I’ve been in somewhat of a rut recently. Not motivated by any game to sink my teeth into. I do my Overwatch 2 dailies, stream Resident Evil VII and relax to No Man’s Sky. But I need something to work on as a single player game, something for myself, enter No No Kuni 2.
Ni No Kuni 2 is an unlikely title to fill that gap, but it’s popped up on a couple of podcasts recently, and I’ve heard interesting things over the past couple of years. So I thought “why not?”, it was cheap on CDKeys and I needed something different to shake me up a little.
I used to love a JRPG, and I enjoyed the opening hours of Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch. Sod it, let’s see what it’s all about.
Hot off what I think has been a Nintendo Switch release, people have been talking about it, my interest is piqued. And I need to try something out of my general remit. Ni No Kuni is certainly that.
I’m only a few hours into Ni No Kuni 2, but it’s left a really strong impression really quickly. Subverting my expectations quite significantly if I’m honest.
A coup for the crown, a crawl through the sewers, heroic life-saving from the King’s steward, sky pirates. You name it, Ni No Kuni has it all!
So the story is off to a flying starts, with a US President avoiding a nuclear bomb, for good measure. I know…..
Ni No Kuni was originally an IP from Level 5, with an attachment to the legendary animation studio, Studio Ghibli. And it showed, oozing with that Ghibli style.
Ni No Kuni 2 doesn’t have that attachment, but the vibrant and colourful, cel-shaded characters and locales are here to enjoy still. It looks fantastic, truly.
Gone are the turn-based, Pokemon-esque battles of the first game. Replaced with real-time combat that is as slick and fun as any JRPG I can think of. The system works really well, and to be honest, it’s genuinely fun. I’m only playing on normal, and finding it easy enough, but it’s fun and satisfying. A real treat from a genre that hasn’t really found it’s feet since the traditional turn-based combat coup. I love turn-based, but this works really well, and isn’t trying to blend styles.
Combined with the score (largely used from the first game, as I understand it), and the chibi-style overworld. This is a JRPG in every sense of the genre, but it feels fresh and engaging. There’s something that just “feels” right in Ni No Kuni 2. I haven’t been able to put my finger on it yet, but I will.
More Ni No Kuni 2
So, yeah, I’m very early-doors here and it’s a JRPG, which probably means a really long time to finish. I might not get there. However, there’s a big part of the game I’ve not come to yet, and the bit that I’m most curious about. Building and managing a kingdom.
I’m really really intrigued by how Ni No Kuni 2 will handle this. Particularly, because in principal it sounds quite novel in the genre. No doubt there’s precedent elsewhere, but I’ve not encountered it, and I’m looking forward to seeing how that all works out.
Let’s see how it goes.
Ni No Kuni 2 is so far a splash of cold water in the face for me. It’s helped me get out of that rut a little, and opened my eyes to something I would have probably continued to overlook for a while.
Fingers-crossed it keeps me interested!