Originally released three (!!) years ago, Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is now available on Switch. And it’s every bit as wonderful as ever.
Yes, it’s been a long time coming for fans to have the experience of Ni no Kuni II on the go. But after being hands-on with the Switch version, I’d say it’s been worth the wait. For those of us who jumped in at launch on PC or PS4, it’s been long enough that our memories are a bit hazy, and replaying Evan’s adventure is once again exciting. And for new players, the Switch port comes in the shape of the Prince’s Edition, bundling in expanded gameplay and extra DLC.
But other than a few hours of extra content, this is very much the same game it was when it released on PC and PlayStation back in 2018. It follows Evan, a young boy who just became king of Ding Dong Dell after the passing of his father. Except… it seems his father’s death wasn’t a tragic accident, and someone has it in for Evan. And so, with his new companion Roland by his side, he needs to escape – and find a new kingdom where he can rule as King in peace.
The greatest joy of Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom has always been its gorgeous, Studio Ghibli-inspired visuals. This looks like a world-class anime that you just happen to be able to take control of. And with excellently-voiced cutscenes, it really is a cinematic experience. Of course, on Switch those visuals have been pared back a little; you’ll not get the same, sharp resolution you did on PC or PS4, but playing handheld it’s perfectly serviceable. We wouldn’t necessarily recommend playing docked on a large screen – you’ll really notice the downgrade in resolution doing so. If the big screen experience is what you’re going for, then we’d really urge you to play on PS4 or PC to see the game as it was best intended.
The Switch version doesn’t disappoint where it matters, though. For the most part, the performance is stellar. Evan, Roland and co. move through the world with ease, and everything is as smooth and responsive as you could hope for. We noticed a little drop in framerate when exploring the overworld map, but most of the time it’s buttery smooth.
It’s a good job too, because particularly in combat, Ni no Kuni II requires you to be fast with your responses. This is a JRPG that favours modern, action-based combat, so you’ll be rushing up to enemies, swinging your weapon and using a variety of magic spells; all the while responding to their incoming attacks and blocking where necessary.
Indeed, Level 5 and Bandai Namco have done an excellent job in optimising the game for Switch, and if Nintendo’s handheld is your format of choice, you’d be wise not to miss out on Ni no Kuni II. Even three years after its initial release, it remains one of the best JRPGs available to date. With lovable characters, a fantastic story, engaging combat and a beautiful world to explore, it has just about everything you’d want.
When we reviewed the PC version back in March 2018, here’s what we had to say:
“Despite a few niggles, Ni no Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom is a wholesome, delightful adventure that any fan of traditional JRPGs would be wise to jump into. Its gorgeous worlds and lovable characters make for an enjoyable and engaging experience from start to finish, and its story, while not the most original or expansive, will undoubtedly warm your heart and leave you wanting more. Whether it’s quite as good as the first, I’m not quite sure, but Ni no Kuni 2 has left a lasting impression on me that will keep me going back long after I’ve finished the main story.”
Yes, a few niggles still remain – particularly the fact that characters are only partly voiced – but it’s a small compromise for an otherwise excellent JRPG. So, whether you want an excuse to revisit Evan and his pals, or if you’ve been waiting to play on Switch, now’s your chance. You won’t be disappointed.
Watch five minutes of Nintendo Switch gameplay in the video below:
Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom Prince’s Edition is available on Switch from 17th September. The game is also available on PC and PS4.