The first things you will notice about this game are the stellar anime-styled graphics and the beautiful music.
Developed by Level-5, Ni No Kuni 2 is an action RPG with all the style and musical prowess of a Studio Ghibli animation film (especially since staffers from them worked on this game).
A young boy king named Evan is in danger when a coup overthrows his kingdom. Meanwhile a mysterious man named Roland (who is a ruler himself) is magically transported to Evan's kingdom where he protects him and helps him escape.
Evan, with the guidance and wisdom of Roland, sets out to create his own Kingdom where everyone will live "Happily Ever After" and restore peace and order to the land.
The combat uses melee, magic and ranged attacks in an action format where you can switch between characters on the fly (and you will need it with certain enemies). After you progress through the tutorial levels, you eventually get to a world map where little Chibi designs of your characters will walk the plains and mountains and confront enemies - which then take you back to the action RPG battle segments.
You meet some wonderful characters along the way and early on run into these little creatures called Higgledies. These cute little creatures will fight along side your characters in the action RPG battle segments - sometimes with cannon ranged attacks, fire attacks or even dark magic attacks. You can have multiple ones on the field with you and depending on their "moods" some will get along better with others which in turn will make them more powerful on the field with you.
The world is expansive. In addition to the castle section, you have plains, mountains, forests and labyrinths. There are chests and items scattered through the map which give you incentive to check everywhere but do be careful as a powerful enemy could be lurking around which could easily kill you.
Another thing that was interesting is that in addition to the world map encounters and RPG battles, you eventually enter into some Real Time Strategy-styled battles when attempting to clear the land for your kingdom. Here you have a certain number of warriors on the World Map and direct your army with ranged and melee attacks.
There is a lot to do and accomplish in this game, as well as much food for thought. In addition to simply fighting to survive, you are gaining allies, liberating areas and creating your own kingdom. The fighting felt quick and satisfying but the deeper conditions of how to create a brand new kingdom from scratch really was an interesting premise.
One thing of note is that there is a lot of dialog in this game and not all of it is voiced. There is some excellent voice work but many times, a cutscene would commence and then for some time there would be simply text to read. With the beautiful graphics and music as well as some of the situations, I wish they could have done a bit more voice work to flesh out the characters.
The Premium Edition has a beautiful Steel Case and comes with a CD with (4) songs from the game. I wish there could have been more because this soundtrack is beautiful. There is also a Paper Craft Diorama that comes with it showing Evan in front of a crowd that you have to assemble for a 3-D effect. I would recommend just keeping this in its plastic as it was ridiculous to try and put together.
Overall, if you are looking for a sweet story with some excellent action RPG segments but with tons to do, then I would recommend this game. Just be prepared for a lot of dialog and a lesson on how to create a world where "Everyone can Live Happily Ever After!" :)