The first installment of Ni No Kuni (NNK) received positive ratings in 2013. Therefore, the announcement of the sequel was expected. By the end of 2015, Ni No Kuni 2 (NNK2) was revealed by Level-5 and Bandai Namco.
While the previous game tells the story of the boy Oliver, who travels to the fantastic world of Ni No Kuni with Fairy Godmother, in the sequel you will be accompanied by completely different characters. Although they live in the same place, the story begins as in the previous game in the kingdom but it plays in a completely different time.
Therefore, NNK 2 no longer tells about Oliver and his friends but about Evan, who has to deal with his own problems. As an actual heir to the throne, he loses his kingdom to the ruler of the mice. In the course of the game, he wants to build a new kingdom in which everyone should live forever in peace. Evan is accompanied by human Robert, the small figure Lofty, the air pirate Tani and several other characters that you encounter throughout history.
NNK 2 not only tells you a whole new story but also brings you completely new mechanics. Which are that, we could already get a picture of it. Six changes have been made, which stand in marked contrast to the previous game.
- Your Main Goal
You still face evil in NNK and try to restore peace. However, this does not happen this time by healing the broken hearts of people but your main goal now is to find allies and citizens for your new kingdom.
In addition, the heavy opponents are no longer manifested nightmares, but huge Kingmakers, all of whom have their own abilities. And even magic does not play such a big role as in the first part. Although there are spells in NNK 2 as well, they serve as a solution to smaller puzzles.
- The Fights
Like the previous installment, Ni No Kuni 2 looks like a classic JRPG at first glance. If you run into opponents on the big map, you will be drawn into an extra combat area. Unlike many other representatives of the genre, the battles don’t run in rounds. So in NNK you have controlled your characters in real-time by command, the new installment lets you control all movements at the touch of a button, you activate special attacks via a menu, which you select with the shoulder buttons.
If you encounter opponents not in a top-down view on the big map, but in a closed area in third-person perspective, the transition to the fight is even fluent , so you can aggressively approach your opponents and make the first strike or you creep past them with some distance.
There is also the Skirmish mode in addition to the classic combat system. In it, you first lay down a tactic, only then it goes on the battlefield. While Evan and his friends get their hands dirty in the classic battles, the king commands his soldiers here.
Your task is to align your units so that they can effectively act against the enemy soldiers. The skirmish fights, like many of the other fights, are optional to defend against later attacks, but it makes sense to use them for leveling.
- Your Kingdom
Also new is the Kingdom Management mode. In it, as the name implies, you build your own kingdom. While the rest of the game is more JRPG, Skirmish and Kingdom Management modes are more reminiscent of strategy games. So you build new buildings in the latter, research new skills and hire residents as auxiliaries. The more areas you explore and the people you meet, the bigger your kingdom becomes.
While the mode is more or less optional, each new building, every new helper influences the rest of the game. So if you're researching armor, you'll have much higher defenses soon. With each new building, you not only upgrade your kingdom but also your own skills.
- Your Companions
In Ni No Kuni, if you were to support the Milites in combat who could evolve like Pokémon, the Higgeldies are instead featured in the sequel. These little characters only appear in a team and support you with different skills in combat. To activate them, you have to step into their midst and trigger their abilities at the push of a button. Otherwise, they act independently, so you can focus mainly on your own fighting style.
- The Map
Only small details have changed on the map, but they make navigation a lot easier. This way, not only peaceful NPCs you can talk to will be shown on the mini-map but also enemies are listed there. In addition, the fast trip is easier to find.
Not only you can travel to other kingdoms in a few seconds but also within this you have the opportunity to choose between different central places. Conversely, this could mean that NNK 2 is much larger than the first installment - which gives you nearly 100 hours of play time.
- The Graphics
NNK 2 looked like it was made for children, but dealt with topics that were primarily intended for adults. This shows the continuation in the menu. While this was spiked with mini-games in the first part, the new menu is reminiscent of Final Fantasy, so it looks significantly more adult.
However, the style is not only clearer in this regard. The game is no longer switched between like Cutscenes in 2D and a gameplay in 3D, but the whole game is kept in realistic graphics. Alone the characters seem like an anime but they don’t seem out of place, but fit into the other environment.