BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment's Gamescom Event: Ni no Kuni II - Demo Review

top-Ni-no-Kuni-II-capture-500x374 BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment's Gamescom Event: Ni no Kuni II - Demo Review

  • System: PS4, PC/Steam
  • Publisher: Bandai Namco Entertainment
  • Developer: Level-5
  • Release Date: Date: January 19, 2018 (WW)
  • Price:Standard: $59.99, Premium Edition: $79.99, Collector’s Edition: $199.99
  • Rating: Pending
  • Genre: RPG
  • Players: 1
  • Official Website:

Who it Caters to

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Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is a film-like experience, a faithful portrayal of the Studio Ghibli magic. To capture the Ghibli experience, Level-5 is working in conjunction with Ghibli staff. Character designs were created by Yoshiyuki Momose, famous for his work on Grave of the Fireflies and Spirited Away. Joe Hisaishi, the main Japanese composer and music director of most Ghibli films, will also return and score the game’s music performed by the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra. Backed by an amazing graphical quality, without a doubt, the game will capture the visual, musical, and timeless essence of a Ghibli classic.

What to Expect

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Stephen Akana, Brand Manager of Ni no Kuni, provides insight, “There was a lot of impressions from people that [Ni no Kuni] has a childlike youthfulness... One of the things they wanted to do for Ni no Kuni II made sure that there were certain elements of characters that people could identify with that are older… the maturity of the story itself is something that is easy enough for someone who’s younger to understand, but as an older person you might get a little bit of the nuance and how special this kind of story is.”

There is definitely a wider appeal with Ni no Kuni II, its characters express this sentiment with the childlike qualities of Evan, a boy struggling to grasp what it means to be king, the adventurous tomboy Tani, a girl who was raised by sky pirates, and the 20-year old seeker of justice, Roland, a visitor from another world.

Fortunately, Ni no Kuni II will be a standalone title--it doesn’t require its prequel to play. If you were hesitant to try the first game for its youthful themes, Ni no Kuni II aims to hit a middle ground for both young and old Ghibli fans and new audiences alike.


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Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum is the main protagonist of Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom. The story begins with a sudden uprising, Evan’s kingdom falls from a coup, dethroning the young boy from his land. In order to unite his kingdom, Evan must follow the footsteps of a legend, a person who once brought the world together, King Ferdinand. The game is still in development, so hopefully, more details will unfold as its release date draws closer.

Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom - “Forge a Kingsbond” Trailer | PS4, PC:


top-Ni-no-Kuni-II-capture-500x374 BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment's Gamescom Event: Ni no Kuni II - Demo Review
Ni no Kuni II is primarily a single-player, Japanese Role-playing game. Although Ni no Kuni II borrows elements from its prequel, there are two major differences that stand out during its demo.

First, there is the inclusion of an interesting battlefield, strategy game. While not the main way combat is handled in Ni no Kuni II, this new addition places you in an overworld setting. From above, you command Evan as he runs through the battlefield with recruited armies surrounding his side. These units have a weapon system very similar to Fire Emblem’s weapon triangle, or simply put, Rock-paper-scissors. Units wield different weapons: swords are strong against axes, axes are strong against lances, and lances work well against swords. It is uncertain how archers, one of the first unit classes given in the demo, influence the triangle, but it’s reassuring to see that multiple classes are a thing--although enemy mages were certainly pesky.

Units battle automatically during these sections of the game. By rotating the units that surround Evan’s sides, you can choose the angle of which the units engage enemies and once they touch, they automatically start swinging. To add more strategy, units also come with Special Tactics, special moves that have powerful effects and varying cooldowns. Depending on the party member that leads the grouped units, their special tactics can include a heal or a tactical airstrike--yes, bombs are actually dropped from the skies. The last feature of this strategy game is the Guts Gauge.

The Guts Gauge is, very simply, a stamina bar that replenishes over time. By holding the square button, you activate “All-Out Assault,” a damage increasing buff to your armies. By holding the x button, you do “Quick March,” a buff that drains your Guts Gauge to move faster. Combining all of these elements makes for a fun addition Ni no Kuni II that rewards some knowledge of strategy, but isn’t too difficult for players unfamiliar with strategy games.

Second, in both Ni no Kuni and its sequel, most battles happen when your main character touches a monster. The game transports you into its battle mode, a free-roam, active battle system similar to Bandai Namco’s Tales games. Ni no Kuni II has AI-controlled party members that support you in battle, but perhaps most striking from its sequel is the absence of familiars. Instead, the game focuses on higgledies, groups of elemental creatures that engage in automatic combat.

During a boss battle with the lord of the flames, the red higgledies can provide much-needed advantages. When the lord of flames coats the field in fire, you can rush to the red higgledies and call for a defensive barrier. Similarly, if you want to be more aggressive, you can rush to the purple higgledies and have them summon a dark orb attack, the perfect answer for enemies too high to reach. This element of strategy is absolutely critical against bosses. Bosses take very little damage from regular attacks. Instead, the game rewards the player by giving bosses a specific weakness. If you counter specific attacks using the higgledies or use skills the boss is weak to, you can stun a boss.

A stunned boss is an easy target, but even more so when it pops out a yellow orb. Upon touching this orb, Evan access to an unlimited amount of special skill uses for a short duration. Homing in on elemental weaknesses makes bosses feel like puzzles at times. You can swing at foes and still defeat them, but an understanding of your team’s strength and enemy’s weakness will prove the most effective strategy.

Honey's Gameplay Consensus:

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Thus far, the attention to detail for this game is staggering. It really leaves an impression on the player with its immersive music and its innovations on gameplay. There really isn’t an aspect of this game that felt lacking and for that, Ghibli fans can feel assured--this game will deliver. Gamers interested in an immersive story or how natural the action synergies with strategy, will absolutely love this title. Cheers to an amazing game backed by the passionate support of Level-5 and Ghibli Studios.

Honey's Pros:

  • Truly a cinematic experience, visuals capture the essence of Ghibli films.
  • Battles are an intriguing combination of strategy and action.
  • The focus on widening its appeal makes for a refreshing take on a coming of age story for both young and old audiences.

Honey's Cons:

  • A January 2018 release date feels so far away!

Honey's Final Verdict:

There is this current discourse that Japanese Role-playing games have grown stale and uninteresting, but recent games of the genre have been breaking the mold. Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom leads the forefront of a new movement: the meshing of the nostalgic and familiar with a refreshing take on gameplay. Studio Ghibli and Level-5 have really outdone themselves with this superb display of Ghibli nostalgia and innovative gameplay.

If you have any thoughts on the game or just want to talk about your anticipation of this hit title, feel free to leave a comment below. We’d love to hear your views on Ni no Kuni II and its take on the RPG genre.

top-Ni-no-Kuni-II-capture-500x374 BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment's Gamescom Event: Ni no Kuni II - Demo Review


Author: Sean "Coopa" Hoang

A motivated writer hoping to share his passion for video games, literature, and visual media. I'm the main streamer of FinestKO, a variety game stream with roots in the fighting game community. Whenever there's time, you can usually find me broadcasting or writing for the next article.

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