Review: Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom Prince’s Edition (Switch)

Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom delighted fans of the original when it was released in 2018. Given that 2021 is apparently the year of the reissue, with no warning whatsoever Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom Prince’s Edition magically appeared on Switch just as suddenly and unexpectedly as Roland found himself in Ding Dong Dell. There’s been enough Switch ports by now where the expected statement is great game but better on other platforms. Given that we’re talking about a three-and-a-half-year-old PlayStation 4 game, this statement will most likely hold true. The question is are there only minor concessions to make it a relevant kingdom on Switch or should this kingdom have remained on the platforms where it was originally released.

The story begins several hundred years after Oliver’s adventures in Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, in a world that is unrelated enough where while its predecessor should be experienced, it isn’t required to enjoy the sequel. President Roland witnesses warheads exploding overhead before he wakes up in a strange land with his youth restored. This is the kingdom of Ding Dong Dell, where Prince Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrun is about to fall prey to a coup d’etat orchestrated by King Mausinger who was believed to be an ally. Roland’s quick thinking saves Evan, but doing so forfeits the kingdom. Not to be discouraged by an unsuccessful attempt on the successor to the throne’s life, Evan and Roland head out to Cloudcoil Canyon to seek out a kingmaker in order to rebuild the kingdom and show those backstabbing rodents what for.

Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom’s gameplay doesn’t venture too far out the JRPG comfort zone. When exploring dungeons and in battle the characters are in their fully-animated glory, but while traversing the world map where everything is scaled down, the characters take on a distorted chibi form. Unlike the semi turn based battle of Wrath of the White Witch, Revenant Kingdom fights take place in real time and space. For example, flying enemies need to be taken down with aerial or ranged attacks. The action combat feels more modern and actually more fun that the original. The player controls one of the three party members, but can switch which one at any point in battle. The other party members in battle follow AI parameters that can be set with the Tactic Tweaker, and more details on what that does and other details about things mentioned in this review can be found in this article.

In addition to exploring the world, venturing into dungeons, making friends and new towns and fighting a bunch of monsters, Ni No Kuni II offers a couple additional important activities for King Evan. Evan needs to build facilities so that his royal subjects can go about their day-to-day life earning money for him. This can be running a weapon and armor store or breeding Higgeldies. Evan also needs to manage his kingdom by selecting the right people for each task, but the game makes it clear what everyone’s area of expertise is so managing that isn’t too difficult. There’s no point in having a kingdom is one can’t flex their muscle on the fields of war from time to time and that’s exactly what happens with the Skirmishes. These occur when Evan approaches the standard of another kingdom and RTS battles ensue. These are fought with a rock paper scissors system, or in this case sword hammer spear. Blending traditional JRPG gameplay with kingdom management and large-scale fights between kingdoms leads to an involved and satisfying game.

One thing that makes Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom Prince’s Edition so princely is the inclusion of all the post-release content which also includes the added Hard and Expert difficulty settings. The additional content includes the Adventure Pack that has a random dungeon called the Faraway Forest Cave where Evan can face new and powerful monsters. The Lair of the Lost Lord includes another random dungeon called Labyrinth with new story information about some of the characters’ past. The Tale of the Timeless Tome is the most interesting of the new content where a character named the Conductor leads Evan through a dream world. More mysteries about some characters’ past are revealed. The added content helps improve the value but with how big and complete feeling the main game of Ni No Kuni II feels, it’s not entirely necessary. Die hard fans and completionists will likely be all over it, but there are also many who simply feel the main game is enough.

Ni No Kuni II: Revevant Kingdom 
was great when it was initially released and remains so now. In fact, despite giving the PlayStation 4 version a glowing review when it launched, I actually forgot how much fun it was. Revisiting Ding Dong Dell and seeing familiar companions like Lofty and the Higgeldies was a welcome trip down memory lane, enough to point where a few unfortunate people I know were greeted with “higgel piggel” instead of hi for a while. The multiple systems within Ni No Kuni II, the king management, skirmishes, traditional JRPG stuff, etc kept the experience varied during the playthrough and it never got boring. It’s a magical RPG and one that should be enjoyed by all fans of the genre.

Now comes the paragraph that should just be rubber stamped on any review of a Switch port. Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom Prince’s Edition is great on Switch, but it’s greater on other platforms. Like its predecessor, part of the charm is the top-notch animation, and while it’s movie quality on PlayStation 4, it suffers from a slight case of the jaggies on Switch. Nothing too terrible but enough to remind you that this is a game and not an animated film. The DLC inclusion is nice, but it doesn’t add much to be considered essential material which makes the $59.99 price tag seem excessive considering what physical copies go for on other platforms. While this is one of the Switch ports that doesn’t suffer terribly in the technical concessions department, it still performs better on other platforms.

Closing Comments:

Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom Prince’s Edition brings a great game with all its DLC content to Switch. Like every Switch port there are concessions to be made with this version. The graphic quality does take a noticeable hit, and while the DLC content isn’t incredible, it does help make up for the technical concessions. Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is a great RPG and should be played be all fans of the genre. The main selling point for Prince’s Edition is the portability factor. But while the visuals and performance is better on other platforms, Ni No Kuni II performs well enough on the Switch where it’s a viable platform to experience this game.