New Ni no Kuni II Gameplay Demo Shows off a Delicate Balance Between Cute and Serious Content

The new footage for Ni no Kuni II reminds us war is serious stuff, even when it looks adorable on the surface.

News by Nadia Oxford, .

Yesterday, Bandai Namco shared thirty minutes of gameplay footage for its upcoming RPG, Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom. We can confirm this much: It looks adorable.

This highly-anticipated follow-up to 2013's Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch for the PlayStation 3 puts you in control of a cat-eared prince named "Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum." His Majesty is caught up in a war between cats and mice in a region called Ding Dong Dell. That's just too much. I'm going to die of squee.

Watching the Bandai Namco's playthrough of the new footage makes it clear the publisher knows it has some next-level cute content on its hands (or itty-bitty kitty paws, if you prefer). However, you can also tell the game doesn't want to go completely overboard and turn into anime Teletubbies or something else that might be regarded exclusively as kids' stuff. There's a dab of conquest in Ni no Kuni II in addition to cool character and enemy designs. There's also an obvious artistic shift on the battlefield that makes fights feel higher-stakes.

Much of Ni no Kuni II's plot follows Evan as he works to reclaim his conquered kingdom. Doing so requires him to engage in real-time strategy battles with bandits and other baddies. Once the land is clear, Evan can repopulate it with loyal subjects he meets on his travels.

The strategy component of Ni no Kuni II utilizes chibi-style graphics, which is also the visual style used when the player travels across the overworld map. However, dungeons, towns, and fight scenes utilize a fully-developed anime style. In the demo, the Bandai Namco representative faces off against a band of decorated wyvern-people, and they clearly mean business. There are no hugs or cute antics to be had in the wyverns' lair.

We'll see more of Ni no Kuni II's balancing act between cuteness and solemnity when the game comes to PlayStation 4 and PC on March 28.

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Comments 2

  • Avatar for Vaporeon #1 Vaporeon 6 months ago
    I'm a bit concerned about the surprise RTS army combat feature. If they make it engaging and deep, yet approachable, I'm game. If it's just casual padding, why bother? I hope it's a game element I'll find myself looking forward to, with my effort and time investment being reflected in my main story progression, rather than just mashing through.
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  • Avatar for Arvis-Jaggamar #2 Arvis-Jaggamar 6 months ago
    I'm close to pre-ordering this, but... don't want to get burned. I'm more confident pre-ordering something like Valkyria Chronicles 4. If I pre-order both, then that would make 1 more pre-order than I made in all of 2017.
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