Ni no Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom is finally upon us, allowing us to fill the shoes of Evan Pettiwhisker Tildrum as he works to establish his own peaceful kingdom free of conflict, but getting there won't be easy (although it is hugely enjoyable, as we've said in our review). That's why we've prepared a useful guide to help you make the most of your epic adventure, whether that be the governance of your domain or making sure you can take down the monsters that stand in your way.
Invest in your Kingdom
We've put the most important tip as the first one, since the Kingdom-building aspect of Ni no Kuni is undoubtedly the most important when it comes to long-term success. After all, your Kingdom is what allows you to upgrade and improve every element of the game, from combat to skirmishes and even cookery, so it's not something you can easily avoid.
The first thing you need to know is that as time passes your coffers and your stores grow, and what this means is that you'll gain Kingsguilders (the currency to spend on your kingdom) and items automatically as you go about your business. You can upgrade these later to increase their capacity, but it's important to stress that they'll grow if you leave them. You should also regularly empty both if they get full, as it'll impede your progress otherwise.
Then we come to the three pillars of your kingdom: Citizens, Facilities, and Research. Citizens are the most important thing, as progressing through the story and side quests will recruit more people to your Kingdom, each with their own skills that suit particular areas. The Facilities, on the other hand, require you to build them on empty plots of land using Kingsguilders, before then assigning suitable citizens.
Once all this is done, you can then conduct research in each facility, and this is where things get really interesting, as you can research a whole host of things that will help you elsewhere in the game, be it spells, weapon development, Higgledies, and much more. As you make strides in all these areas of research your Influence increases, and as it does so you can then expand to create more facilities, conduct more research, and make your Kingdom stronger. Trust us when we say it's all rather moreish.
The key here is to invest time, resources, and Kingsguilders wisely, and pick what you want to research most out of the list. Influence is always good, but you might get more immediate use out of combat-specific research, which you can then use to take on the various beasts in the world. You'll also need to keep an eye on your citizens too, as they need levelling up once they earn enough XP as a beginner, which then increases their IQ, making them capable of more advanced research. Keep revisiting your Kingdom, keep an eye on things, and make sure to empty your coffers regularly... oh, and make sure to keep recruiting more citizens.
Take a look at the Tactic Tweaker
Within the first few hours of the game, you'll be introduced to the Tactic Tweaker, accessed via the in-game menu. Here, as you can see below, you'll be greeted with a number of intimidating sliders and symbols, but don't worry - it's not nearly as complicated as it looks.
The top left section is all about choosing which types of enemies you want to be extra effective against, at the expense of another. For example, sliding the bar towards reptilian foes will mean you're good against them but worse against natural enemies, which are on the other end of the slider. The top right sliders are all about resistance to certain things, which works in the same way - you prioritise one over the other in each pair.
Below that you have that funny looking square in the middle bottom area, and that's all about what you earn from battle, allowing you to prioritise XP, money, rare materials, or loot. Then last up is the bottom right section, which features the Arts of War. Here you can invest in certain combat bonuses, whether that be how much damage is reduced when blocking, increasing the length of time you're invincible when dodging (this one is good, and we'll circle back to dodging), or even decreasing how long it takes you to flee battles.
All of this is well and good, but you'll need Battle Points, earned as you progress through the game, which you then have to invest wisely in each of these four sections to make sure you can push the sliders further and upgrade higher. For instance, we invested all our Battle Points in the bottom right Arts of War section so we could dramatically improve dodging and heavy melee attacks, but we could easily have sunk them all into the top left and decided that we wanted to be able to make bigger changes to our effectiveness against different types of monsters.
The beautiful thing here is that you can change these on the fly, so if there's a particular huddle of reptilian enemies you can quickly enter the Tactic Tweaker to make yourself proficient against these foes, or go to the Arts of War and make yourself much better at blocking. It's worth going back to the Tactic Tweaker time and time again then to make sure you're always prepared for the situation at hand, and invest more Battle Points as you earn them.
Side Quests are your friend
Side quests are a staple of RPG games, providing you with extra experience and loot for your adventure, and Ni no Kuni II is no different. What's great here is that all side quests are marked with an exclamation mark on the minimap, so you can easily find everyone you need to talk to within the different locations and add all your side quests to your list of available options before picking which ones to tackle.
Swift Solutions also comes under the umbrella of side quests for us, because if you visit this character in each city, he gives you menial tasks like "defeat X enemies" or "collect Y resources", and then once these are completed you can trade these for Tokens of Gratitude. Make sure to keep an eye on these, because not only can you trade them for items but you can also find new citizens to recruit for a nominal fee, which as we've mentioned is particularly useful.
It's not just Swift Solutions that helps you recruit new citizens to your realm, as many of the other side quests will too, something which is important not only for helping you advance your research and staff your facilities but also because every time you level up your Kingdom you need to hit a requisite number of citizens first. Getting people through the door of your Kingdom is, therefore, the number one priority, and side quests are the best way to go about this, letting you have fun and learn about the NPCs at the same time, as well as earn extra XP and precious loot.
Always, always check your equipment and your party
To get the most out of combat, you're going to need the strongest crew, and that means making tough decisions. Throughout Evan's quest he's going to meet many characters who join the party, and each time you recruit someone you're going to need to think long and hard about whether you want them in your group of three. There can only be two AI allies helping you in battle after all, so it's imperative that you're happy with their abilities and attacks, otherwise you'll have a bad time when facing the meanest of baddies.
Equipment is also vital for ensuring maximum efficiency. Whether you're frequenting traders or simply battering enemies for their loot, you'll find yourself picking up items all the time, so it's worth regularly checking to see if your party has the best weapons and armour in terms of stats. It's not just about stats though, as it's worth seeing what other effects are available too, such as increasing damage with certain attacks or resistance to particular effects. This doesn't just apply to you either, as your two friends in battle also need the best gear, otherwise they'll be crying for your help all the time as they die.
Grind, grind, grind
The term 'grind' has become synonymous with repetitive, dull gameplay, and has become a bit more of a negative term in recent years, but here it's a good thing in the sense that it's not entirely necessary, but advised, and rewarding too. Roaming the land to take down the biggest monsters will not only get you XP aplenty, but also new gear and plenty of other materials, so it's always worth taking a long way round to where you need to be so as to get your fill of combat.
What's more is that you're also rewarded for going off the beaten track, as extra areas often contain new loot and incredibly powerful monsters, which as you'd expect come with dramatically better rewards. Make sure you explore all around the world map, then, as you'll not only see more of Level-5's gorgeous world but you'll also get a ton of useful stuff out of it as well, which is what you'll need later in the game when enemies out-level you significantly.
Dodge and roll
We mentioned in our review that Ni no Kuni II reminded us a little bit of Bloodborne in the sense that dodging is key. Because your magic bar fills up by hitting enemies with melee attacks, you'll often need to be up close and personal with your foes, but when they strike you'll need to deploy dodging tactics to stay safe (hence why the aforementioned dodging upgrade is our favourite). As such you'll often find yourself under an enemy's feet as you dodge, slash, rinse, repeat - so make sure you're hammering that dodge button when the hits come flying in.
Once you get enough magic though it's worth backing off to safety while your teammates take the heat, allowing you to prepare more devastating attacks with your R2 abilities using the magic you've gathered. Ranged attacks also have a value, but we'd say that alternating between melee and special abilities is the strongest combo, especially when you have area of effect attacks that can wipe out big groups. Don't do a Dark Souls and rely on blocking either; dodging is where it's at.
Build a strong army
Skirmishes are a key part of Ni no Kuni II, and apart from a few story missions, they're arguably the most optional. That doesn't mean they're not worth engaging in though, as they have the same benefits as optional side quests have, although you can't just jump into battle with some random group of adventurers. You're gonna need a meaty army to deal with all kinds of threats, and we've got some pointers.
In terms of units, you'll need to learn the rock-paper-scissors effect at the top right of the screen when you're in battle. Basically, there are red, blue, and green melee units, all of which are effective against one but weak against the other, and our advice would be to have just two of four units in each battle. Also, it's worth giving each Skirmish a trial run first as well, so you can see which colour units are most prevalent, letting you prepare for that next time you try it (so if you're mostly encountering green units, you can restart the Skirmish with units that are effective against those).
We'd also advise you to get two ranged units to place at the back of your army as well, meaning you advance like a square, with both melee units up front and both ranged at the back. Here you can shield both ranged units effectively while providing two points of attack for melee, also helping keep a wide front to prevent either one being encircled.
You need to bear in mind that the special attacks (again using R2) can be incredibly effective, so make sure you look at each unit and what ability they bring to the table before making them a part of your army. Each ability also costs a certain amount of Might too - the currency used to call for reinforcements and activate abilities - so make sure you've not packed out your crew with expensive units.
Higgledies are more complicated than you might think
A big part of Ni no Kuni II is the Higgledies, who are little colourful creatures that - via a circle on the floor you can activate in battles - allow you to use their special skills. That's all well and good, especially if you have a set of four that have particularly useful skills, whether it be supportive or offensive, but it's worth bearing in mind that these Higgledies all have personalities.
Yes, much like people the Higgledies aren't all the same, and in fact, you'll often find that some are shy, meaning that you can't use them very often in battle if they're overwhelmed by the confident ones. You may then find yourself going from using one a lot in battle to never using them at all if you introduce a new group of Higgledies, so it's worth paying attention to this every time you adjust your setup. One set of Higgledies may be good, but it may not be worth drowning out the others.
Have you got any further tips to add? If so, make sure to add them in the comments below, whether that's making the best out of your Skirmishes or simply becoming the mightiest warrior in the land.