De­vel­oper Level-5 Pub­lisher Bandai Namco En­ter­tain­ment For­mat PC, PS4 Re­lease Novem­ber 10


While Ni No Kuni: Wrath Of The White Witch was not with­out its flaws, it was the sheer verve of Level-5 and Stu­dio Ghi­bli’s worlds and sto­ry­telling that drew us in, in­spir­ing a real sense of child­like won­der. De­spite Stu­dio Ghi­bli it­self no longer be­ing di­rectly in­volved, we’re ex­cited to re­visit Ding Dong Dell – this time play­ing as re­cently usurped boy-king Evan. Un­for­tu­nately, the bat­tle we’re thrown into couldn’t be less in­spi­ra­tional. Fight­ing against dragon Long­fang is a mess of muddy, brown vi­su­als and con­fus­ing hit­boxes. The se­quel has moved away from the clas­sic, largely turn-based com­bat of its pre­de­ces­sor, favour­ing a re­al­time com­bat sys­tem – an at­tempt to ap­peal to a broader West­ern au­di­ence, pre­sum­ably, but the bat­tle feels mis­er­ably slow as a re­sult. It doesn’t help that Long­fang soaks up dam­age like a big, an­gry sponge, or that Evan won’t stop chit­ter­ing the same ir­ri­tat­ing line while we fire off long-range spells or swing our sword. What ex­actly our two party mem­bers, Roland and Tani, con­trib­ute to the fight is not clear. The Pik­min – sorry, Hig­gledies – that oc­ca­sion­ally ap­pear on the bat­tle­field are use­ful, how­ever. They re­place the Pokemon-es­que Fa­mil­iars from the first game, with each type of­fer­ing dif­fer­ent buffs to the party. It’s but a small glimpse into what will no doubt be a colos­sal JRPG, but we set down the con­troller wor­ried – and not that com­pelled – to re­turn to Ding Dong Dell again.

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