Ni No Kuni 2: Revenant Kingdom will release on PC on the same day as PS4 version later this year, which is a surprise considering the first game was a PS3 exclusive (but maybe we’ll get that now too).
The news comes by way of an event hosted by Bandai Namco, during which I also got to see the game in motion, and goodness does it look nice. No surprise, really. Former Studio Ghibli talent is back on board with the sequel, driving its lovely animation and art direction.
If the first game’s battle system was comparable to Pokemon, Ni No Kuni 2’s battle system is closer to Pikmin. The action happens in real time, meaning you can slash, dodge, and pull of special moves with any of the three primary party members, but Higgledies add a new layer beneath an otherwise unsurprising RPG interface. I say Pikmin, because Higgledies are small spirit creatures (the immediately came to mind) that embody different aspects of nature, from fire to wind. During battle, you can summon them by the dozen and sic them on your enemies as a distraction or pull of special moves.
It’s not clear if you’ll need to micromanage your Higgledies, but given that managing your Pokemon-like creatures was a huge criticism of the first game, I doubt it.
Otherwise, we saw a small section of the overworld, which renders the party in small chibi fashion against a more realistic topography. Enemies roam the map and as expected, touching them kicks off an instanced battle.
It’s a very traditional RPG framework. Dungeons ditch the chibi look for a natural to-scale perspective in which you can flow in and out of battle with creatures sans loading screens and solve traversal puzzles with the aid of your Higgledie friends.
I haven’t played the first Ni No Kuni, especially once I heard it turned into a fat grindfest. Even so, the Studio Ghibli connections and the overbearing whimsy nearly convinced me to try it anyway. Now PC players have an easy in, and if the second can avoid the same problems as the first and isn't a terrible port, it'll be a no brainer.