Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom’s New Battle System Might Just Have Been A Step in the Wrong Direction

Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom’s New Battle System Might Just Have Been A Step in the Wrong Direction

Dom Peppiatt

Ni No Kuni’s only real resemblance to the original game is its art style. Even that is kind-of aping what Studio Ghibli does, because the acclaimed studio isn’t actually working with Level-5 on the game like it did on the first. The result is like something you’d see between installments of Final Fantasy - the game may bear the same name as its forebear, but the only real similarities are superficial. That works for the title, and against it.

The game's battle system is unlike previous RPG Wrath of the White Witch. Instead, Ni No Kuni 2 is a much more action-orientated affair. That may have some JRPG purists running for cover, but don’t worry: there’s still a satisfying amount of depth in the game, and a decent amount of thinking is required to react to dynamic situations that present themselves in battle.

This is handily explained to you by Lofty, the in-game familiar that sort-of acts like Drippy from the first game. The game revolves around both short- and long-range attacks, and both can be either cast immediately or charged to do over double damage (with extra animation frames, too). This means that most battles will have you watching bosses for attack animations and cycles, waiting to figure out when you know you can unleash a charged attack or rush in with quick ones. 

The game also introduces ways to dodge and block incoming attacks, so you can make protagonist Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum (amazing name, by the way) into a nimble, responsive fighter very easily. Anyone that’s played a Monster Hunter or even something like DmC or Bayonetta will get that side of things down, whilst players of the Tales Of series will get the attack system. 

It takes the best bits of some other RPGs and smushes them together, but then the Higgledy add another layer onto that, too. The Higgledy are sort-of a replacement for the previous game’s familiars - they will assist you in battle by peppering your enemies with damage, but you must make your way to clusters of them to trigger certain abilities (Greens will heal you, Reds will damage the enemy and so on). Some of the battles we’ve played seem to rely on this mechanic a bit too heavily, and it seems to artificially draw out the length of the encounters… which isn’t always fun. Especially when your companion AI at times seems a bit… simple.

Our E3 demo was limited to just two kinds of encounters, sadly, so we can’t say much about how well (or badly) the world is put together outside the careful eye of Studio Ghibli. The combat is satisfying, and the start of each encounter we were pretty excited about the massive beasts and amazingly well put together minions we were fighting, but towards the end of the bouts we were starting to get fatigued.

This, of course, is based on an early demo, so the balance might change by the time the title actually releases. For now, we know there is a specific type of RPG fan that is going to get on well with bullet sponge bosses and go here, do this battle mechanics, but it left us longing for the tight turn-based system of the previous game more than anything else. Still, at least it looks incredibly pretty, right?

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom will be coming to PlayStation 4 and PC on 10th November 2017. Get some gameplay in the trailers below.


  • The first game wasn't a turn based battle system...
  • What kind of bull is this about, did they even play the first game? I've never heard such misinformed bull this whole week.
  • I think Dom playing Metal Gear Survive messed him up a littlw bit
  • I only played the original game a bit, but it's clear that Dom has forgotten how the gameplay mechanics were in the first game. Since when was it completely turn-based? It's always been like the Tales series.
  • I'm not sure what to make of this game at this point, but I am glad that the combat is being overhauled. It was one of my only problems with the first game, which I thought was otherwise amazing. I don't think this game can live up to the first, but if I find the combat to be any less frustrating then I'll be happy with it.
  • If you want to get technical, Ni No Kuni wasn't always an action RPG. Many people don't realize it, but there was a game that came out on the DS almost a whole year before it was upgraded to Wrath of the White Witch on PS3. Unfortunately not many people know about it since it never got released outside of Japan. But sure enough, the first game in the Ni No Kuni series was actually a turn-based RPG! Though, it's more likely Dom forgot about the mechanics of the PS3 game than him referring to the DS one, so he's still wrong. But it's equally wrong to say the series never had a turn based battle system.
  • I am cautiously optimistic, but still .... - no familiars - what about the locket of emotions? - what about the speaking cauldron? It will be really hard for Level 5 to reach what made Ni No Kuni 1 so great
  • What a clickbait title. Come on, PST, you're better than that.
  • I think someone needs a brain transplant, because he has lost his mind....
  • This article speak lies, for the original Ni No Kuni did not have a turn-based fighting system. Action oriented and messy it was. I liked it.
  • For all those who do't know the history of Ni no Kuni. This is the 3RD game in the series, just because it has a 2 after it doesn't make it the second.
  • lol
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