Once enough of them bundle together on the battlefield, you’ll be able to approach them and trigger their ability whether it’s summoning a miniature cannon or healing you. Higgledies are also so damn cute!
Revenant Kingdom will do for the JRPG genre what Persona 5 did for it last year, and so you can expect the world of Japanese gaming in the West to become more richer for it.
The JRPG recipe is constantly being tweaked, and Level-5’s refinements mean that we’re seeing a lot of new modes to tackle during Evan’s adventures. What’s a king without a kingdom? Still a king, of course, but without a kingdom! So this is where the kingdom building mode comes into play.
You’ll win the hearts and respect of many during your journey, and they’ll come back with you to make your kingdom the grandest of them all. Put them to work and decide which stores and what not you want erected first, and then watch your kingdom of Evermore flourish. It’s simple but addicting, and you’ll be itching to max it out to match Evan’s lofty ambitions.
Skirmish mode is the next fresh mode introduced to Revenant Kingdom, and it sees you control a group of four parties as you go army against army. The parties are armed with a distinct weapon, be it sword, bow or other weapons as you progress, and Skirmish adopts the Fire Emblem weapons triangle to indicate strengths and weaknesses – if a party is in trouble, then you can rotate the parties so that you have the upper hand. This is yet another addicting mode on your quest to build Evermore, and it doesn’t feel tacked on in the slightest.
European and Japanese elements come together to bring the distinct and undeniable flavour of Studio Ghibli.
Revenant Kingdom isn’t only one of the most beautiful games of 2018, but of all-time. The artistic direction has been executed wonderfully, and the character designs, environments, cutscenes and 2D artwork are breathtaking. I found myself in awe often, and seeing the character’s idle animations, vast landscapes and sparkling blasts in battle kept me engrossed. It’s a feast for the eyes, and not one you’ll be tearing your eyes away from easily.
It does justice to Studio Ghibli’s fantastical work, and it’s not often that a game stuns me quite like Revenant Kingdom. Ex-Ghibli character designer Yoshiyuki Momose’s work is evident, and you’ll know him from his work on Spirited Away, Grave of the Fireflies, Porco Rosso and more.
Momose-san isn’t the only Ghibli talent to find his way to Revenant Kingdom though, as composer Joe Hisaishi lends his talents to the game series once more. Having composed the soundtracks for many of the Ghibli movies, Hisaishi-san’s wonderful music captures the magic and wonder of Revenant Kingdom, and the growing world of Ni no Kuni.
Hisaishi-san’s music is accompanied by a multitude of brilliant Welsh voice-actors and actresses and, as with many Ghibli films, European and Japanese elements come together to bring the distinct and undeniable flavour of Studio Ghibli.
Revenant Kingdom is an instant classic.
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom truly is a must play, and any JRPG fan should do their best to grab a copy this Friday. If you’re a fan of anime, Studio Ghibli movies, childlike wonder, or of world-spanning adventures, then Revenant Kingdom will not only satisfy you, but it’ll blow you away and exceed all of your expectations and leave you elated. Evan’s emotional journey will stand the test of time – Revenant Kingdom is an instant classic.