Tobold's Blog
Thursday, September 03, 2020
Ni No Kuni II

 Ni No Kuni one and two are on sale on Steam with a hefty 70% - 75% discount. Back in 2013 I played the first Ni No Kuni on my PS3, and quite liked it. So I should be jumping at the opportunity to buy Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom for just €15, right? Not so fast! Because we first need to consider a difficult question: What exactly is a sequel?

As I wrote in 2013, I wasn't particularly fond of the story of the first Ni No Kuni, which I found both a bit simplistic and too linear. What I liked the game for was the tactical combat system. Guess what the sequel kept from the predecessor, and what it changed completely! Right, we still have a child-friendly story, but the turn-based tactical combat system has been completely ripped out and replaced by an action-RPG combat system in which you need to time your button presses. Urgh!

As I don't like action-RPG combat, I can't tell you whether the Ni No Kuni II system is any good or not. I just can tell you that for me, this is not a sequel. Combat is such an important part of role-playing games that a complete change of combat system turns a game into something completely different. Just look at 4th edition Dungeons & Dragons, which (while I personally liked it), was too different in combat from the previous and future editions of D&D, and thus didn't succeed.

Much of marketing works with the concept of brands. We have so many sequels and remasters in video gaming because people are inclined to buy games whose brands they recognize. You don't always have the time to thoroughly research a game's reviews, especially if you buy it in a shop and not online. So you take a shortcut: "Oh, I loved the predecessor, let's buy the sequel". The brand built up a trust, and the buying decision is based on that trust. If that trust gets broken, there is a problem.

Maybe Ni No Kuni II is a good game for people who like action combat, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't like it. As I am pretty sure that I wouldn't like the very deceptively named "Final Fantasy VII Remake", which is neither a remake nor a sequel in my eyes. A sequel number or "remake" in the name suggests a much stronger similarity to the original than what is delivered. I always said that 4th edition D&D would have been okay if they had named it "D&D Tactics" instead of 4th edition. If you change the direction of a game series, make that somewhat more visible in the title of the game! "Ni No Kuni Action" would have been fine, "Ni No Kuni II" is not.

Totally agree. I was really expecting the FF7 Remake and when I saw some gameplay streams about it, it really felt like a let down. While the new graphics are stunning, the new combat mechanics give the impression of watching a totally different game.
I've played and completed NNK2. The story is significantly better, as are the RPG elements. The combat was not a fun part of the game. It also contains a "farmville" type of subgame that has an not insignificant impact on the rest of the game. I ended up changing my system clock to bypass the wait mechanics. The last 15% or so of the game comes with a massive difficulty spike, and I just ended up plowing through it without much enjoyment.

It's a good game, but the subsystems were not what I was expecting.
I didn't know the first game had a tactical combat system -- I haven't played either of the games, but I do like tactical combat games.
Sounds very similar to why I avoided all the sequels to Dragon Age after loving the original - they changed & dumbed down the combat system too much. The RPG systems in Origins were already only ok, what I liked was the writing & characters. And they took in the opposite direction of where my interest lies (more turn-based / detailed).
Post a Comment

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

  Powered by Blogger   Free Page Rank Tool