Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Level 5
Even though I loved the first Ni No Kuni, I have to admit that I wasn?t expecting to love Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom quite as much. After all, the first game was made with the assistance of Studio Ghibli, and Ni No Kuni II wasn?t. No matter how much else Ni No Kuni did well, visuals were a huge part of its charm, so I was ready for the sequel to feel just a little off.
On some level, my expectations were right: Ni No Kuni II isn?t quite as nice-looking as its predecessor.
But it?s not that far off, either. In fact, Ni No Kuni II still looks absolutely gorgeous. If we?re rating visuals on a scale of 1-100, and the first Ni No Kuni gets top marks, this second one clocks in at about a 95. There are points here and there where the framerate dips a tiny bit, and the overworld isn?t quite as nice as it was in the first game, but apart from those two quibbles, this is still an undeniably beautiful game.
On top of that, I think there?s a good argument to be made that Ni No Kuni II plays better than the first game. Admittedly, this is more a matter of preference: the first game featured turn-based battles, which I?ve never been a fan of. Here, by contrast, the fights are in real-time and move at a faster pace. Even in the overworld, where running into a monster will take you into a different setting to fight, it still doesn?t take you out of the game the way the combat sometimes did in the first game. This may have been a concession to Western sensibilities, but as far as I?m concerned, it improves an already great game.
Further, there?s probably a lot more depth to Ni No Kuni II. As my colleague Tyler noted back when the game first came out, there?s a whole level of city-building in this game that was nowhere to be found the first time out. It adds a whole other level to the game — and a well-done one at that.
Is Ni No Kuni II better than the first game overall? It?s quite possible — the slight difference in graphics is more than made up for by the improved combat and deeper gameplay, though much of that can also be written down to personal preference. What I know for certain, however, is that if the first game was an impressive achievement, this one is too, and, like it?s predecessor, Ni No Kuni II is a worthy addition to any Switch owner?s library.
Bandai Namco provided us with a Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom Prince?s Edition Switch code for review purposes.