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'Ni No Kuni II' blurs the line between video game and anime at E3 2017

UPI News Service, 06/15/2017 

Publisher Bandai Namco presented its upcoming RPG sequel Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom during E3 2017 and showed how the game differs from the first entry in the series.

Once again featuring an art style based on Japanese animation company Studio Ghibli (Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro), Ni No Kuni II follows the adventures of new protagonist named Evan who has his kingdom of Ding Dong Dell stolen from him by the villainous Otto Mausinger.

Now a king without a castle, Evan sets fourth to build a new kingdom with help from Roland, a man who is a president of a large country in another world and Tani, the daughter of a sky pirate king.

During a presentation of Ni No Kuni II at Bandai Namco's E3 booth, the game's new real-time battle system was shown along with it's impressive animated style graphics that blur the line between video game and anime.

Now more of an action RPG, Revenant Kingdom has players more actively attacking their foes and issuing commands to teammates and creatures known as familiars that were present in the first game. Developer Level-5 has introduced a new set of creatures named Higgledies who were described as "Spirits of the Heart." When in battle, Higgledies gather around Evan and his comrades and can be used to perform a number of elemental attacks or to heal the team.

Bandai Namco also detailed the game's new Kingdom Mode where players can begin to build and customize their own kingdom and surrounding town that Evan will rule. The publisher explained to UPI that Kingdom Mode represents a new side meta-game within the title and that each kingdom will flourish depending on who you recruit to live within its walls and how you command the townspeople.

The game looks and feels familiar to the first entry in the series while also retaining its own unique identity with a new cast of colorful characters and new, faster-paced battle system. The demo presented at E3 involved Evan and crew taking on a monstrous creature named Thong as part of a "Trial of Courage."

The battle is won by using the Higgledies effectively, dodging Thong's attacks and by using special attacks that can be charged. If used correctly, a charged attack can knock Thong unconscious and defenseless allowing Evan, Roland and Tani to inflict more damage.

What stands out the most, however, is just how colorful and expressive the world is. The game truly feels like a living, breathing Studio Ghibli film complete with imaginative creatures and a heartwarming cast.

Ni No Kuni II: Revenant Kingdom arrives Nov. 10 for the Playstation 4 and PC.

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