Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom has eluded release for quite some time. Over the past year, DualShockers has reported on several delays with the developers stating that gameplay improvements and adjustments to systems are the cause. However, from the outside looking in, it’s tough to really know what is going on with the game and if these changes are really helping. To assist fans, I will recount the changes that I have personally seen and how Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom went from a game that I was worried about to a game that I can’t stop thinking about.
In August of 2017, I was able to play a few stages of Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom at a press event hosted by Bandai Namco. The levels available for play consisted of a boss battle and exploring the Sky Pirates’ Base before rescuing Tani. The characters and story were the best part about these playable sections of the game, it was the battle system that had me worried. However, very early on I found a problem what exactly the problem with the system was: it wasn’t fun.
When entering a battle it was pretty much a requirement to mash the attack button and trigger a Higgledie skill when prompted. Another issue was that flying enemies could not be reached by melee attacks, even jump attacks wouldn’t come close. So to defeat these enemies was at the mercy of the of the AI support character, Roland, who I couldn’t even to control.
At this point in time, I will admit that I was worried about the future of Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom and how it would be received by the public. I went into multiple battles and just couldn’t find the same excitement that I had once found in its predecessor, Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. I felt like it was missing the charm and valuable systems that the series is loved for.
Since that preview event and after a couple delay announcements, I was finally able to return to Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom at a preview event hosted by Bandai Namco and get a hands-on look at what the development team has been up too. What I found left me impressed and a little relieved at the seriousness that the team took to make Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom the best it could be.
For starters, the jumping action in battles has been greatly improved to allow the character to reach flying enemies with a melee attack. Additionally, now characters have a separate ranged skill that can knock flying enemies to the ground and also be used to get some quick hits at the beginning of the battle. Normal attacks have also been improved to make attack combos flow together while using both melee and ranged attacks.
Another new feature allows the playable character to be switched during battle and also on the field map. Each character has their own unique weapons and skills so the player will be able to figure out what type of character works best for their preferences. Also, new skills have been mapped to the R2 button, which we’ve detailed further in a separate article. In retrospect, battles have now been streamlined to focus on fast action and strategy to get through each encounter.
The most important take away from my extended time with Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is that I was excited to initiate battles whereas before I found myself avoiding them because of the tedious and broken systems. Skills and character swapping made the gameplay feel more fluid and closer to what modern RPG fans would expect from a high profile game such as this one.
These updates to the battle system have completely calmed my worries about the state of the battle system in Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom. More importantly, I was glad to understand why the delays were made and witness the changes first hand. Often times with delays come concern, but in the case of Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom, that concern has put to rest for me. The team has created something that I look forward to spending time with while I learn more about the characters and this interesting world. Even though its left to be seen what the rest of the game has in store, at this time I still have yet to play the opening chapter, Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom has proven to me that the wait will be worth it.