NI NO KUNI II: REVENANT KINGDOM
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.