A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is a cartoon-like fantasy role-playing game with real-time combat. Players control humanoid characters that fight groups of fantasy creatures, such as dragons, skeletons, and gooey blobs, using swords, magic, and guns. There's no blood or gore in combat -- characters simply fall to the ground and disappear in a flash of light -- but a couple of noninteractive cutscenes show a small amount of blood when key characters are seriously injured. The main protagonists, including young king Evan and his chief advisor, Roland, are classic good guys, always looking to come to the assistance of those in need, whether it's helping someone's family or just finding an ingredient for a recipe. Their primary goal is to forge an alliance of kingdoms to bring peace to the entire world. Missions include plenty of positive messages, from showing the downside of gambling to promoting freedom to love. Simple menus and straightforward combat mean players of all skill levels shouldn't have too much trouble progressing the story.
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What's it about?
NI NO KUNI II: REVENANT KINGDOM is a sequel to Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Which, a popular fantasy role-playing game (RPG) created in partnership with famed Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli. While the animator isn't officially involved with this sequel, Revenant Kingdom retains the same interactive cartoon feel of the original, with players controlling a cast of protagonists roaming around imaginatively drawn environments. The game begins with Roland, an important man from our world, being transported to a fantastical realm and thrust into a position where he must defend Evan, young regent of Ding Dong Dell, who is in the midst of being ejected from power via a military coup. The pair escape together and forge a bond, agreeing to go on a quest to create a new kingdom dedicated to forging a union of nations sworn to world peace. Their adventure switches between exploring the world, where they fight monsters in real-time combat, complete quests, and come to the aid of other countries, and growing Evan's own kingdom, which involves recruiting new citizens, building facilities at which they can work, and researching new magic and technology. Players also need to build up Evan's army, composed of a variety of unit types including spearmen, archers, and swordsmen, and use it to engage in strategic skirmishes against invaders and other hostile forces.
Is it any good?
It doesn't quite reach the heights of the beloved original, but this continuation of Level 5's acclaimed RPG series is well worth playing. Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom succeeds where one would expect, offering up a lovingly created world filled with lively, likable, and beautifully animated characters that players will care about and want to help. And while combat has transitioned from semi-turn-based battles to real-time frays, it remains very accessible, despite its sometimes chaotic appearance. It contains loads of strategic options for players who want to dig into them -- including the option to switch weapons, pick abilities, and call on the power of cute little creatures -- but button mashers won't have any trouble burning through most clashes. Plus, everything is laid out clearly and succinctly. Finding an objective and getting to it is always a breeze, thanks to smart and simple menu design and a great fast travel system that can take you just about anywhere you need to go in a handful of seconds.
The new kingdom building system is fun, too, though this is where a few minor cracks start to show. Constructing new facilities, staffing them with citizens, and researching new magic and technologies to grow both the kingdom and your party's abilities is blissfully easy, but eventually grows just a little tedious over the game's 50-plus hour length, thanks to a very linear progression system that doesn't allow for much experimentation. The same can be said of side quests, the narrative details of which you don't even really need to pay any attention to in order to fulfill the basic fetching and monster-battling tasks you're given. But these issues are unlikely to deter fans of the original from eating up this beautifully made and wonderfully easy-to-play sequel. Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is a fine follow-up to one of the best Japanese RPGs in recent years.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Did any aspect of the cartoon violence in Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom affect you emotionally?
Talk about the responsibilities of leadership. Do you think Evan makes a good king? Did the game oversimplify some of the tasks that come with being a fair and responsible leader?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Bandai Namco
- Release date: March 23, 2018
- Genre: Role-Playing
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Friendship, Great Boy Role Models, Pirates
- ESRB rating: T for Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood
- Last updated: June 19, 2019
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.